Risk Leadership: The use of knowledge as facts in risk assessment

My friend Dr. Emily Verstege, via her LinkedIn post Gone walkabout: Pedestrian data is lost data, brought an article by Reid Hoffman to my attention about Artificial Intelligence and how it is on the cusp of “humanising management” by “setting information free”.

It got me thinking about something I have been ranting about since I ran scores of risk workshops for Australian Government agencies in the early 2000’s. The transfer of what is best described as “knowledge” into a risk assessment and it being accepted as “fact” when a consequence and likelihood was put to it.

While many in those risk workshops would argue they did not consider the knowledge as facts, that is the way they were treated.  We have a such and such risk level and so we should …

I opined openly at the time that organisations, in particular the Australian Government given all the means at its disposal, must invest in data capture, management and interrogation so as to better inform the transformation of knowledge into fact.

Wind on 15 years and we still have a plethora of “expert-based” risk ratings.  That is the experts sitting around the table with all of their personal baggage (also known as psychological biases) determining if a risk is high, low or indifferent.  It is no wonder we still have such low scores when it comes to assessments of decisions in hindsight.

My question to this tribe is “Have you or your organisation done much to counter the urge to accept knowledge as fact?” Better still, are you going down the Artificial Intelligence route or aware of organisations that are when it comes to risk assessment?