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Growth & Identity: A Dialogue with Burning Man

What steps can be taken to ensure that your culture isn't diluted while your audience increases exponentially? Can you stay true to your organization's identity and founding intentions when it's your participant base that continues to define your culture out in the world? How can you maintain your vision while supporting the individual agency of your participants?

In this two and a half hour long workshop, join key longtime organizers of Burning Man to explore the challenges and successes they've confronted in the face of extreme growth and popularity. Explore how Burning Man has employed UX, social media, grass-roots organizational techniques and business strategy in tandem to help scale collaborative culture. What methods have they employed to ensure that authenticity of experience remains intact? How has Burning Man handled the shift in its organization from its origins as a loosely affiliated group of disenfranchised artists to a multi-million dollar business that annually produces a temporary city in Nevada?


  1. Does growth automatically mean selling out?
  2. Can culture scale without losing its potency?
  3. What are the practical challenges and benefits that come from having an audience/participant base/community that is deeply emotionally invested in your organization's identity?
  4. What traditional business and production methods and tools can be used to effectively inspire innovation, creativity, and growth?
  5. How do you reverse engineer a business out of a culture?



Rebecca Throne, Ticket Operations Manager, Burning Man

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