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Books articles and conference papers

General books, articles and conference papers we have written or to which we have contributed

  • Complexity – What’s new?

    Complexity is mentioned in professional discussions from astrophysics to zoology. There is a sense that previous generations led a simpler existence and did not have to deal with it. Understanding whether this is true or not can help to put into perspective present day efforts to handle complexity. A complete history of complexity and efforts to cope with it would be an enormous undertaking but useful insights can be gained from an interesting paper written almost sixty years ago. In language that would not seem out of place today, Charles E. Lindblom described the dilemma of addressing systems with no ordered cause-effect relationships using methods based on systems that do have ordered cause-effect relationships. The challenges he described still exist but there are now ways to address complexity directly rather than try to fight against it or pretend it does not exist.

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  • Book review: Grant Avery, Project Management, Denial and the Death Zone

    This book review by Dr Dale Cooper of Grant Avery: 'Project Management, Denial and the Death Zone: Lessons from Everest and Antarctica' (with a foreword by Sir Ranulph Fiennes), was published in RiskPost, the newsletter of RiskNZ (formerly the New Zealand Society for Risk Management), in March 2016. Grant Avery's fascinating book makes interesting and entertaining reading, as well as providing insights into aspects of managing risk in projects that we rarely think about in depth.

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  • Hearing over the Cacophony: RiskNZ Keynote

    Grant Purdy's keynote speech can be downloaded here. In it Grant explains the virtues of keeping an organisation’s general approach to managing risk as simple (but not simplistic) as possible.

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  • Project Risk Management Guidelines

    The new edition of ‘Project Risk Management Guidelines: Managing Risk with ISO 31000 and IEC 62198’ includes the new international standards ISO 31000 ‘Risk management’ and IEC 62198 ‘Managing risk in projects’. 

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  • Unknown unknowns

    In the ten years since the United States Secretary of Defense at that time, Donald Rumsfeld, brought the term “unknown unknowns” to prominence, its use has spread throughout the risk management community. The term itself and the confusion it creates will never go away but that very lack of definition presents an opportunity to think about what we leave out of our risk assessments. There may be things we can do to reduce these gaps and improve the quality of our assessments and the final results.

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  • How to manage risk more effectively — make it part of how you manage

    IFAC have just published a though piece by Grant Purdy on their Global Knowledge Gateway. Grant suggests that managing risk is already a natural part of how people make decisions and execute them; risk management is already 'integrated'. Risk management tools and processes should be adapted to suit the needs of the decision makers and their existing approaches to decision making rather than the other way around.

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  • Enhance your risk management and create value

    This article from Grant Purdy and John Lark that was published in 2012 explains that while managing risk is a natural part of life and business, we can all benefit from advice on how this can be achieved better and with more beneficial outcomes. The publication of ISO 31000 in 2009 represented a very significant milestone in our journey to understand and harness uncertainty as part of decision making.

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  • Taking Occam’s Razor to risk management

    This article by Grant Purdy, Associate Director, was published in the March 2014 of *Risk Management Professional*. The principle of Occam’s Razor is that if there are two equally likely solutions to a problem, we should then choose the simplest. This article suggests that to be effective we should only describe the process for managing risk in terms of the way people make decisions and interpret the ‘framework’ for managing risk in terms of normally-found elements of an organisation’s system of management

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  • How good is our risk management? How boards should find out

    This article by Grant Purdy, Associate Director, was published in RiskWatch by the Conference Board of Canada in December 2010. It describes the information Boards should be provided with to enable them to assure the effectiveness of an organisation's approach to managing risk.

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