Reflections On Burning Man

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Burning Man is a unique gathering of people in the desert where community, possibility and creative expression are the foundations for an experience unlike any other on Earth. If companies like Google have successfully injected Burning Man principles into their culture and benefited from it, what might it mean for your company's culture? How do we foster new possibilities and build a stronger sense of community within our organizations using guidance from the Burning Man experience?

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Reflections On Burning Man

  1. 1. REFLECTIONS ON BURNING MAN Where community and possibility intersect JANUARY 30, 2014
  2. 2. "Burning  Man  produces  a  concentra2on  of  the  best  aspects  of  humanity —generosity,  inclusion,  expression  and  crea2vity—quali2es  which  in  our   everyday  lives  are  rare  earth.”  -­‐   hBp://www.good.is/posts/burning-­‐man-­‐more-­‐relevant-­‐than-­‐ever  
  3. 3. Community
  4. 4. Possibility
  5. 5. ten principles 1.  Radical Inclusion! 2.  Gifting! 3.  Decommodification! 4.  Radical Self-reliance! 5.  Radical Self-expression! 6.  Communal Effort! 7.  Civic Responsibility! 8.  Leaving No Trace! 9.  Participation! 10. Immediacy!
  6. 6. RADICAL INCLUSION!   Anyone  may  be  a  part  of  Burning  Man.  We  welcome  and  respect  the   stranger.  No  prerequisites  exist  for  par2cipa2on  in  our  community.   How  do  we  apply  to  our  work?   •  Welcome  and  invite  the  perspec2ves   from  other  func2onal  groups.       •  Seek  it  out  new  people  to  include.     Leave  poli2cs  and  red  tape  at  the  door.  
  7. 7. .   GIFTING!   Burning  Man  is  devoted  to  acts  of  giM  giving.  The  value   of  a  giM  is  uncondi2onal.  GiMing  does  not  contemplate  a   return  or  an  exchange  for  something  of  equal  value.   How  do  we  apply  to  our  work?   •  What  are  the  giMs  you  bring?       •  A  giM  can  be  in  the  form  of  mentoring   others,  standing  up  and  leading  when  no   one  else  wants  to,  giving  your  best  effort/ thought  to  solve  a  tough  problem.  
  8. 8. How  do  we  apply  to  our  work?   Decommodification!   In  order  to  preserve  the  spirit  of  giMing,  our  community  seeks  to   create  social  environments  that  are  unmediated  by  commercial   sponsorships,  transac2ons,  or  adver2sing.  We  stand  ready  to  protect   our  culture  from  such  exploita2on.  We  resist  the  subs2tu2on  of   consump2on  for  par2cipatory  experience.   •  De-­‐bullshiSng  our  environments.       •  Get  rid  of  the  barriers  to  forming   ourselves  into  a  community.       •  Don’t  just  recognize  people  with   monetary  rewards.    Deliver  praise  and   honor  people  for  the  giMs  they  bring.    
  9. 9. Radical self-reliance!   Burning  Man  encourages  the  individual  to  discover,  exercise  and  rely  on  his  or  her  inner  resources.   How  do  we  apply  to  our  work?   •  Leadership   •  Autonomy   •  Taking  ini2a2ve  
  10. 10. Radical self-expression! ! Radical  self-­‐expression  arises  from  the  unique  giMs  of  the  individual.  No  one  other  than   the  individual  or  a  collabora2ng  group  can  determine  its  content.  It  is  offered  as  a  giM  to   others.  In  this  spirit,  the  giver  should  respect  the  rights  and  liber2es  of  the  recipient.   How  do  we  apply  to  our  work?   •  Be  crea2ve.       •  Honor  and  respect  other’s  differences   and  what  they  can  bring  to  the   conversa2on.  
