Vulnerability on the Radio

What comes with being a part of an underground Radio station at Big Blue

Yesterday, my colleagues Desiree, Kathryn and I launched a new show on IBM Radio, that we dubbed “Design, Form, and Chaos”. We use the hour to talk to the colleagues around us who are in leadership roles, to gain their perspective on the concerns of the design population of IBM, and to learn their personal stories.

Clearly, putting oneself on the radio, broadcasting to a population of your peers, is incredibly difficult. Additionally, the show is completely live and unedited, which means that mistakes, swears, and flubs will happen.

Nearly every show on IBM Radio is like this…and to me, it’s teaches us to be vulnerable, and to be ok with that.

Flash back to over a year ago, when Radio started. My friends, Mirko and Eddie, wanted to create something along the lines of Radio Free Europe, but within the firewall of the company.

Needless to say, the project attracted certain individuals…for me, it became an opportunity to share the kind of music that really got me going…but as time moved forward, the intent really changed. I wanted to be vulnerable, and speak my mind, which I typically do during my two shows, Embryonic (which is a psychedelic hour), and during Mirko’s show, Public Services (minimalist music), in which we typically discuss the realms of systems. It’s like having a chat over coffee/beer, but with an audience. It can be harrowing for some.

Similarly, last year, I saw a need to create a safe space for people in our studio to voice their fears and concerns. I called the project “ReFraming”, and we met on a biweekly basis to discuss our careers, the issues of them, and we would iterate on personal solutions to solve those problems. Unfortunately, my then role as a Design Manager started to take more precedent, and the group died.

The people stayed in their jobs though. It took a tremendous amount of energy and effort to rethink your problems, and it helped me rethink mine.

And now, ReFraming has come back around, but in a better form. I realize that projects about vulnerability require willing partners, who are ok with diving into their hopes, fears, and dreams. Even leading up to the first episode, there was a moment, where I worried the project would go forward with just 2 of us. Coming out of the media studio, having lunch with some friends, I felt an overwhelming sense of elation, while reflecting on the core topic of the show, “How does one maintain their creativity?”

This is how.

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