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Over the years I have been asked to speak about how to eliminate risk at an event. If it were possible I was being asked to come up with a ‘risk free’ event.

At first I tried really hard to come up with some magic formula to achieve this and then it dawned on me that it is an impossible task. There will never ever be a ‘risk free’ event.

Is risk bad or is risk good? Let’s explore some ideas.

Risk is Good

Taking risks is essential for both individual development and also to progress the world at large.

In taking risks we can; create change, instigate innovation, develop new products, work with different suppliers and win new client accounts.

Actually without taking risk there would be very little going on.

The Problem

Taking a risk is also scary. After all why would anyone want anything to go wrong?

So we try to control risks (in some countries) through detailed Risk assessments (that no one enjoys completing) and worse still a Risk Assessment may only in part be helpful.

What we need is a look at the wider picture to check that we know as much as we can to make an informed decision in the analysis of our event risk.

Learning from Toddlers

Have you ever come across a parent that has discouraged their toddler from trying to stand up and walk?

Of course not, the parent(s) would have watched the toddler struggle time and time again until finally they could do more than crawl and ultimately the toddler began to walk.

I am yet to come across an adult that is still crawling. But all around there was risk for the parent(s) which they considered to allow their toddler to finally succeed.

Clearly the parent(s) would have moved any harmful objects away from the toddler but the rest was down to the child who succeeded.

Imagine if you will that parent(s) had to complete a Risk Assessment before allowing their toddler to try and walk. It would be laughable.

But this is exactly what happens in our industry. Someone somewhere wants to know that there is not a  risk of anything going wrong.

Well this is just nonsense and I think we would all be a lot better off if we accepted that risk is all around us and dealt with it in the way we did when we were looking at all the risks that surrounded the toddler.



Time to Embrace Risk

Amazingly there are people that believe it accidents, injuries, disasters will not happen to them.

But the evidence unfortunately can indicate otherwise. In 2010 we had snow disruption on both sides of the Atlantic and then there was a volcanic ash cloud that disrupted much traffic in Europe.

Event professionals (not just planners) should escape this myth of “risk free events’ and accept that we cannot live without risk.

Let’s accept it, and use our collective wisdom to help all of us to prepare and deal with the risks that do and will affect our industry.

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