The business case for festivals at work

I ran my first workplace festival in 1991 in BHP Billiton’s Bayside Aluminium Smelter in Zululand, South Africa. It was to showcase the ideas and projects created by the Quality Circles Programme, for which I was the programme director.  That sounds awfully grand.  

To be truthful, I knew nothing about change management and culture transformation at that stage of my life, but I was hellbent on achieving success with Japanese management techniques in rural Zululand with people who couldn’t read or write and had on average only 4 years of schooling!

So, I did what any good leadership book teaches today.  I followed my gut instinct. I created a celebration. A festival. A gathering of hearts, minds and creative energy, and we transformed the Bayside outdoor carpark into a colourful vibrant marketplace of ideas, demonstrations of inventions of workplace gadgets, safety and system improvements with the proud employees decorating their stalls with all sorts of materials that no traditional exhibition builder would even dream of, and surpassing the creativity and interest of any trade show. ANY TRADESHOW!

Festivals are growing. Why? Here is some further thoughts on the subject, but I’d like to hear your views. 

And of course, my current festival: the AMPLIFY INNOVATION & THOUGHT LEADERSHIP FESTIVAL.  



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