Think the annual arts fest in the Nevada desert is nothing more than a week-long bacchanal? Think again. It’s a a master class in how to create awesomeness.
It’s easy to dismiss Burning Man as nothing more than a bizarre hippie love-fest that takes place deep in the Nevada desert every year the week before Labor Day. But doing so misses the fact that it’s an amazingly successful enterprise—and, as such, has a thing or two to teach about how to inspire creative people and create a great product.
Since it first began 25 years ago, Burning Man has grown larger every year (if you ignore the slight dip in recession-scarred 2009). It’s grown so much that this year, for the first time ever, the organization had to cut off ticket sales early, for fear of finally hitting the 50,000-person limit authorized by its federal land-use permit. And those tickets aren’t cheap either—they now cost an average of $300 a pop.
Granted, Burning Man’s overall intention is not to create a “product,” per se. (Not one for trite labels, it calls itself an “experiment in community.”) But its growth numbers—in terms of customers and revenue—are ones any business could envy. So how does Burning Man do it?
Organizational charts: The comic is a set of 6 organizational charts, edges with arrows show who reports to whom. Amazon’s is very traditional, each manager has exactly 2 people below her. Google’s is colorful (nodes are colored red, green, yellow, blue) and is extremely messy. Edges are overlapping all over the place, it’s unclear who reports to whom. Facebook looks like a social network with bidirectional arrows and a distributed structure. Microsoft’s is divided in three sub-structures that are pointing guns at each other. Apple’s is a circle with a large red dot in the center, and everyone around it reports to that red dot — the arrow heads are particularly large and even the people two levels away from the center red dot also have arrows point at them coming directly from the red dot. Oracle’s is divided into two sections, the first section is labelled ‘Legal’ and is huge, the second section is labelled ‘Engineering’ and is tiny.
… this profound shift and the three major trends that are central to it. These trends will have an enormous impact on our economy and our society:
1) We don’t actually know the true composition of the new workforce. After 2005, the government stopped counting independent workers in a meaningful and accurate way. Studies have shown that the independent workforce has grown and changed significantly since then, but the government hasn’t substantiated those results with a new, official count. Washington can’t fix what it can’t count. Since policies and budget decisions are based on data, freelancers are not being taken into account as a viable, critical component of the U.S. workforce. We’re not acknowledging their prevalence and economic contributions, let alone addressing the myriad challenges they face.
2) Jobs no longer provide the protections and security that workers used to expect. The basics such as health insurance, protection from unpaid wages, a retirement plan, and unemployment insurance are out of reach for one-third of working Americans. Independent workers are forced to seek them elsewhere, and if they can’t find or afford them, then they go without. Our current support system is based on a traditional employment model, where one worker must be tethered to one employer to receive those benefits. Given that fewer and fewer of us are working this way, it’s time to build a new support system that allows for the flexible and mobile way that people are working.
3) This new, changing workforce needs to build economic security in profoundly new ways. For the new workforce, the New Deal is irrelevant. When it was passed in the 1930s, the New Deal provided workers with important protections and benefits but those securities were built for a traditional employer-employee relationship. The New Deal has not evolved to include independent workers: no unemployment during lean times; no protections from age, race, and gender discrimination; no enforcement from the Department of Labor when employers don’t pay; and the list goes on.
The solution will rest with our ability to form networks for exchange and to create political power. I call this “new mutualism .” You will be reading more about this idea in subsequent articles from me next week, as I believe that new mutualism will be at the core of the new social support system that we need to build for the new workforce.
En RocaSalvatella llevamos un tiempo explorando cómo las empresas pueden mejorar la identificación de habilidades y el desarrollo profesional de sus empleados ayudando a que sus departamentos de recursos humanos superen algunos tópicos sobre los videojuegos.
No tenemos ninguna duda de que cada vez más la mayoría de los nuevos y no tan nuevos candidatos que se incorporan a las empresas tienen una amplia experiencia como usuarios de videojuegos, y que preguntándoles sobre su manera de jugar se puede aprender mucho sobre algunas características del candidato. Hay quien prefiere jugar con alguien mientras que otros prefieren jugar contra alguien. Hay quien busca recompensas intermedias mientras que a otros ya les va bien una recompensa final. Hay quien en un juego de equipo opta por posiciones de ataque, mientras que otros prefieren posiciones defensivas… Nuestro trabajo consiste en identificar estos aspectos y explicarlos a los departamentos de personal para que los incorporen a sus métodos y tomas de decisión.
Con Albert Murillo, director del programa Generació Digital de Catalunya Ràdio, desarrollamos un taller que bajo la convocatoria de la Fundació Factor Humà reunió en Barcelona a los directores de Recursos Humanos de 25 grandes empresas. Muchas de esas empresas aducían problemas para integrar a sus empleados más jóvenes, y comentaban la dificultad de orientarlos a tarea, motivarlos, definir objetivos… mientras que en paralelo detectaban una mayor cultura digital y una activa relación social en la red…