The Human Risk Podcast

The Human Risk Podcast

People are often described as the largest asset in most organisations. They are also the biggest single cause of risk. This podcast explores the topic of 'human risk', or "the risk of people doing things they shouldn't or not doing things they should", and examines how behavioural science can help us mitigate it. It also looks at 'human reward', or "how to get the most out of people". When we manage human risk, we often stifle human reward. Equally, when we unleash human reward, we often inadvertently increase human risk.


December 4, 2023 64 mins
Why do we sometimes make bad decisions in relation to money and what can we do about it?
My guest, Vishal George, is a Behavioural Scientist who has recently published a book called ‘Money Mindsets: Science-Based Stories to Rewire your Money Beliefs, Goals, & Habits’.

In it, he explores that he way we behave when it comes to money, comes from beliefs about it, that we’ve adopted from our families, socio-cultural environment, an...
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What do you think of when you hear the word 'error'? It's highly likely you'll think of it negatively as a defect. The obvious way to manage defects, particularly in safety-critical industries, is to have detailed procedures, strict compliance, and zero tolerance for errors. But we know that this doesn't always work. After all, if it did, we'd have far fewer errors.

My guest on this episode takes a different approach. He specializes...
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November 20, 2023 67 mins
What are museums, and what purpose do they serve? As a regular museum-goer — both when I’m travelling and also at home when I need distraction or creative inspiration — I’m always intrigued, both by what they show and how they show it.

If you’ve been following my Compliance In The Wild series on LinkedIn (example post here)
you’ll know that museums regularly feature as they often contain fabulous examples of Human Risk and the meth...
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November 12, 2023 72 mins
What is it like to grow up in a country that no longer exists?

That's the challenge faced by my guest Katja Hoyer. She grew up in the GDR, the German Democratic Republic. Or as most of us think of it, East Germany.

While most histories of the country focus on the political decision-making or things that are most extraordinary — for example, the Stasi, the East German secret police or dramatic escapes over the Berlin Wall — Katja wan...
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October 31, 2023 69 mins
What is the Monday Revolution, and why do we need it?

On this episode, I'm speaking to someone who used to run a company that grabbed a lot of my attention during my teenage and younger years. That company was Capital Radio — at the time, London's largest radio station — and that person is David Mansfield.

After being CEO of Capital and its successor company, GCap Media, he went on to advise a number of other successful companies, in...
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How can lying earn you millions? If you’re an actor and good at impersonating people, then the answer is that you become a corporate spy.

That’s the unexpected career path followed by my guest Robert Kerbeck, whose memoir ‘Ruse: Lying the American Dream from Hollywood to Wall Street!’ tells the story of how it happened. And on this episode, he joins me to talk about some of the behavioural dynamics behind his fascinating life.

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October 13, 2023 75 mins
Why can senior leaders — usually in post as a result of experience and expertise — often make mistakes? The answer might seem counterintuitive; it’s precisely because of their experience and expertise that this can happen. How that happens and what we can do to mitigate it, the subject of this epsiode.

My guest is Dr Constance Dierickx, who is also known as the Decision Doctor. She’s also the authr of a new book called ‘Meta Leader...
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October 7, 2023 64 mins
Why is some software a real pain to use? How does it happen, and what can we do to make it not happen?

On this episode, I’m speaking with Sebastian Lees, an experienced software developer with a keen interest in making things more human-centric. We often think of computers as making our lives easier and reducing human risk. Yet, poor design and a lack of thinking about the humans that will use it can actually increase rather than d...
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What is trickle-down safety? On this episode, I’m finding out with two safety specialists who help me to explroe what it means and why it’s relevant to other fields. By safety, I mean the kind that saves people’s lives on building sites,not the cyber kind.

My guests are James MacPherson and Elisa Lynch.

James is a safety professional who works across multiple industries, including manufacturing and construction. He operates his own c...
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What we can learn about customer service and being more human from the fire service?

On this episode, I’m speaking with David Wales, who used to work in the fire and rescue service and has now switched to focus on product design and customer service.

