People are often described as the largest asset in most organisations. They are also the biggest single cause of risk. This podcast explores the topic of 'human risk', or "the risk of people doing things they shouldn't or not doing things they should", and examines how behavioural science can help us mitigate it. It also looks at 'human reward', or "how to get the most out of people". When we manage human risk, we often stifle human reward. Equally, when we unleash human reward, we often inadvertently increase human risk.
Gareth Lock on Human Risk in Diving
How do human factors influence an inherently risky activity like scuba diving?
That’s what my guest on this episode, Gareth Lock explores in his work as the founder of The Human Diver — a company that specialises in teaching the diving community about human factors.
Whether you’ve ever been diving or not, it's fairly obvious that it’s an activity, that comes with a degree of inherent risk. After all, It involves getting into an environment that requires us to use specialist equipment because being underwater impacts our ability to breathe naturally and diminishes the use of some of our senses. It also exposes us to some potentially dangerous conditions - temperature, currents and air pressure for starters. Not to mention the sea creatures we might come across, who aren’t necessarily always going to welcome our intrusion into their world.
As Gareth explains in our discussion, those dynamics can be made far worse by humans. Most accidents and incidents in diving arent down to technical failures, rather they are down to complacency, breakdowns in communication, poor decision-making, a lack of situational awareness or ineffective teamwork and/or leadership.
To find out more about:
Gareth - https://www.thehumandiver.com/theteam
The Human Diver - https://www.thehumandiver.com/
Under Pressure, Gareth’s book - https://www.thehumandiver.com/underpressure The Human Factors in Diving Conference - https://www.hf-in-diving-conference.com/
In our discussion, we also refer to Tim Harford. You can hear the episode of this podcast featuring Tim here: https://www.podpage.com/the-human-risk-podcast/tim-harford-on-using-data-to-make-smarter-decisions/
Listeners interested in hearing more about Human Factors will enjoy this episode of the show featuring Neil Clark: https://www.humanriskpodcast.com/neil-clark-on-human-factors/
Professor Olivier Sibony on Noise
Why might judges in the same Court give vastly different sentences for the same crime? The answer is noise. When experts who assess the same situation come to very different conclusions for no good reason, we risk bad outcomes.
On this episode, I’m speaking with Professor Olivier Sibony, who is the co-author — along with Professors Daniel Kahneman and Cass Sunstein — of Noise: a flaw in human judgement.
In our discussion, he explains what noise is, why it matters and what we can do to mitigate it.
He also shares how this stellar line-up of authors came together.
Olivier also helps me understand why a commonly adopted approach of using forced distribution for employee performance evaluations, which I have always found to be a bad idea, is…a really bad idea!
Olivier has been on the show before. You’ll find that episode here: https://www.podpage.com/the-human-risk-podcast/professor-olivier-sibony-on-mistakes/
To find out more about Olivier, his research and his previous book ‘You’re About To Make A Terrible Mistake’ visit his website: https://oliviersibony.com/about/
For more on Noise, the book see: https://oliviersibony.com/books/noise/
To read a 2016 article on Noise by Daniel Kahneman: https://hbr.org/2016/10/noise
Richard Fenning on Tales from the Risk Business
How can we manage risk in an increasingly complex world?
My guest on this episode, Richard Fenning, has spent three decades advising multinational companies on geopolitics and security crises. He’s been involved in helping to manage situations involving kidnappings, terrorist attacks, coups d’etat, corruption scandals, cyber-attacks, earthquakes and hurricanes in places ranging from Iraq and Russia to Colombia and Nigeria.
Richard is the former CEO of Control Risks (https://www.controlrisks.com/) a global consultancy that specialises in “helping businesses out of tight spots in difficult countries”. And of course when companies get into tight spots - and indeed when countries are ‘difficult’ - that’s usually because there are humans creating the tight spots or making the countries difficult. A perfect example of human risk in action.
Richard has just written a book called “What On Earth Can Go Wrong - tales from the risk business” in which he shares stories from his time in the field. You can find out more about that here: https://www.eye-books.com/books/what-on-earth-can-go-wrong
In our discussion, we explore how Richard came to work in this field - after all, it’s not something most of us would grow up thinking of as a career and what his experience has taught him about managing risk. Professionally and personally.
To learn more about Richard’s work visit: https://www.msp.co.uk/people/richard-fenning
Dr Nick Morgan on connecting in a virtual world
How can we make better connections when we're on virtual calls and webinars? My guest on this episode, Dr Nick Morgan is a speaking coach and writer who helps people to find their voice in a physical and virtual world. For personal reasons, that he explains on the episode, Nick is on a mission to help people have better interactions with others. To find out more about his business visit https://publicwords.com/
Nick's book "Can You Hear Me? How to connect with people in a virtual world" was described by Harvard Business Review (who area the publisher!) as “your essential communications manual for twenty first century work”. I have to agree. You can find out more about it here: https://publicwords.com/can-you-hear-me/
Having been forced to pivot my Human Risk business (www.human-risk.com) from being mostly 'face to face' with some virtual work, into an entirely virtual business, I was looking for ways that I could learn to get better at my online interactions. Nick's book — which was published in 2018 — provided many answers and helped me to adapt. In our discussion, we explore Nick's story and what he's discovered in looking at how we interact.
In case you’re wondering what the human risk angle is here, let me explain. Since we’re required - and even when we’re not required, will probably want - to do more virtual communication than ever before, it’s important we become good at the skills we need in order to do so. As you’ll hear from Nick, those aren’t the same skills we need to communicate in person. If we don’t master these skills, then we risk being misunderstood and we risk misunderstanding others. As we know, misunderstandings can lead to conflict, confusion and even chaos.
