In one of her earliest TedTalks, researcher and author Brené Brown famously said, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and courage.” Her statement, which was backed by decades of painstaking research, created a ripple within the science and technology community that had long since held a corner on the innovation market. Brown’s simple statement reduced the idea of innovation and the circumstances that make it possible to an emotion. And, in the minds of most people, not an altogether positive one. Vulnerability after all is a sign of weakness. How can anything good come of that?
The great innovators of our time all have something in common and it may not be what you think. People and companies that are innovative are not afraid to fail. In fact, trying, failing, then trying again is part of the iterative process that leads to transformative break throughs. If we are afraid to fail we will never learn anything new.
But let’s face it – failing is no fun. We all want to succeed, to be the best and to achieve our goals quickly. Admitting that we have failed, that we don’t have all the answers is a vulnerable thing. In my experience a person who does not demonstrate vulnerability is not showing up fully to life’s possibilities. Vulnerability opens the door to curiosity and questions. It gives us permission to think about things differently and search for a better way.
As community builders and practitioners of community association management, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to look at our industry with discerning eyes. To be vulnerable and admit when things are broken – and we know there are a lot things broken in our communities right now. This is our invitation to innovate and create the change we want to see. Let’s do it. Let’s get busy bringing the life changing power of community to the world.