As I’m in the midst of preparing for my yearly pilgrimage to Black Rock Desert, the location of Burning Man, the annual art/music/alternative culture gathering in the Nevada Desert that takes place the week prior to Labor Day, I start to get a lot of questions from both my team here at gyro and from many of my clients on what it is and why do I go. Recently I came across this piece in Fast Company that can both answer some of the questions and articulate one of the many redeeming aspects of the event. As with anything, there are not insignificant lessons to be learned from Burning Man, and specifically lessons that can be applied to organizations and especially marketing. The piece does a good job of capturing many of the aspects of the event that are highly relevant for those managing both the art and science of business.
One of the main takeaways I’ve always experienced at Burning Man is the overwhelming amount of creativity that permeates the entire environment. In fact, one of the most awe-inspiring things about Burning Man is the sheer scale resulting from the collective creative imagination of 40,000-plus people. No matter where you go over the course of the nearly 1.5-mile-diameter city, you’ll see, hear and experience fantastical art, performance and engineering to a level of execution like no other place on the planet—all coming from the collective efforts of individuals and teams—which, by the way, are not being paid, not being managed, and whose efforts, many of which, will end in flames and never be seen again. Considering that, ask yourself these questions: Are you fostering that kind of environment in your own organization? Is your team and staff feeling and being as creative as they can be? Do they have the license to experiment and (sometimes) fail? How are they rewarded for their ideas? Sometimes money isn’t the most effective motivator. Check out the article and imagine how you can inject some Burning Man ethos into your organization.
by Roland Deal
Senior Vice President – gyro San Francisco
Cross posted at Ignite Something on the Forbes CMO Network