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The University of Southampton
Centre for Risk Research

CRR staff hailed as risk innovators

Published: 10 May 2017
Prof. Chris Chapman

In a recent LinkedIn article, two professors from the Centre for Risk Research (CRR) were highlighted as risk innovators who have made some of the most important and original contributions to the field of risk management in recent decades.

The article, written by Warren Black (Complexity & Risk Specialist, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Australia), was inspired by the New York Times Best Selling book ‘Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World’ by Adam Grant (2016). In the book, Adam Grant explains how it is generally the “non-conformists” (e.g., Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Russell Simmons, etc.) who have tended to lead in all areas of innovation and have achieved many extraordinary things merely by challenging that which has become conventional. The book inspired Warren Black to ask the question “Who are the Originals of risk management?”

In addressing this question, Black highlighted a small number of risk management Originals that have dared to think differently and, subsequently, have substantially improved the field of risk management. Some of Black’s Originals include Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky (Nobel Prize winners for their work on judgmental biases in decision making under risk) and Stanley McChrystal (leader of the joint task force in Iraq during the mid-1990's who demonstrated how the principles of complexity science can help to manage risk in highly disordered and chaotic situations). Notably, Black gave special mention to the contributions that Professors Chris Chapman and Steve Ward of the CRR have made to the field of risk management. Specifically, Black highlighted how Chapman and Ward have been pioneers of the merits of using "Uncertainty Management" over conventional risk management and have propelled the view that a fundamental flaw of the conventional risk management approach is an over dependence on "predicting" risks rather than recognising that the uncertainty involved means key sources of opportunities and risks, as conventionally defined, will not be identified (i.e., unknown-unknowns). In Black’s words, “What makes Chapman & Ward "Risk Originals" is that they have developed a risk control approach that focuses on maturing controls in order to reduce the uncertainty that creates risks, rather than attempting to actually predict the risks”.

To read the full article by Warren Black and to learn more about Chapman and Ward’s substantial contributions to the field of risk management, please click here.

Uncertainty Management
Uncertainty Management
Prof. Steve Ward
Prof. Steve Ward

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