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Welcome to my ruminations

Is it safe?

A friend of mine recently responded to my having made public our approach to facilitated debriefing by raising the difficulties of how confidentiality is – in the real world – perceived as being almost impossible to achieve. Confidentiality Confidentiality if a fundamental human trait – it is given – and in turn, respected. Is it… Read More

Step one is only step one

Jason Helps’ responses to the enquiry into quarantine management (Victoria) included the reflection on structure below. The structure to which Helps refers is depicted in the diagram below. It relies on the assumption that an incident management system (which evolved from the context of fighting fires in the USA in the 1980s and since then… Read More


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The politics of risk

The politics of those at risk is emerging quite quickly. It is manifesting itself as “focus shifts from how to weather individual storms towards identifying causes and advocating for community-wide solutions. The scale of concern shifts from the singular to the systemic.” The challenges for those in power will become more significant unless they embrace… Read More

It’s not rocket science

How often have you heard someone say that in a conversation? It may not be “rocket science” (that is to say “requiring the application of expertise”) to them, but it is just rude to be dismissive. It alienates and it isolates. It erodes respect. Things which are “not rocket science” are often just not very… Read More

How can “dry” subjects be communicated?

Effective communication is characterised by enthusiasm and focus – on the part of all involved. Too often this is not the case. Putting aside environmental influences (such as cold rooms and uncomfortable seats) I think there are three key variables: the “presenter” may be too distant, academic, or didactic. the “message or subject” may be… Read More

Can you manage uncertainty in three straightforward steps?

Management processes should always be as simple as possible – yet as complex as is necessary. First, clear, understandable, straightforward risk statements come out of mindful conversations about context. Second, we assess risks – not as an academic exercise – but in order to determine whether we need to do anything about those risks. So… Read More

Plans are nothing …

Emergency Planning for facilities is not straightforward. The “bog standard” linear, risk-based approach is a good start but context often brings complexities which require nuance. Layer over that the social and political dimensions (internal and external) and you start to explore the mire. Difficult questions arise – from the commitment of organisations to adequately resource… Read More

Standards are fine – unless they “bind”

The international standard for risk management, ISO 31000, provides principles and guidelines. When this standard is used as a heuristic device it can aid creative thinking. Heuristic devices can open up problems and opportunities however they are “double-edged swords” – something that can have both favourable or unfavourable consequences. The Standard is not a checklist.… Read More