So I was thinking about learning and risk the other day…

So I was thinking about learning and risk the other day…

It may be that the traditional language of risk elimination leads to a discourse that eliminates learning…

learning and riskFor me learning and risk are inextricably intertwined. I can’t learn a new skill without also risking making a mistake? I can’t learn a new concept without also putting my current beliefs at risk? I don’t think you can have one without the other. Many times I have heard Dr Rob Long say, there is no learning without risk.

So if learning is interdependent with risk, what would your company safety policies and procedures (and the legislation for that matter) look like if you replaced the word “risk” with “learning”. I think how a business talks about risk is a window into how it treats learning.

When I hear complaints from people about how they have workers who can’t seem to think for themselves, I suspect it’s more likely to be a symptom of the way the organisation treats risk. When your goal is to eliminate risk (learning), and where that’s not possible to reduce risk (learning) to as low as reasonably practicable, well, you get what you ask for.

It may be that the traditional language of risk elimination leads to a discourse that eliminates learning…

Dave Whitefield
After 20 years in safety and training, I now focus primarily on the human side of safety. I help clients tackle their wicked problems through seeking to understand how people organise in response to uncertainty, and how they make sense of risk. I do this through consulting, coaching, training and workshop design and delivery, MC'ing events and conferences, and delivery of keynote presentations.

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