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The Human Risk Podcast

Human Risk

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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 ina ...
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show series
 
What is the Rainbow Ceiling, and why does it matter? On this episode, I’m speaking to the author of a new book that explains the significance and the ways we can help to remove it. A rainbow ceiling is similar to a glass ceiling, a metaphor for the various structural barriers that hold down women or minority groups as they try to climb the career l…
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What can we learn from artists about decision-making? More than you might think. We often see decision-making in binary terms and whether decisions are good or bad. But what if they’re more subjective and akin to the way an artist looks at the world? That’s what my guest explores in her new book. That guest is Elspeth Kirkman, Chief Programme Offic…
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What makes us more or less likely to comply with rules or laws? My guest, Benjamin Van Rooij, knows all about this subject. He is a Professor of Law and Society at the University of Amsterdam who researches and writes about behavioural law; in other words, the impact laws have on human behaviour and the behavioural science behind law. This is Benja…
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What goes into human decision-making? If you listened to the previous episode of the show with Dr Melina Moleskis on decision-making, then you’ll know what’s coming next. If you didn’t, then don’t worry; you can listen to that after this. My guest on this episode is Ben Cattaneo, a friend of the show and the founder of The Decision-Making Studio, a…
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What is decision science, and how can it help us to make better decisions? On this episode, I'm joined by decision-making expert Dr Melina Moleskis, who explains how she combines decision science and behavioural science to help her clients make better decisions. In a wide-ranging discussion, we explore: how decision-making education is often overlo…
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What is it that makes a job enjoyable and fulfilling? While you’re likely to have your own very individual answers to that question, chances are it’ll be to do with what you’re required to do, how much freedom you have, whether you think it’s worthwhile and how well it plays to your skillsets and interests. Yet, all too often, companies focus more …
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Why do we lie and cheat and why might it not always be a bad thing? On this episode, I’m speaking to a research professor who has studied lying and cheating in the natural world and what we can learn about it in the human world. My guest, Dr Lixing Sun is a Research Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Central Washington University…
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What prompted a courageous former employee of Harvey Weinstein to break her Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)? On this episode I'm speaking to a campaigner who came to prominence as the individual who broke the silence surrounding the misconduct of Harvey Weinstein. Formerly an assistant to Weinstein, Zelda Perkins made headlines when she came forward…
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How, in a world of limited resources, can we prioritise risk? Which ones should we focus on more than others? This isn't just something we need to think about in a work context. It also applies to our personal lives; where should we spend our money, time and headspace? My guest is a friend of the show who has appeared four times before (links below…
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How can we make better decisions? By paying attention to good advice or information and ignoring the opposite. In a world where we're overloaded with data and opinions, it can be hard to determine what is good and what is bad advice. My guest Nuala Walsh, is the author of a new book called 'Tune In! How to make smarter decisions in a noisy world'. …
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What does storytelling have to do with managing risk? On this episode, I’m speaking to novelist, playwright, and screenwriter Preethi Nair. She also helps people who want to tell their stories to identify the one that will resonate and tell them in the best possible way. We all know the power of storytelling. It’s how we learn as kids and how we sh…
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What can business learn from improvisation? If you listened to the previous episode of the shwo, you'll know the answer. If you haven't yet done so, then I recommend dojgn that before listening to this. Because this is Part Two of my discussion with Heather Urquhart and it lfows naturally on from Part One. Meet Heather Urqhuhart My guest Heather Ur…
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What can business learn from improvisation? On the face of it, a form of entertainment that involves making things up as you go along, seems to be filled with human risk and not at all helpful in the business world. But actually, the skills that improvisers use to entertain us, are incredibky useful in businesses to drive better decision-making, Th…
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What is burnout, and how can we prevent it? We're increasingly hearing about the idea of 'burnout', which the World Health Organisation has defined as a condition "resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed". Recent high profile resignations, including Jacinda Ardern the former PM of New Zealand and Jürgen Klopp,…
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What is Healthcare Coaching? If I say the word ‘doctor’ to you — in a medical, not academic, sense— you’ll probably think of someone in a white coat with a stethoscope who makes medical assessments and prescribes treatments and drugs to patients. Which, of course, is what they do do But a word that probably wouldn’t come to mind when you think of d…
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How can businesses do the right thing? What does that even mean and why does or should it matter? What is Business Ethics? Business ethics used to be a case of dealing with things like bribery and fraud, which companies tried to — and often did — manage with rules and processes. But nowadays, in a world where every employee and consumer has the abi…
