A Conference with a Difference

A Conference with a Difference

clip_image016The Inaugural Psychology of Risk Conference was held in Sydney on 25,26 March 2015 and was a great success. People from New Zealand, Hong Kong and Australia came together at ACU in North Sydney to hear how the social psychology of risk can be applied at work. The diverse field of presenters included practitioners from: Telstra, Raytheon, Lend Lease, QSL, Jemena, Framework, Rio Tinto, SummitCARE, Theiss, Omya Australia, General Mills, Nestle and Electranet.

Keynote Speakers

clip_image002The conference was based around 5 keynote addresses and 20 seminar presentations. The conference was launched by David Fitzgerald GM HSE Risk & Improvement Telstra on ‘Understanding Risk’. This was followed by Dr Robert Long on ‘Trends in Australia and Humanisation in Risk’. The evening dinner keynote was Graham Long CEO of the Wayside Chapel Kings Cross speaking on ‘Risk and Fagility’. The breakfast keynote was presented by Matthew Gill (ex GM Beaconsfield) on ‘What would you do if this happened to you?’. The final keynote was Rob Long and Craig Ashhurst presenting the MiProfile tool and their book ‘Following-Leading in Risk’.

If you want to learn more about the keynote presenters you can download an overview here http://www.humandymensions.com/images/2014/Psychology%20in%20Risk%20Conference.pdf


David Fitzgerald on The Adventures and Challenges of Risk

The Presenters

As there is no other accredited program in Australia (or across the world) in the social psychology of risk, all the presenters were selected from those who had graduated with a Graduate Certificate in the Psychology of Risk in 2014. These graduates are not just ‘students’ but rather professionals, and the first cohort of experts in the social psychology of risk in Australia. The cohort of presenters included:

· Many with more than 40 years experience in mining, management, risk and safety

· A leading expert in Gestalt learning in Australia with more than 40 years experience in mining, ports and logistics

· Practitioners with more than 30 years experience in Building and Construction and management.

· Practitioners with more than 20 years experience in explosives, manufacturing, logistics, health care, community, government, security, agriculture, telecommunications, gas and electricity distribution, workers compensation and human services.

All 20 presenters shared their learnings in the social psychology of risk and its application to the workplace.

In a few weeks all presentations and videos will be made available to participants by the University.

Three Conference Highlights

Conversation Corner

clip_image012The ‘Conversation Corner’ was led by Gabrielle Carlton, Rob Sams and James Ellis. The Conversation Corner brought together the unique blend of semiotics, listening, learning, life and conversation to an understanding of tackling risk at work.

The foundation methodology for the Conversation Corner is known as ‘World Café’ but the Conversation Corner model is much more than this, infused with understandings and adaptations from the social psychology of risk. What Gab, Rob and James have done is create something entirely new. Conversation Corner is a tool and unique methodology to draw out and share, listen and facilitate, map and ‘prime’, reflection and maturity in responding to risk. The use of graphic design, social psychology, dialogue, language, semiotics and listening to create the Conversation Corner offers businesses and organisations a new way to explore critical thinking and strategy in risk.

If you want to know more or engage Rob, Gab or James to run this in your organization please email robert@dolphyn.com.au or gabrielle@resilyence.com, or James.Ellis@frameworkgroup.com.au

Casino Royale Experiential Learning Activity

The Casino Royale experiential learning activity developed by Dr Long involved 40 participants in interactive learning. The group were divided into teams and enacted the dynamics of risk through game theory. The nature of the activity triggers high emotion, frustration, dissonance and competition with the result that people ‘feel’ the things being learned. The 3 hours devoted to the activity flashed by so quickly and the debrief following, enables much learning to be drawn out of participants.

Before the activity starts each team are required to select a team name, motto and symbol to create an identity. It is amazing how this has nominative deterministic effect (Drunk, Tank, Pink by Adam Alter). Throughout the game the nature of priming, framing and anchoring are embedded in the activity with much learning by doing. Interestingly, the team that won the most money was called ‘Cha-Ching’ (with a dollar sign symbol) and the team that won overall were called The Winners’.

You can see an overview of experiential learning here https://vimeo.com/118213160

If you would like to have an experiential learning activity in your organization please email admin@humandymensions.com

MiProfile Interactive Diagnostic

On the second day everyone experienced the power of the MiProfile diagnostic. You can learn more about MiProfile here: https://vimeo.com/24764673

It was great to see everyone with keypads in had learning about implicit learning and engaging in the importance of rapid interface technology. The group learnt very quickly about the importance of gut knowledge and how indecision was essential for leadership, doubt, chronic unease and entertaining doubt.

A Selection of Photos from Presenters

(apologies to those who missed out too many pics)


Mark Gardiner presents on the Social psychology of Event Investigation


A special moment of the conference when Max surprises Rob and presents a thank you, first edition of The Psychology of Organizing with message inside by Prof. Karl E. Weick. Message from Karl inside reads: ‘To Rob, with great admiration for the skill and passion you demonstrate when you pull together the fragments of the world into sensible shape. That aspiration and achievement is not for the faint of heart. I am personally honored by the care and depth with which you have waded through my writing, I share with your students a deep appreciation of your efforts.


Rod Esdaile Presenting on Changing Organisations


Scott McArthur on Culture Change


Hayden Collins (with Brad) on Communicating to the Unconscious


David Holland Tells his Story


Dave Whitefield on Antifragility


The view wasn’t that bad either


Gab on Resilience


Gaynor on Cognitive Dissonance


Hamish on Semiotics

Conclusion and Mailing List for 2016

The conference received outstanding feedback with many appreciating the diversity of presentations, the practicality of presenters and their application of the principles of social psychology of risk to real workplaces.

If you wish to go on the mailing list for next year’s event please contact Brad.Markham@acu.edu.au at the University.

Dr Rob Long

Dr Rob Long

Expert in Social Psychology, Principal & Trainer at Human Dymensions
Dr Rob Long

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Dr Rob Long
PhD., MEd., MOH., BEd., BTh., Dip T., Dip Min., Cert IV TAA, MRMIA Rob is the founder of Human Dymensions and has extensive experience, qualifications and expertise across a range of sectors including government, education, corporate, industry and community sectors over 30 years. Rob has worked at all levels of the education and training sector including serving on various post graduate executive, post graduate supervision, post graduate course design and implementation programs.

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