Burning Man at SXSWi

If you’ve spent time in Black Rock City, you know what it’s like to be inspired. You know what it feels like to design and build incredible things for the sake of how it makes you feel, rather than what you earn from it. You’ve seen what’s uniquely possible at Burning Man. Now, imagine if we were able to get in the room with the country’s leading innovators, and share what we’re learning about creativity and innovation the way it happens at Burning Man — through personal empowerment, collaboration, self-reliance and self-expression? Well, we have that chance … and we could use your help.

The Machine, Burning Man 2005

As we have for the past four years (actually, Larry Harvey spoke at SXSWi back in 1991 … so there’s history here), a contingent of Burning Man staff members will be attending the SXSWi conference in Austin Texas in March 2012. It’s an incredible opportunity to meet with, learn from, and share knowledge with leading-edge drivers of interactive technology, cultural innovation and more.  While Burning Man’s “fit” with SXSWi may seem odd on the face of it, we’ve found SXSWi attendees are eager to glean what we’ve learned from our experience, since Burning Man is in essence a massive, far-flung social network — a tightly-knit community connected year-round by technological threads.

For the past two years, Burning Man has hosted thought-provoking SXSWi panels on photographic digital rights in the hyper-connected age of the internet, sharing our unique experience in that regard. This year, we’re setting our sights higher … our goal is to share what we know about human creativity and innovation, and how people are inspired not by rewards-based systems, but through personal empowerment and the freedoms afforded by non-traditional work structures. We have two panels that we’re proposing:

Inspired Creativity: How to Drive Innovation

We’ve assembled a panel of experts who can speak to the dynamics of both self-directed and collaborative creativity, including Burning Man, Maker Faire, the Flux Foundation and Google. If you’d like to lend your support to get this panel selected for inclusion in the conference, read about it and please vote for us before September 2nd when voting ends. Vote Now! We also encourage you to add comments to the panel page.

Decentralized Organizations: Do They Work?

Combining panelists from Burning Man, Zappos, Second Life, Amgen and the MIT Sloan School of Management, this panel will explore decentralized organizations, organic management structures and peer-based recognition systems, and how they influence organizational development. If you’d like to lend your support to get this panel selected for inclusion in the conference, read about it and please vote for us before September 2nd when voting ends. Vote Now! We also encourage you to add comments to the panel page.

In addition to participating in the conference and hosting a panel discussion, we also intend to crowdsource an activity during the conference that directly engages people in civic participation through an interactive art experience. Through this effort, it’s our intention to create an impactful, real-world manifestation of Burning Man’s values and guiding principles, and to illustrate the irreplaceable value of cultural capital. If you’re going to be in Austin during SXSWi, and would like to participate, we’d love to get you on board! Stay tuned for more.

 

About the author: Will Chase

Will Chase first attended Burning Man 2001. He was Burning Man's Web Team Project Manager and Webmaster from 2004-2009, and the Operations Manager and member of the Art Council for the ARTery (Burning Man's art department headquarters in Black Rock City) from 2003-2008. In 2009, he transitioned into the Communications Department, where his responsibilities include global communication strategy, authoring the Jackrabbit Speaks Newsletter, content management for the Burning Man website, coordination of Burning Man's social networking efforts, and acting as editor for the Burning Blog. Tales of his sordid adventures can be found on his website.

8 thoughts on “Burning Man at SXSWi