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How the Beatles can inspire your team to get back into the creative groove

By Jody Friedericks | Senior vice president, head of brand creative



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June 22, 2022 | 6 min read

Peter Jackson’s 2021 documentary Get Back offered an unprecedented look into the creative process of the world’s most famous band at the peak of their powers. For The Drum’s Creativity in Focus Deep Dive, Jody Friedericks of agency Known looks at how the Beatles put something together with a deadline looming, and what the rest of us can do to emulate them.

Statues of the four members of the band the Beatles

/ Neil Martin via Unsplash

Want your team to expand its creativity? Be more like the Beatles.

Your immediate thought might be to roll your eyes: it’s impossible for every creative team to match the immense talents of John, Paul, George and Ringo. That’s fair. But if you’ve seen the documentary Get Back, you’ll have been given not only got a behind-the-scenes look at how one of the most important bands of all time recorded their final songs, but several lessons in how to boost your team’s creativity with a looming deadline.

Here are the takeaways my team had when we recently discussed the documentary.

Be playful

Hit a roadblock? Don’t walk away; play through it. Throughout the recording process, viewers see some of the best songwriters working on something and not knowing what comes next. Instead of giving up, the band would keep going, literally playing around, singing gibberish and otherwise moving along. Keeping things rolling means more opportunity for a breakthrough.

The biggest band in the world made an album in 22 days, so breaks were few and far between. Having the opportunity to joke and mess around took the pressure off, and some of those asides became the most well-known songs of all time.

As Albert Einstein once said, play is the highest form of research.

Encourage everyone

Seek out input from your whole team, not just the squeaky wheels. That quiet person in the meeting might just solve your problem if they’re approached in a kind, nonjudgmental way, and the office jokester might have a serious idea they need help bringing to fruition. In Get Back, we see George Harrison encouraging Ringo Starr to write Octopus’s Garden. Sure, the song is goofy, but instead of poo-pooing the idea, Harrison helps Starr bring it to life.

Giving your team the psychological safety and encouragement to step outside their comfort zones and try something new won’t just help morale; it could spark a great idea.

Kid around

When Linda Eastman’s daughter Heather visited the studio, the energy improved. This doesn’t mean you need to bring in the nearest 6-year-old for a brainstorming session, but harnessing that ‘kid energy’ can shake things up and make a difference.

Visitors can bring an energy shift; it was also apparent in Get Back when Yoko Ono, Pattie Harrison and Maureen Starkey stopped by. Welcome visitors into your studio when you’re stuck, such as colleagues working on a different project. Having an audience and fresh eyes and ears might give your ideation a much-needed kickstart.

Make mistakes

Sometimes you take a wrong turn on the long and winding road to completing a project, but that detour could become your ultimate destination. A team’s psychological safety is paramount for failures to turn into successes. Teams that feel they can’t make a mistake will stymie their creativity and freeze up out of fear.

Mistakes happen, and they can lead to masterpieces. Just look what it took to make the song Get Back. Watching the footage, the song seems to spontaneously take shape before our eyes. It’s not the whole song, but that spark of a big idea that led to one of the greatest songs ever. It’s inspiring to watch as Paul keeps trying and trying and trying.

Know when the show’s over

You don’t have to stage a rooftop concert to mark the end of working on a campaign, but it’s worth having some sort of ritual to mark the occasion, even if it’s a team dinner or happy hour. The team has put in the hours, shared their childlike wonder, and made memorable mistakes. It’s over (until the client gives feedback).

Remember, there’s a point in every project where you need to stop revising and tweaking and…let it be.

To keep up to date with all our coverage head over to the Creativity in Focus hub.

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Known is a modern marketing company that pairs Ph.D. data scientists with award-winning creatives, expert research teams and strategists who leverage machine learning, AI and the company's proprietary media operating system, called Skeptic. Known is anchored by two decades of groundbreaking market research and data science capabilities, which uniquely empower our marketing strategy and acclaimed creative groups, who produce some of the most innovative, cutting-edge creative work in culture. The result? Marketing that is predisposed to succeed and be persistently optimized, directly impacting clients' bottom lines.

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