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What happens when a surgeon decides to become an airline pilot? You get some amazing insights into mistakes, how they happen and what we can do to mitigate them. That surgeon and now pilot is my guest Niall Downey. He’s also the author of a book called ‘Oops! Why Things Go Wrong’: Understanding and Controlling Error’ He began his career as a doctor…
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What happens when companies outside financial services are required to comply with regulations such as AML (Anti-Money Laundering)? As we all know from our personal experiences of banks that want to verify who we are and where money is coming from or going to, the rules are complex. That’s challenging enough if you’re a bank. But if you’re an art d…
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Authenticity is often praised, and inauthenticity is criticised. We want people to be themselves. But what happens if the society we’re in isn’t supportive or even hostile toward who we really are? Or we don’t yet know. That’s the challenge facing many LGBTQ+ people in relation to coming out. It’s the subject of a brand new book called ‘Countless S…
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What’s the most effective way to manage cyber risk? The obvious answer is to have more sophisticated security systems. My guest on this episode thinks the answer is humans. That’s because behind every cyber attack, there is a human, and the biggest point of vulnerability within an organisation is its humans. If we can better understand humans and h…
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What determines the price of an item or service? How can we price things so that people want to buy them but also so that we feel it’s fair? Whether (like me) you’re in business and have to sell, or you’re negotiating a salary or looking to buy or sell a house or a car, pricing matters. My guest on this episode, Melina Palmer, is the author of a ne…
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What drives the choices we make, and how can we influence the choices that others make? On this episode, I’m speaking to an expert in human decision-making. Richard Shotton is a behavioural science practitioner who has written two best-selling books, ‘ The Choice Factory’ and ‘The Illusion of Choice’. Having begun his career in marketing, Richard n…
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How can we manage people who are doing creative work? On the one hand, letting someone do what they want feels incredibly risky. On the other hand, creativity requires a degree of freedom, experimentation and agency. That’s a particular problem in the creative fields, but it’s also a broader challenge. In the 21st century, the jobs people are doing…
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Why do we sometimes make bad decisions in relation to money and what can we do about it? My guest, Vishal George, is a Behavioural Scientist who has recently published a book called ‘Money Mindsets: Science-Based Stories to Rewire your Money Beliefs, Goals, & Habits’. In it, he explores that he way we behave when it comes to money, comes from belie…
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What do you think of when you hear the word 'error'? It's highly likely you'll think of it negatively as a defect. The obvious way to manage defects, particularly in safety-critical industries, is to have detailed procedures, strict compliance, and zero tolerance for errors. But we know that this doesn't always work. After all, if it did, we'd have…
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What are museums, and what purpose do they serve? As a regular museum-goer — both when I’m travelling and also at home when I need distraction or creative inspiration — I’m always intrigued, both by what they show and how they show it. If you’ve been following my Compliance In The Wild series on LinkedIn (example post here) you’ll know that museums…
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What is it like to grow up in a country that no longer exists? That's the challenge faced by my guest Katja Hoyer. She grew up in the GDR, the German Democratic Republic. Or as most of us think of it, East Germany. While most histories of the country focus on the political decision-making or things that are most extraordinary — for example, the Sta…
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What is the Monday Revolution, and why do we need it? On this episode, I'm speaking to someone who used to run a company that grabbed a lot of my attention during my teenage and younger years. That company was Capital Radio — at the time, London's largest radio station — and that person is David Mansfield. After being CEO of Capital and its success…
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How can lying earn you millions? If you’re an actor and good at impersonating people, then the answer is that you become a corporate spy. That’s the unexpected career path followed by my guest Robert Kerbeck, whose memoir ‘Ruse: Lying the American Dream from Hollywood to Wall Street!’ tells the story of how it happened. And on this episode, he join…
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Why can senior leaders — usually in post as a result of experience and expertise — often make mistakes? The answer might seem counterintuitive; it’s precisely because of their experience and expertise that this can happen. How that happens and what we can do to mitigate it, the subject of this epsiode. My guest is Dr Constance Dierickx, who is also…
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Why is some software a real pain to use? How does it happen, and what can we do to make it not happen? On this episode, I’m speaking with Sebastian Lees, an experienced software developer with a keen interest in making things more human-centric. We often think of computers as making our lives easier and reducing human risk. Yet, poor design and a l…
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What is trickle-down safety? On this episode, I’m finding out with two safety specialists who help me to explroe what it means and why it’s relevant to other fields. By safety, I mean the kind that saves people’s lives on building sites,not the cyber kind. My guests are James MacPherson and Elisa Lynch. James is a safety professional who works acro…
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What we can learn about customer service and being more human from the fire service? On this episode, I’m speaking with David Wales, who used to work in the fire and rescue service and has now switched to focus on product design and customer service. In his role in the fire and rescue service, David wanted to understand why people didn’t always do …
