Creative Chaos in Many Worlds (Guest Speaker)

Our event is on the edge of chaos sometimes.  — Danger Ranger aka Michael Mikel, as quoted in Enabling Creative Chaos by Katherine Chen

In class on Thursday, we will have  a guest, Dr. Katherine Chen, of City College of New York.  She is a relative newcomer to academia, (like yours truly) and has written a very interesting book, Enabling Creative Chaos, that is a deep analysis of one remarkable organization: the Burning Man festival.

Dr. Chen will speak tomorrow at 4:30 in the Willard Smith library (in Vaughan Lit).  I hope you can come.

In class, she will tell us more about Burning Man and what it has to tell us in general about the sustaining creativity and community in an organization that has pursued ambitious goals and experienced many kinds of adaptation over many years.   I recommend you look over the Burning Ma site, especially material like this essay and all of the fascinating multimedia and images.

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Burning Man: A Temporary Organization?

Burning Man is a temporary community that is set up in the middle of the desert in Nevada.  It is expected that each person who attends participates and establishes their own role within the community.  By the time the last of the volunteers leave, there is no trace left of the community.  Also, while there are safety rules and rules regarding individual cleanup for campsites, Burning Man prides itself on encouraging individuality and self expression.  Most of what I have said thus far does not appear to be the typical characteristics of organizations that we see as successful, I would argue that Burning Man is very successful in what it does.

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Instructions for Third Week of Blog

Apart from musing about the impending snow-pocalypse, you are free to take on any topic and see how organization theory adds some insight.

A partial list of inspirations includes:

Meanwhile, I hope your writing brain-storming continues apace.

Hopefully I’ll make it through the storm to see you all on Thursday.