The Vulnerable Corporation

Join this salon at the House of Beautiful Business to discuss the importance of vulnerability in the networked economy.

Is it possible to fall in love through a 36-question conversation? In a psychological study, Arthur Aron explored whether intimacy between two strangers could be accelerated by having them ask each other a specific series of personal questions. The 36 questions in the study are broken up into three sets, with each set intended to be more probing than the previous one.

The idea is that mutual vulnerability fosters closeness. To quote the study’s authors, “One key pattern associated with the development of a close relationship among peers is sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personal self-disclosure.” Allowing oneself to be vulnerable with another person can be exceedingly difficult, so this exercise forces the issue.

We’ll be experimenting with this for ourselves at our Salon session, The Vulnerable Corporation, at the Studio on November 6th, 2017.

The salon will feature experimental activities and a conversation with Martin Reeves (BCG Henderson Institute), Gianpiero Petriglieri (INSEAD), Rosa Riera (VP of Employer Branding and Social Innovation, Siemens), and more, who will be discussing how disclosing more of ourselves and our emotions could translate to healthier workplaces. The session will be co-hosted by Massimo Portincasso (Global Head of Marketing, BCG) and Léa Steinacker (Chief Innovation Officer, WirtschaftsWoche).

At its most extreme, showing more vulnerability could go as far as saving lives — Shell, for example, reported that getting its oil rig workers more in touch with their emotions helped contribute to an 84 percent decline in the company’s accident rate company-wide.

While a dramatic example, we could all benefit from more emotionally articulate workplaces.

Frederic Laloux , author of the acclaimed book Reinventing Organisations, draws a similar conclusion — that showing up as a whole human at work can provide new energy for creativity and growth, as all the effort of controlling emotions is taken away.

“Vulnerable” doesn’t only mean sharing pain, sadness, or weakness though. The emotionally vulnerable workplace honors all expressions and the diversity of the human experience — including sharing happiness and joy. And there is of course a balance to be found between fostering a culture of emotional intelligence and forcing people to share whether they want to or not.

In our new world of work, could vulnerability be the key to healthier humans and businesses?

Join our discussion at the House of Beautiful Business in Lisbon, November 3–10, 2017, before and during Web Summit. The House will bring together executives from Fortune 500 and SMEs, start-up founders, nonprofit leaders, investors, writers, philosophers, scientists, designers, technologists, artists, and others to discuss and prototype how to lead with purpose and passion; how to build human companies and workplaces; and how to design for deeper connections in an age of exponential change and massive societal disruption. You can find more information and register at: