Perhaps the iconic band Midnight Oil had it right over two decades ago when they released their prophetic “Beds Are Burning” hit record. A taste of their telling wisdom:
How can we dance when our earth is turning
How do we sleep while our beds are burning
The time has come
To say fair’s fair
To pay the rent, now
To pay our share
As we approach the 25th anniversary celebration of Burning Man, which is completely sold out for the first time in its history, perhaps it is important to focus less on who is attending, (many outlets insightfully informed us that the Mayor of San Fran will be there-amazing!) or on the new business model of the event (the NYT discussed the organization’s move to become a non-profit on their Sunday business section cover-riveting!) and more on why this festival, which celebrates brash creativity and unbridled non-linear thinking in a completely non-commerce infused environment, is receiving unprecedented levels of participation and attention.
As we continue to be buffeted by natural disasters, a failing stock market, a stalled government, the prospects of a dismally inspired election year, and the loss of one of the greatest curators of American innovation of all time (Jobs obviously), perhaps a collective thirst for the new and the different, and an environment which celebrates counter culture wisdom and counter intuitive thinking, arrives as a welcome beacon amidst the present storm.
Perhaps the freedom to build art in a desert, simultaneously test new technologies for NASA, and dance in celebration of the simple beauty the still elegance a desert night induces, should make us all yearn, regardless of walk of life, for the imaginative power and reinventive bravado that can and will act as the only possible agents of advancement out of our current malaise.
Perhaps a deeper look into the lesser known milestones that have occurred at the festival, like Eric Schmidt getting his job as CEO of Google while impressing Sergey Brin and Larry Page amongst a legion of reveling “burners”, would inspire leading brands and their esteemed leadership, to take the necessary leaps forward toward the radical thinking and creative risk taking our current world hungers for.
More on key insights brands can glean from Burning Man tomorrow.