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How can we be better at explaining things? On the 250th episode of the podcast, I’m joined by a very special guest who has made explaining an art form and has just published a book called ‘The Art of Explanation’. That guest is Ros Atkins. He’s a BBC News presenter and the BBC’s Analysis Editor. Ros is best known for his explainer videos, which, si…
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What is livescribing? On this episode, I speak to an artist with a unique creative talent. Hannah Williams is the founder of Scribble Inc. and her talent is that she can summarise presentations and discussions in beautiful pieces of art that fuse words and images. You'll find links to examples below. I met Hannah at a conference called Speak to the…
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Why are we so reliant on models, how can they lead us astray, and what can we do about it? On this episode, I’m exploring models. Of the mathematical kind, not the fashion or toy kind. Models interest me because so much of our world is run by them. Many of the things we take for granted in the 21st century have models either running or helping to r…
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What can music teach us about human behaviour? What impact is remote and hybrid working having on employee conduct? How might we misjudge the risks posed by AI? If these seem like a broad range of topics that have little in common, then you’re right and wrong. You’re right that they’re broad, but you’re wrong that they have little in common. My gue…
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How well do we really know those who are closest to us? That’s the question that is behind ‘The Wolf Hunt’, a new novel by Israeli author Ayelet Gundar-Goshen. She's my guest on this very special episode. In a first for the show, I’m interviewing the author of a piece of fiction. Ayelet isn’t just a writer. She’s also a clinical psychologist, which…
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Why are major projects so often delayed and over budget? On this episode, I'm speaking to Bent Flyvbjerg, the author of 'How Big Things Get Done'. Bent s a Danish economic geographer. He was the First BT Professor and Inaugural Chair of Major Programme Management at Oxford University's Saïd Business School and is the Villum Kann Rasmussen Professor…
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Why drives people to commit fraud? What turns people into whistleblowers? How does fraud impact victims? On this episode, I'm exploring the scams, stories and secrets behind fraud. My guest is Dr. Kelly Richmond Pope. She's the Dr. Barry Jay Epstein Endowed Professor of Forensic Accounting at DePaul University in Chicago and a nationally recognized…
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How can we design incentive programmes that deliver the right outcomes and avoid the wrong ones? We're all familiar with teh idea of rewards to encourage good behaviour and punishment to deter bad behaviour. Incentive programmes are common because they're effective. But they often come with unintended consequences. On this episode, I'm speaking to …
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How can we be more in the moment in meetings, conversations and presentations? On this episode, I'm speaking to communications expert and comedian Neil Mullarkey. In his new book 'In The Moment', Neil explores how we can use the ideas that underpin improv comedy to improve our confidence, communication and creativity. In our discussion, we explore:…
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What happens when you put three Behavioural Science gurus in a world-famous music studio? On this episode, we find out as my guests are Paul Craven, Rory Sutherland and Gerald Ashley, who join me for part three of a three-part series recorded at the world-famous Abbey Road Studios. Before listening to it, I highly recommend listening to Parts One a…
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Why do some people become ‘super spreaders’ for fashions and ideas? Why might an acceptance letter from a top University be worth more than a degree from the same establishment? These and many more questions are answered in this episode. My guests are Behavioural Science gurus Paul Craven, Rory Sutherland and Gerald Ashley and this is Part Two of a…
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What happens when you bring three behavioural science gurus into a world-famous recording studio? Find out on three special episodes of the Human Risk podcast. Rory Sutherland, Gerald Ashley and Paul Craven have all been on the show before (links below), both individually and as duets. As the show approaches its 250th episode, I thought I’d invite …
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How do we know that laws and rules are effective? On this episode, I'm returning to the field of Behavioural Law. It's something I've explored in previous episodes with academics (links below), but this time I'm joined by a practitioner who works in a law firm and whose job is to think about the behavioural dynamics of law. The idea behind Behaviou…
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Why does a two-letter word ('no') often cause us huge amounts of problems? After all, it's easy to say… except when it isn’t. We’ve all found ourselves in situations where we’ve wanted to say 'no' but, for some reason, haven’t been able to do so. From a human risk perspective, it's not hard to see how finding it hard to say 'no', can crystallise hu…
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What does it mean to be truly funny? We often associate the word ‘funny’ with comedy and making people laugh. But it can also mean being witty, incisive ironic, playful, teasing, or delivering little moments of truth. On this episode, I’m speaking to comedy writer Paul Dornan, whose new company, True Funny, helps people discover what makes them fun…
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Why should we humanize rules? On this episode, your usual show host Christian Hunt is replaced by experienced podcaster and presenter Mark Heywood. That's becuase, the guest on today's episode is...Christian. Having just released a book called 'Humanizing Rules: Bringing Behavioural Science to Ethics & Compliance', he joins Mark to explore the comp…
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How can organisations with limited resources handle ethical issues? While every organisation wants to be ethical — or at the very least, to be seen to be ethical — smaller ones often lack the resources or experience to manage these issues. My guest Rupert Evill is the author of ‘Bootstrapping Ethics’, a book that’s designed to help organisations wi…
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