Ask Professor Risk


From the The Kewl Doodz ‘n’ Chyx

“One of the biggest risks is being too cautious, according to David Spiegelhalter who is Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at Cambridge University.

His work is featured in a video on the Cambridge University YouTube channel.


There’s more at the website.”

This is a great video that shows that thinking about risk is not a separate thought process but part of every thought and decision you make in a day.  The Risk Management profession is about educating people on ways to consider, measure, and assess decisions using a risk lens (as but one lens to use).  Hence, when I speak of innovating risk I am not referring to something that is seperate from innovation or from risk management but is a combination of both.  It is innovating risk as a primary driver to achieve a better outcome.

The same site above also has this posting:

“A new word in my vocabulary this week is “micromort”, meaning a one-in-a-million risk of death. On a typical day you are exposed to one micromort of risk. However, if you go hang gliding, that’s eight micromorts. Scuba diving is five micromorts. Taking an Ecstasy tablet gives you one micromort. You get one micromort from 230 miles travel in a car, 6,000 miles in a train or just six miles on a motorbike. It takes just one and a half cigarettes to give you a micromort. A horse riding trip gives you about half a micromort.

Statistician David Spiegelhalter (who spoke in Bristol this week) has suggested we use this measure as a standard scale for various kinds of deadly risk.  For example, taking Ecstasy, smoking a cigarette, a long horse ride and a short motorbike journey all have roughly the same amount of risk, yet the conventional understanding of the danger of those things isn’t equal at all.”

This is a fantastic way of measuring risk in every decision we make.  As you can see a micromort is not something you think about once you have made a decision, it is embedded in the decision making process.

Hopefully this is another article that is helping lead you to a better understanding of risk mangement.


Scott North has extensive experience in enterprise risk management, internal audit, operational risk and compliance, risk strategy, scenario planning, technology risk, technology business analysis, systems design, financial accounting, and management accounting. Scott is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Chartered Accountants with a Masters Degree from the University of Melbourne in Business and Information Technology. Scott is also a Fellow of the University of Melbourne.