So, if we want to avoid being part of human risk in action - or indeed if we’re tasked with managing it and want to help others avoid it - understanding how we can better communicate in a virtual world is a must-have, not a nice to have.
It's a subject I've covered before on the show and if you're interested in this area, I recommend the following episodes:
Hannah Thomas Uose on Zoom Trauma —https://www.humanriskpodcast.com/hanna-thomas-uose-on-zoom-trauma/
Professor Elizabeth Stokoe on Conversations — https://www.humanriskpodcast.com/professor-elizabeth-stokoe-on-the-science-of-conversations/
Jon Levy on Influence — https://www.humanriskpodcast.com/jon-levy-on-influence/
Lasse Frost & Jakob Danelund on Gamification & Storytelling
If we want to mitigate human risk, we need to engage the humans that might crystallise it. But how can we do that effectively?
My guests, Lasse Frost and Jacob Danelund have been working on this challenge for some time. Their focus is on engaging target audiences, using techniques that range from gamification — turning something into a game — to story-telling, the natural way we all learn as children.
Lasse and Jacob both work for Implement Consulting, a firm based in Denmark, that as you’ll hear, brings a very Danish way of looking at this challenge. I came across Implement when they were launching Complayance - a combination of the ‘Compliance and ‘play’ - a digital platform that delivers Compliance training through a compelling gaming interface.
Lasse and Jakob aren’t just designers, they’re also podcasters hosting a show called The Human Firewall.
In the episode, we explore why traditional approaches to the challenge of engaging people, sometimes don’t work and what more effective ones might be.
Topics we discuss, include:
Shadow IT 👉https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_IT
The story of Cassandra from Greek mythology 👉https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassandra
The Human Firewall podcast 👉 https://podcasts.apple.com/dk/podcast/the-human-firewall/id1553442754
Researcher Luca Dellanna 👉 https://www.luca-dellanna.com/
Luca has appeared twice on the Human Risk podcast. You can hear him talking about Ergodicity on this episode 👉https://www.humanriskpodcast.com/luca-dellanna-on-ergodicity/
COVID & Multiplicative Dynamics on this episode 👉 https://www.humanriskpodcast.com/luca-dellanna-on-the-coronavirus-and-multiplicative-dynamics/
ComPlayance, the gamified compliance training platform that Implement Consulting, Jakob and Lasse's company Implement consulting has developed 👉https://implementconsultinggroup.com/complayance/
For more on Implement, visit 👉https://implementconsultinggroup.com
The origins of the phrase 'hocus pocus' 👉https://wordfoolery.wordpress.com/2019/02/25/the-strange-story-behind-hocus-pocus/
GDPR - General Data Protection Regulation - 👉 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Data_Protection_Regulation
WARNING - the following links may offend some readers/listeners, so view at your own peril and on a personal, not work device.
The Human Centipede horror movie 👉https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Human_Centipede_(First_Sequence)
John Dillermand, a children's TV show with an adult them 👉https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/06/john-dillermand-denmark-launches-childrens-tv-show-man-giant-penis
Professors Benjamin van Rooij & Danny Sokol on Compliance 2.0
What does the word 'compliance' mean? On the face of it, we've all had experience of it under COVID as governments have introduced rules to influence our behaviour to stop the spread of the virus. But its influence is far broader than that, with applications ranging from corporate environments to the medical profession. It's even become an industry in its own right, complete with its own professional organizations and creating an ever-growing stream of jobs. As a result, the term has various meanings and academic studies looking at how it influences human decision-making have often been undertaken in siloes. If we want to understand what compliance means and how its objectives can be more effectively delivered, we need to look across the spectrum of applications.
My guests on this episode, Professors Benjamin van Rooij and Danny Sokol, are the co-authors of a new book called The Cambridge Handbook of Compliance which seeks to meet this challenge. The Handbook takes a broad approach and explores the idea of compliance as being the interaction between rules and behaviour. Using this framing, it sets out to deliver a comprehensive understanding of what compliance is and what mechanisms and interventions are used in its service.
By exploring different contexts and ideas, the Handbook explains what compliance is and provides a guide to how its objectives can be more effectively delivered. In our discussion, which was originally filmed as a video that we’ll be sharing as clips on social media, Benjamin and Danny explain why they wrote the book and what they hope to achieve and highlight some of the key themes it covers. By understanding what compliance is, and how its objectives can be more effectively met, we can adopt what Danny and Benjamin call Compliance 2.0.
They also reveal their favourite or least favourite rule!
Not only are Danny and Benjamin engaging guests, but their insights will be of interest to those working in compliance and those of us who are subject to compliance requirements. In other words, all of us!
For more on The Cambridge Handbook of Compliance 👉https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/cambridge-handbook-of-compliance/A7A803D987C9C001C6569395BEE5051C
To download the Introductory Chapter of the Handbook for free 👉https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3563295
To find out more about Benjamin and his research:
To find out more about Danny and his research:
To hear Benjamin's previous appearances on the podcast:
On his book 'The Behavioural Code' 👉 https://www.humanriskpodcast.com/professor-benjamin-van-rooij-on-the-behavioural-code/
On his research into COVID Compliance 👉https://www.humanriskpodcast.com/professor-benjamin-van-rooij-on-covid-compliance/
Great format, great guests!
Christian Consistently delivers great context that at the same delivers a smile and a head scratch. He’s a terrific host and a thoughtful conversationalist. Keep up the good work!
Informative and amusing
Really enjoy the podcast! Unique topics and lively discussion.
Great start. Looking forward to more episodes.
I love anything behavioral Econ. So excited to have found this. Thank you. Christian keeps it not only relevant but so interesting. Thank you so much for a great show.