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Robustness

October 25, 2012 by
Filed under: Governance, Risk and Compliance, Risk Management

This morning the fog caused a small but manageable delay. My schedule was robust enough to allow the delay. Of course this means getting up at 4:30am, waiting at the airport (in order to allow for some traffic jams, which did not happen this time), then waiting for the slot to start travel, causing the delay. I had good meetings in Germany and am now on my way back home. There was a small technical issue that caused my plane to be swapped, and now we're waiting in the new plane. However, the arrival airport has challenges (I guess the same fog again), and we need to wait for take-off. This gives me time to write this, which is clearly the only very small positive thing I can think of.
Now, the schedule begins to interfere seriously with my personal time. Luckily, no interference with other meetings; the schedule is still robust enough. Robustness, as eloquently described by Nassim Taleb is a great concept in risk management. Systems should be designed in such a way that they are inherently safe. For my flights it means I needed to schedule a whole day for a three hour meeting. The rest of the day is filled with calls and emails (and a lot of waiting in the meantime).

I am sure this is not what is meant with well-designed robustness. Businesspeople are far too goal-driven in their affairs to accept such safety nets in their normal course of business. Are they? The whole plane seems to be full with businessmen in the same position as I am. Why accept it for plane rides, and not adopt it in business risk management. Did I feel the plane start moving? Seems we are on our way.

Tags: Risk, Risk Management

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