Black Swans: Resilience and the Unthinkable.
The term Black Swan is used to refer to very low probability and high consequence events that are difficult to predict or prevent and can result in truly catastrophic outcomes. Some forms of terrorist attack, natural and man-made disaster and economic failure, for example, can be defined as Black Swan events. The 911 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York and the 2004 Asian Tsunami are often defined as Black Swan events.
Classical risk assessment and risk management approaches tend to focus our thinking and action on the most likely and severe disruptive events. We ask ourselves; what are the identifiable hazards in and around our community; what is the risk of any hazard becoming an event; what level of damage might be caused; how can we prevent or reduce the impact; what plans and actions are required; what will these strategies cost; and, what level of mitigation is affordable? This common approach to emergency management thinking draws our attention toward those events that we expect will occur at some time, and often occur regularly, such as wildfire or flood. These relatively more common and better understood events receive emergency management funding and are often the focus of community preparedness education and changes in policy and regulation.
The Black Swan concept challenges us to think about the unthinkable. To consider events that may be inconceivable or at least highly unlikely. If common risk and emergency management approaches are inadequate, how do we identify potential Black Swans? How do we build resilient communities that are able to survive through these unexpected events?
The aim of this program is to introduce you, as executives in your respective organisations, to a range of theory, principles and concepts that support resilience building. This course will enable you to better understand the relationship between Black Swans, how we think about disruptive events and concepts underpinning resilience. These principles and concepts will be applied to resilience building for the nation, its communities, its institutions and organisations.
Content will include – exemplars of Black Swan Events; understanding how disruptive events unfold; principles of resilience; thinking and thinking techniques (including critical, lateral and creative thinking); practical application of these concepts.