The Role of Vulnerability in Creativity and Innovation

I’ve been stumbling across Brené Brown and her work about vulnerability these past weeks online. Netflix featured her recently, The Call to Courage. I couldn’t help but be curious about the power or role of vulnerability in innovation.

Some people ask me, especially the old schools, why am I overexposing myself? Why am I publishing some meetings we hold at Hilsoft or my personal life? If I intend to establish our brand, then how come the big brands didn’t go big with this approach? I smile, and I said to myself, social media and the Internet don’t even exist at the time, and there’s no way you can establish your brand if you are not visible online. You practically don’t exist as a business if you don’t have at least a website.

Consumers are more powerful now than before. You cannot fake things now and do false advertisements. People can now easily see them. I strongly believe in documenting and showing people your real self, your vulnerabilities, and adversities. Building a brand today is all about showing your true intentions and mission as a company or an individual.

Many of us suit up and wear armor because we are afraid of criticisms, judgment, blame, and ridicule. We say to ourselves that we are not good enough and we are so scared of rejection, and we don’t belong hence we wear a mask. Vulnerability to us is a weakness.

Based on Brown’s research, vulnerability is the greatest measure of courage. She quote, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.”

Let me explain. The classic example I can give here is talented people, entrepreneurs or artists who are afraid to share their work. Some are even afraid to start because of fear of what other people might think. Creativity and innovation are all about the courage to try something new, and it begins with embracing your vulnerabilities. Don’t armor up. Create habits or culture where discomfort is normal, where rejection is normal and where ideas can fail. Struggle well.

“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences — good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as “ordinary courage.” – Thank you, Brené Brown.

Let’s all speak our minds by expressing our hearts through creativity and innovation.

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