The last time NAME held this kind of retreat, I got a big surge of energy and a feeling of renewal just being around smart talented people with a passion for the work of creating great exhibits for visitors, rather than just sitting around griping. Being with ALL exhibits folks, especially the brilliant ones, has the same charge you feel when you’re in a group of, say, all women: it’s that great common bond.
I also like being on the receiving end of getting brain food, as I did with TED, where I was always the smallest fish in a smart pond and could soak it up. REALLY important to me, personally, is the chance to opt-in or opt-out of group activities (the jump-in-and-do-it activities always freak me out, I’m one of those sit-by-the-waterfall-reflect-and-be-one-with-the-universe type learners, NOT one of the jump-in-and-do-it-okay-everybody-in-the-pool type learners.)
This time, the economic news is going to have a number of people saying “Eff creativity exercises, I can’t even get hired and I could barely afford to come to Monterey.” I suspect the economy, and the fact that many of us who were on staff and now are off staff (and therefore are in “competition” with each other for fewer and fewer gigs) will pose a challenge to the collaboration part. So at a time when our colleagues are worried about slipping down Maslow’s pyramid (ti.e., feeling nervous and as if they should be “competitive” instead of “collaborative” in order to keep eating), how can the workshop activities be mindful of that, and show them that self-actualization, in the form of creativity and collaboration, is pertinent now more than ever?