  11. 11. How  do  we  apply  to  our  work?   •  Teamwork,  but  in  the  form  of  a   community.       •  Being  responsible  to  each  other.   Communal Effort!   Our  community  values  crea2ve  coopera2on  and  collabora2on.  We  strive   to  produce,  promote  and  protect  social  networks,  public  spaces,  works  of   art,  and  methods  of  communica2on  that  support  such  interac2on.  
  12. 12. How  do  we  apply  to  our  work?   •  Mentor  in  our  professional  and   personal  communi2es.       •  Give  back.   Civic responsibility!   We  value  civil  society.  Community  members  who  organize  events   should  assume  responsibility  for  public  welfare  and  endeavor  to   communicate  civic  responsibili2es  to  par2cipants.  They  must  also   assume  responsibility  for  conduc2ng  events  in  accordance  with  local,   state  and  federal  laws.  
  13. 13. Leaving No trace!   Our  community  respects  the  environment.  We  are  commiBed  to  leaving   no  physical  trace  of  our  ac2vi2es  wherever  we  gather.  We  clean  up  aMer   ourselves  and  endeavor,  whenever  possible,  to  leave  such  places  in  a   beBer  state  than  when  we  found  them.   How  do  we  apply  to  our  work?   •  Reduce,  reuse,  recycle.       •  Leave  our  clients’  spaces  nicer  than  we   found  it.   •  Leave  a  good  trace  (our  work).  
  14. 14. How  do  we  apply  to  our  work?   •  Welcome  and  encourage  par2cipa2on   from  the  periphery.       •  This  is  the  most  important  ingredient   for  success.   participation!   Our  community  is  commiBed  to  a  radically   par2cipatory  ethic.  We  believe  that  transforma2ve   change,  whether  in  the  individual  or  in  society,  can   occur  only  through  the  medium  of  deeply  personal   par2cipa2on.  We  achieve  being  through  doing.   Everyone  is  invited  to  work.  Everyone  is  invited  to   play.  We  make  the  world  real  through  ac2ons  that   open  the  heart.  
  15. 15. How  do  we  apply  to  our  work?   •  Give  immediate  praise  and   construc2ve  feedback.       •  Act  on  an  idea  to  make  it  happen,   versus  lip  service.       •  This  is  an  important  ingredient  to   discover  what’s  possible,  versus   problem  solving.   immediacy!   Immediate  experience  is,  in  many  ways,  the  most   important  touchstone  of  value  in  our  culture.  We  seek  to   overcome  barriers  that  stand  between  us  and  a   recogni2on  of  our  inner  selves,  the  reality  of  those  around   us,  par2cipa2on  in  society,  and  contact  with  a  natural   world  exceeding  human  powers.  No  idea  can  subs2tute   for  this  experience.  
  16. 16. STRUCTURE OF BELONGING
  17. 17. 5 conversations for the structure of belonging ›  Possibility! ›  Ownership! ›  Dissent! ›  Commitment! ›  Gifts!
  18. 18. Possibility!   Possibility  is  not  a  goal,  but  a  future   condi2on  that  is  currently  beyond   reach.    Change  our  conversa2ons  to   what’s  possible  and  not  just  problem   solving.  
  19. 19. Ownership!   People  are  the  most  resourceful  and  crea2ve  when  they   own  something.    Working  together  (co-­‐owning),  in  a   community  environment,  breeds  accountability.  
  20. 20. dissent!   Invi2ng  dissent  shows  respect  for  all  beliefs.    Protect  this  dissent.         Once  people  can  safely  dissent,  they  will  fully  join  the  community.    
  21. 21. Commitment!   This  is  a  promise  without  the  expecta2on  of  return.     A  true  giM.    No  room  for  lip  service  –  ac2ons  speak   louder  than  words.  
  22. 22. Gifts!   Focus  on  people’s  giMs,   not  their  deficiencies  and   weaknesses.    Bring  the   giMs  of  others  from  the   margins  to  the  center.  
  23. 23. WHAT KIND OF COMMUNITY DO YOU WANT?