In his role in the fire and rescue service, David wanted to understand why people didn’t always do the things that they were told. For example, rushing into dangerous situations to rescu...
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September 13, 2023 71 mins
How can we be better at explaining things? On the 250th episode of the podcast, I’m joined by a very special guest who has made explaining an art form and has just published a book called ‘The Art of Explanation’.

That guest is Ros Atkins. He’s a BBC News presenter and the BBC’s Analysis Editor. Ros is best known for his explainer videos, which, since 2019, have become a global phenomenon with vast audiences on social media and on t...
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September 10, 2023 73 mins
What is livescribing? On this episode, I speak to an artist with a unique creative talent. Hannah Williams is the founder of Scribble Inc. and her talent is that she can summarise presentations and discussions in beautiful pieces of art that fuse words and images. You'll find links to examples below.

I met Hannah at a conference called Speak to the Human, an annual event, organised by Acteon Communication. You can read more about it...
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September 7, 2023 58 mins
Why are we so reliant on models, how can they lead us astray, and what can we do about it?

On this episode, I’m exploring models. Of the mathematical kind, not the fashion or toy kind. Models interest me because so much of our world is run by them. Many of the things we take for granted in the 21st century have models either running or helping to run them.

When they work well, they enable things to happen that wouldn’t otherwise. Bu...
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What can music teach us about human behaviour? What impact is remote and hybrid working having on employee conduct? How might we misjudge the risks posed by AI?

If these seem like a broad range of topics that have little in common, then you’re right and wrong. You’re right that they’re broad, but you’re wrong that they have little in common. My guest, Dr. Roger Miles, is a friend of the show — he’s been on it before (links to those ...
August 30, 2023 64 mins
How well do we really know those who are closest to us? That’s the question that is behind ‘The Wolf Hunt’, a new novel by Israeli author Ayelet Gundar-Goshen. She's my guest on this very special episode.

In a first for the show, I’m interviewing the author of a piece of fiction. Ayelet isn’t just a writer. She’s also a clinical psychologist, which informs both her content and the way in which she writes her narratives.

The Wolf Hunt...
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Why are major projects so often delayed and over budget? On this episode, I'm speaking to Bent Flyvbjerg, the author of 'How Big Things Get Done'.

Bent s a Danish economic geographer. He was the First BT Professor and Inaugural Chair of Major Programme Management at Oxford University's Saïd Business School and is the Villum Kann Rasmussen Professor and Chair of Major Program Management at the IT University of Copenhagen

On the show, ...
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Why drives people to commit fraud? What turns people into whistleblowers? How does fraud impact victims? On this episode, I'm exploring the scams, stories and secrets behind fraud.

My guest is Dr. Kelly Richmond Pope. She's the Dr. Barry Jay Epstein Endowed Professor of Forensic Accounting at DePaul University in Chicago and a nationally recognized expert in risk, forensic accounting, and white-collar crime research.

Her expertise li...
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August 11, 2023 55 mins
How can we design incentive programmes that deliver the right outcomes and avoid the wrong ones? We're all familiar with teh idea of rewards to encourage good behaviour and punishment to deter bad behaviour. Incentive programmes are common because they're effective. But they often come with unintended consequences.

On this episode, I'm speaking to a former colleague of mine, Bruce Rigal. He began his career in Investment Banking — w...
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August 5, 2023 66 mins
How can we be more in the moment in meetings, conversations and presentations? On this episode, I'm speaking to communications expert and comedian Neil Mullarkey.

In his new book 'In The Moment', Neil explores how we can use the ideas that underpin improv comedy to improve our confidence, communication and creativity.

In our discussion, we explore:

  • how Neil came to work in Improv Comedy, how Mike Myers inspired his career and w...
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What happens when you put three Behavioural Science gurus in a world-famous music studio? On this episode, we find out as my guests are Paul Craven, Rory Sutherland and Gerald Ashley, who join me for part three of a three-part series recorded at the world-famous Abbey Road Studios.

Before listening to it, I highly recommend listening to Parts One and Two, which you’ll find here.

Part One 🎧 👉
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