What got this started
|Bad Rebels||Good Rebels|
|Break Rules||Change Rules|
|Vocalize problems||Socialize opportunities|
|Worry that||Wonder if|
|Point fingers||Pinpoint causes|
This story started in October 2010 at the BIF6 conference when I (Lois Kelly) heard Carmen Medina, the just-retired deputy director of intelligence for the CIA, talk about how she was part of an informal Rebel Alliance of employees at the CIA, and how challenging assumptions helped two rebels at the agency create the Intellipedia, a groundbreaking approach to intelligence that was awarded a Service to America national medal. (It also helped that Carmen was a high-ranking executive who provided them advice and support. Rebels can thrive when they have good bosses.)
As a lifelong rebel, I was immediately struck that an executive would have the guts to help rebels.
I also began wondering how innovation and change happens in big organizations. You hear about innovators in start-ups all the time. Rebelliousness and restlessness are accepted qualities of entrepreneurs. But what about people on the inside of big organizations? How do they blaze new trails and find ways to change business as usual. What are their characteristics? What makes them tick? How do you find them? Could they be an untapped resource for creating more innovative, engaged corporate cultures?
I did a quantitative research study in 2011 to try to find some answers to these questions. The research found that rebels provide huge value to organizations, but most corporate cultures make it difficult for rebels to provide that value.
As part of our day jobs, Carmen and I started speaking at conferences, Tweeting and writing about rebels and heretics. People who identify as rebels, heretics, renegades and mavericks started sharing their personal stories. The stories have been both fascinating and tragic. What some people can accomplish with determination and without “official” approvals is amazing. That so many have been penalized, or even fired, for trying to make changes that matter is deeply troubling. Cultures of fear seem to be more pervasive than ever before, eroding organizations at the very time organizations are looking for new ideas and creative talent.
We decided to start this site and invite others to join us in sharing their stories and ideas. Perhaps together we can help more rebels find more ways to succeed. And help more corporations and big organizations succeed because of their rebels. Welcome.
The huge, hidden value of rebels
- Call out problems others are afraid to.92%
- Challenge ineffective sacred cow practices.92%
- Willing to be the first to try new approaches.88%
- See new ways to solve problems.86%
- Bring outside ideas into the organization.86%
- Have ideas to improve products/services.78%
- Detect emerging issues early.67%
- Have a good pulse on what customers want.43%