What The Red Baron Can Teach You About Hiring Creative Talent


To make your organization more creative, learn from the red baron and hire talent for their differences, writes Brian Millar.


At Sense Worldwide, we encourage people to become more different, not more similar. We don’t have a standard training framework to make employees conform to a set way of doing things. We give each person a budget to go and learn whatever they want. Some take courses from industry bodies like D&AD or the Account Planning Group. Others have learned meditation and presence skills, or improved their second languages.

Of course, the world needs Squadrons. If you run an eye surgery clinic or a nuclear submarine, you need to standardize procedures and training. And of course, it’s not always fun running a flying circus. Several of the Red Baron’s top aces, including Löwenhardt, were killed in collisions with friendly aircraft. Anybody who’s worked in a high-intensity creative environment will know the feeling.

But if your CEO is demanding creative solutions to problems, then maybe you need to think about ways to encourage everybody to paint their own plane a different color, and loop and wheel around the clouds in their own way.

Six differences between a squadron and a flying circus


  • Motivated to shine as a team.
  • Emphasizes speed and efficiency.
  • Has a regimented training program.
  • Deliberately hires people who’ll fit in.
  • Standardizes procedures.
  • Runs.


  • Motivated to shine as individuals.
  • Emphasizes ability to change direction.
  • Allows people to grow their own way. Deliberately hires people who stand out.
  • Encourages diversity of techniques. Swaggers.

<em>[Images: Steven Coburn, Martin Pisek, and James Klotz via Shutterstock]</em>

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