What is Human Risk?

“The risk of people doing something they shouldn’t or not doing something they should.”

It’s the largest risk facing most organisations in the Knowledge Economy and is the focus of my work and this website.

Why does it matter?

There are countless examples of people doing things (or not doing things) that negatively impact the risk environment.

Even those risks that do not appear to be directly driven by human behaviour can contain human elements which can worsen the risk profile.

For example, a natural disaster is not preventable.  But the impact of the disaster can be made that much worse by poor decisions taken by human beings, either in response to the event or in a (lack of) pre-emptive planning.

A hurricane cannot (yet) be prevented, but its impact on society is heavily influenced by the human response to it.

What can we do about it?

By better understanding what drives human behaviour, we can better control it and therefore mitigate the risks associated with it.

At their best, people are awe-inspiring,  creative, courageous, inspirational, wonderful and intelligent.  At their worst, they are evil, destructive, inappropriate, lazy, awful and useless.

I want to explore ways we can encourage the former attributes and discourage the latter.

This website is a resource and discussion forum dedicated to that aim.

What is Behavioural Science (BeSci)?

Behavioural Science is the understanding of the drivers of actual, rather than theoretical, human decision-making.  It is relevant to all of us.

Firstly, because it helps explain how we make decisions.  We all like to think that we’re entirely rational and make intelligent decisions. Yet, in reality, we are heavily influenced by our environment and subtle cues that we may not even be aware of. By understanding how our brains work in reality (rather than how they work in theory or we’d like them to work) we can find ways to improve our own lives.

Secondly, because BeSci techniques are commonly deployed by others who want to influence us.  Most obviously advertisers, but also governments, transport authorities, retailers and technology companies to name but a few.  If we understand those techniques a little, we can be more wary of when they might be trying to influence us in ways we don’t want.

In my Human Risk newsletter and blog posts, I look at BeSci from a risk perspective. I’m targeting people interested in understanding and using the techniques for the purposes of managing risks associated with human decision-making. But it’s relevant to everyone as we all do things that aren’t always in our best interests.  Understanding why can help us avoid those mistakes.


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