Thank you all who joined my BCAW 2013 webinar, Vision Therapy - helping you to see more risks. I try to make my webinars as interactive as possible, using polls and other techniques, and following up with a post such as this to share any interesting results of the polls and pose some additional questions for people to reflect upon.
In keeping with the theme for BCAW 2013 my presentation argued that there are those risks we see, those we don't see (because we are not looking or because we refuse to recognise them) and then there are those that you cannot see - which are the Black Swan events. My argument was that there are perhaps less Black Swans than we think and more of the events we don't see because we don't look and recognize the threats and vulnerabilities.
The concept of the 'Black Swan event' has become part of the language of BC. If we want to understand this concept we should at some point read how it was originally proposed, rather than rely on how somebody else filtered those words. I posed this question to the audience;
Who has actually read Taleb? I mean actually read his books or articles, not somebody else's commentary on them.
- Yes - 23%
- Read others commentary - 3%
- Understand the concept from listening to others discuss - 20%
- Not read at all - 54%
I found this to be an interesting, and unexpected result. Can it be that half of our audience does not have an understanding of a concept that we regularly use? Even more disconcerting when you look at the free and loose use of the term in many discussions and presentations - then I would suggest there is potentially 70% who do not understand the core concept.
The core issue for the session had to do with improving our risk vision, and I posed a before and after question to see if the perceptions of risk vision changed as a result of the webinar. The ‘before’ question;
What do you believe is the major limitation to your current risk vision?
- Lack of time to research/investigate – 20%
- Lack of resources – 24%
- Lack of knowledge of other disciplines (e.g IT, Logistics, Finance, etc) – 40%
- Not included in Horizon scanning activities – 8%
- Not my job – 8%
Again an interesting result, I had not expected the knowledge of other disciplines to rate so high. What about you, would you expect that result?
During the session I talked about the impact that perspective, Wilful Blindness and simply observing rather than learning can have on our risk vision. The change of perspective in relation to the ‘after’ question was very noticeable;
What do you believe is likely to be the major limitation on your risk vision going forward?
- My view has not changed from earlier response – 17%
- Access to new and different data – 26%
- My perspective is limited to operational issues – 17%
- Our culture does not encourage dissent or trouble makers – 26%
- Nobody would listen to me anyway – 13%
This makes the earlier answers rather irrelevant, all drop into very low percentages of the audience. Good to see that 26% plan to ask different questions of different people to improve their risk vision – rather than ask the same questions of the same people and probably get the same answers.
A shame to find that a further 26% work in an organisation that doesn't want to hear about their vulnerabilities, but I expected that to be higher. Does the culture at your workplace encourage the type of dissent that I spoke about?
If you are interested in understanding more about culture I also had an article on the subject published by Continuity Insights this week.
What do you make of the other 30% responses? I think they are fairly honest assessments of their position, and make me wonder about the validity of the earlier answers. Your view?
Thinking about different things is critical to expanding skills within the practice of BC. The webinar was recorded, so still available for you to listen, reflect and continue the discussion here on the BCEye blog.
Ken Simpson, Director
The VR Group Pty Ltd