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Understanding and Developing Risk Intelligence Unit 10 – Overseas Online


SKU: MasterUnit10-OS Category:


The culture and social psychology of risk are about the way social arrangements affect human judgment and decision making. This is best captured in Prof. Karl E. Weick’s work on Organisational Sensemaking and Collective Mindfulness.

This unit looks at the way perception, motivation, readiness, scaffolding, process recognition, social sensemaking and collective mindfulness all condition thinking and decisions about risk.

The workshop has a focus on five key questions, these are:

  • What is risk intelligence?
  • What is your risk iCue ©?
  • How is risk iCue© developed and matured?
  • What indicators and factors enhance risk intelligence?
  • What are the practical skills required to apply risk intelligence in the workplace?

We know that too much confidence is placed in ‘common sense’ myths, systems, legislation, regulation and self-perception in managing risk.  This unit challenges orthodox notions of understanding and managing risk and provides a framework for developing risk intelligence in self and others with a view to maturing risk intelligence in the workplace.

The unit generates a new awareness which accepts the importance of informal, low key supportive and non-punishing engagement of others in conducting conversations with skill in a non-defensive approach.


The logic of the program is explained in the following sequence:

  1. Human perception is not reliable.
  2. Humans are “hard wired” with limited perceptive abilities.
  3. People most often work on the basis of assumption and intuition (gut knowledge, heuristics) in their work, sometimes human communication is not delivered effectively.
  4. Human perception is further limited by external factors such as distractions, delay, time pressures, misdirection, sub-cultural rules, groupthink, heuristics etc.
  5. Human perception is also limited by ignorance and over confidence.  Put simply, people most often don’t know what they don’t know and so, maintain the status quo ie, fear, punitive authoritarianism and bureaucracy as effective solutions to problems to do with risk.
  6. Risk trade offs are often made through mis-prioritisation, self-imposed rushing, misdirection and multiple human biases.
  7. Most orthodox tools to understand and manage risk (technicist formulas, mechanistic processes, rules-based tools, binary-based methods and closed organising) are valuable but in themselves but do not effectively assess psychological or cultural factors in the workplace.  Most assessment of risk only focuses on primary (physical) not secondary (psychological) and tertiary (cultural) risks.  The key to understanding these three dimensions of risk is to think of: ‘workspace’, ‘headspace’ and ‘groupspace’. The notion of ‘triarchic methodologies’ is critical in developing mature sense of risk intelligence.
  8. This unit looks at the problem of excessive systems and associated new sub-cultures and cultural dynamics that become by-products of many forms of excess.
  9. The unit explores a range of unconscious and informal dynamics that work against intelligent approaches to risk.
  10. The development and practice of effective methods is a critical aspect of the final part of the unit.

Expected Outcomes

By the conclusion of this unit participants will:

  1. Have an increased awareness of the limitations of orthodox systems and tools used to manage risk, understanding of ‘risk cosmetics’ and the challenges of human perceptions, motications and complexities.
  2. Understand the need for connecting with ‘workspace’, ‘headspace’ and ‘groupspace’ to triarchic thinking and methodology.
  3. Learn how to be better observe, understand, sensemake and converse about risk.
  4. Be motivated in ‘ownership’ for risk, including an increased awareness of unconscious by-products, trade-offs and wicked problems associate with developing risk intelligence.
  5. Develop improved attitudes and values towards informal, indirect and unconscious approaches to manage risk.
  6. Development by participants of in-situ tools for assisting risk intelligence.

Links to AS/NZS 31000:2009 and HB 327:2010

The latest ISO standards (AS/NZS 31000:2009 and HB 327:2010) emphasise the importance of addressing social-psychological and cultural factors in risk management. What should be notes is the subjective nature of the standards and the reliance on communication  and consultation in risk. This corresponds with the subjective nature of the Act and Regulation about bringing risk to As Low As Reasonable Practicable (ALARP) and of Due Diligence. This workshop assists in Due Diligence and responsibilities under the Regulation and Standard by complementing with social psychological skills.

Videos – Lectures

The Risk Intelligence lectures are available on registration.

Password to access the videos: Provided on registration.

Participants will watch the video series, design a risk intelligence training program and report on its implementation in the workplace. Tools are provided for use as well as the development of in-situ tools by participants.


Assignment 1 – Practical Workplace Implementation Report

The purpose of this assignment is document and report on the implementation of a risk intelligence program in the workplace.


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