Risk DNA: how robust yet fragile a system really is!


Experienced business people look at me like I am mad when I use the human body or brain to illustrate how important it is that a business be properly structured!

But I’m not mad, I’ve just taken the time to give it more thought, ask more questions, read more research and to assess the hard quantitative evidence that led me to this conclusion…and I am not alone!

If you can believe me that there is a universality about systems and that, if a single letter in a DNA sequence is missing a person may not be born at all or be destined for a life of ill-health, perhaps you will understand that, the performance of a business system too will be determined by its internal structure. Check this out:

“the prospect of using the genome as a universal diagnostic is upon us today”

I love this quote from the presenter: “the prospect of using the genome as a universal diagnostic is upon us today

Systems that have a “flawed” structure or processes (at nano or micro level) generate risk that can have enormous consequences at macro level, upon the systems with which they are connected or can limit the number/nature of networks with which it can communicate.

As businesses focus upon macro they are ignoring valuable insights.

Too much focus upon managing risk “overlooks” endogenous, often, self-generated risks, that CAN be addressed – making the system more robust. Preferring instead to assume a greater threat from exogenous risks, over which there can be only limited influence or uncertainty – for which a fragile system is ill-prepared!

More lessons from nature: Fragile systems are not resilient.

Revisited: Nassim Taleb at Harvard


Do yourself a favour and spend 10 mins.

Whist NNT is pretty efficient at getting his message across, because he tends to talk to audiences involved with the Financial sector, an awful lot of his interviews tend to reach a limited audience.

In this short video he is addressing students involved with social sciences and telling them (as usual) how it is. NOT how they, their parents and many, many others believe it is based upon what has gone before.

Spelling out the catastrophic dangers of assuming too much based upon probability when complexity and uncertainty are the “new games in town” in this new modernity.  

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