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All Hail the Outlaws

Travis Brock
Director of Business Development

Heard the new X Ambassador’s song, Renegades? It has already made its way into Jeep’s latest commercial (see below, complete song lyrics and a link to the complete song can be found below). Making itself a bit of a soundtrack for those who like some adventure. I would take it a bit further to say it could be considered an anthem for creativity.

Many failures in organizations can be traced back to groupthink or lack of fresh thinking.  According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary groupthink is “a pattern of thought characterized by self-deception, forced manufacture of consent, and conformity to group values and ethics.”

On the other hand, Merriam-Webster states that a renegade is “a person who leaves one group, religion, etc., and joins another that opposes it.”

While renegade may be a bit of an extreme, creativity needs thoughts, ideas, opinions, and backgrounds of many different people. Groupthink keeps things static, while renegades assist in pushing the limits. They catch things that others in the group miss. They add to what others are thinking. They piece together partial concepts from others into a complete thought. In the marketing industry, creativity is becoming an essential tool in our toolboxes.

Here are some key ideas to help manage groupthink and allow everyone in the group to be a renegade in times when creativity is needed.

  1. Bring in diversity. Professionals of different ages, genders, races/ethnicities, backgrounds, and personalities tend to think differently.  The bigger the people diversity; the bigger the thought diversity. Find your pioneers, rebels, mutineers, underdogs, new kids, outlaws, Spielberg’s, and Kubrick’s.
  2. Provide rules. Sometimes to get the best ideas the best rule is there are no bad ideas. Nothing kills creativity faster than negativity. Negative impositions of others’ opinions doesn’t allow for free and open exchange of ideas. Another rule that has been popping up more recently is the suspension of political correctness.  Sometimes to get to a good idea, you have to get everything out in the open. This rule could be used just temporarily in brainstorming meetings. Political correctness is another box in which creativity can be killed. Just be sure that everyone understands this rule so no one is offended. There will be some flat-out bad ideas that appear, so allow time, at a later time, when the bad ideas can be filtered out. In terms that the song suggests, “Go forth and have no fear.”
  3. Manage people. Sometimes you may have to quiet the overwhelming outlaws in the group to allow the quieter underdogs to shine. At times you may also need to mix up seating arrangements in creative meetings to keep side-lobbying conversations to a minimum.  In addition, groups can get used to how others in the group think. Switch around the members of the group every once and awhile. We can all be considered an outlaw depending on the group in which we are placed. In the song’s spirit of working as a group, “It’s our time to make a move, It’s our time to make amends, It’s our time to break the rules.”

Before I leave you, here are some other blogs on creativity:

With that, I will leave you with the lyrics of Renegades below so you can read them and tell me if you think it is appropriate for creativity. And for those on Spotify, click here.

Run away with me
Lost souls and reverie
Running wild and running free
Two kids, you and me

And I say
Hey, hey hey hey
Living like we’re renegades
Hey hey hey
Hey hey hey
Living like we’re renegades
Renegades, renegades

Long live the pioneers
Rebels and mutineers
Go forth and have no fear
Come close the end is near

And I say hey, hey hey hey
Living like we’re renegades
Hey hey hey
Hey hey hey
Living like we’re renegades
Renegades, renegades

All hail the underdogs
All hail the new kids
All hail the outlaws
Spielberg’s and Kubrick’s

It’s our time to make a move
It’s our time to make amends
It’s our time to break the rules
Let’s begin

And I say hey, hey hey hey
Living like we’re renegades
Hey hey hey
Hey hey hey
Leaving like we’re renegades
Renegades, renegades

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