  24. 24. Principles for building a community ›  Possibility! Radical Self-expression * Participation * Immediacy! ›  Ownership! ›  Dissent! ›  Commitment! ›  Gifts! •  What  is  the  crossroad  where  you  find   yourself  are  this  stage  of  your  work  at   your  company?   •  What  declara2on  of  possibility  can  you   make  that  has  the  power  to  transform   the  community  and  inspire  you?   •  What  do  we  want  to  create  together  that   would  make  the  difference?   •  What  can  we  create  together  that  we   cannot  create  alone?   Source:  Community-­‐  The  Structure  of  Belonging,  Peter  Block          
  25. 25. Principles for building a community ›  Possibility! ›  Ownership! Radical Self-expression * Civic responsibility * Participation ! ›  Dissent! ›  Commitment! •  How  valuable  an  experience  do  you   plan  for  this  to  be?   •  How  much  risk  are  you  willing  to  take?   •  How  par2cipa2ve  do  you  plan  to  be?   •  To  what  extent  are  you  invested  in  the   well-­‐being  of  the  whole?   •  What  is  the  story  of  your  company  that   you  hear  yourself  most  oMen  telling?     ›  Gifts! Source:  Community-­‐  The  Structure  of  Belonging,  Peter  Block          
  26. 26. Principles for building a community ›  Possibility! ›  Ownership! ›  Dissent! Radical inclusion * radical self-expression * Participation ! ›  Commitment! ›  Gifts! •  What  doubts  or  reserva2ons  do  you   have?   •  What  is  the  no,  or  refusal  that  you   keep  postponing?   •  What  have  you  said  yes  to,  that  you  no   longer  really  mean?   •  What  is  a  commitment  or  decision  that   you  have  changed  your  mind  about?   •  What  forgiveness  are  you  holding?   •  What  resentment  do  you  hold  that  no   one  knows  about?   Source:  Community-­‐  The  Structure  of  Belonging,  Peter  Block          
  27. 27. Principles for building a community ›  Possibility! •  What  promises  am  I  willing  to  make?   ›  Ownership! •  What  price  am  I  willing  to  pay?   •  What  measures  have  meaning  to  me?   ›  Dissent! •  What  is  the  cost  to  others  for  me  to  keep   my  commitments,  or  to  fail  in  my   commitments?   ›  Commitment! •  What  is  the  promise  I'm  willing  to  make   that  cons2tutes  a  risk  or  major  shiM  for  me?   Gifting * communal effort * civic responsibility! •  What  is  the  promise  I  am  postponing?   ›  Gifts! •  What  is  the  promise  or  commitment  I  am   unwilling  to  make?   Source:  Community-­‐  The  Structure  of  Belonging,  Peter  Block          
  28. 28. Principles for building a community ›  Possibility! ›  Ownership! •  What  giM  have  you  received  from  another  at   your  workplace?   •  What  has  someone  in  the  group  done  today   that  has  touched  you  or  moved  you  or  been  of   value  to  you?   ›  Dissent! •  What  is  the  giM  you  currently  hold  in  exile?   ›  Commitment! •  What  are  you  grateful  for  that  has  gone   unspoken?   ›  Gifts! •  What  is  the  posi2ve  feedback  you  receive  that   s2ll  surprises  you?   Gifting * decommodification * participation! •  What  is  it  about  you  that  no  one  knows  about?   •  What  is  the  giM  you  have  that  you  do  not  fully   acknowledge?   Source:  Community-­‐  The  Structure  of  Belonging,  Peter  Block          
  29. 29. “ ” – Peter Block, Community: The Structure of Belonging By  Ian  KluM    -­‐  Wikimedia  Commons  
  30. 30. “In this great expanse of emptiness, every person is a pencil or a paintbrush” – Tom Price, TEDxBlackRockCity 2011 By  Ian  KluM    -­‐  Wikimedia  Commons  
  31. 31. FIN

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