Applied Reliability and Durability Conference
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North America

Red Room - Session 8

1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Thursday, June 15, 2017

Using the Black Swan Theory to Great Effect to Improve Crisis Management

During the past few years I have trained over 2000 people in Crisis and Emergency Preparedness using the Black Swan logic to great effect.

The concept added a new dimension to the standard training, and much easier to convince students when considering that many Black Swans can and have been caused and exacerbated by their being unexpected. Management often has an inability to predict the new types of threats, from modern terrorism to environmental, from social security deficits and oil prices to Internet-related privacy violations, our inability to predict in environments subjected to the Black Swan.

Consider the Pacific tsunami of December 2004. Had it been expected, it would not have caused the damage it did — the areas affected would have been less populated, an early warning system would have been put in place. What you know cannot really hurt you.

Black Swans being unpredictable, we need to adjust to their existence; from this presentation will see that, contrary to social-science wisdom, almost no discovery, no technologies of note, came from design and planning—they were just Black Swans. The strategy for the discoverers and entrepreneurs is to rely less on top-down planning and focus on maximum tinkering and recognizing opportunities when they present themselves.

Key Words: Black Swan Theory, Risk Assessment, Probability Theory, Volatility, Flexibility

William Pomfret

Safety Projects International Inc.

Kanata, Ontario, Canada