Burning Man and innovation; what are the links?

By Grant Hall

Burning Man and innovation are often mentioned in the same breath.

In an article for The Conversation titled Why Burning Man is Silicon ValleySimon Willmetts wrote that world leading innovators attend and are often regulars at Burning Man. Apparently, Google’s founders chose their CEO ‘because he was the only candidate for the job who had been a burner’, and Elon Musk is reported as saying that “Burning Man is Silicon Valley”. I recently read an academic journal article which explained how within innovation intensive professional communities, in places like San Francisco and New York City, going to Burning Man is sometimes viewed as a ‘sanctioned form of professional development’, which ‘often appears on resumes’. But it’s not just the famous ones who are illuminating the links between Burning Man and innovation. Architects and other innovators use Burning Man as a testing ground for their innovations, and there are many blog posts written by burners who discuss how their Burning Man experience has supported their own innovation processes. Conversations that I’ve had with burners seem to indicate that the Burning Man experience can be a transformational and boundary expanding one,  which subsequently supports the creative and innovative capacities of individuals.

I find it intriguing that a festival can act as a fertile ground for innovation and as such, I want to find out how and why this is so.

To do this, I’m embarking on a research journey, and inviting burners who work in innovation intensive roles or industries to contribute to my research. If this is you, please help me out by clicking here to complete a short survey (it will only take you two or three minutes). With your help, I hope to be able to trace the ripple effects of Burning Man within the default business world, and subsequently across the planet!

To learn more about the research project, click here.

Image credit is listed on the next page.

survey callout

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