Thoughts: What can I say about “Risk”?

In my course Environmental Toxicants, we discuss risk:

(1) Risk Compared to Uncertainty. There is high risk with high uncertainty. Therefore, to go towards less risk, we need to have less uncertainty (ie, more information). When we are being innovative, there will usually be some significant amount of risk because we cannot instantaneously gather all the information needed to make it work. We don’t know whether enough users will adopt it (as an example).

(2) Risk Compared to Failure. We sometimes worry about the risk of failure. This requires risk management to navigate out of the direction of failure. We can anticipate the riskiest factors and try to minimize their influence on failure.

(3) Perceived Risk. Different stakeholders might have different perceptions of risk. For example, different customers might perceive that adoption of a product of technology presents a risk to their business. They estimate the risk based on how they believe the change would affect their business. In the YCISL context, a school administrator might base his/her judgment of allowing the students’ product from being placed in school on perceived risk.

(4) Acceptable Risk. Almost all the time, change involves some level of risk but in search of a solution, some level of risk becomes deemed acceptable. When a company releases a new product, there is always a risk of a field failure or market rejection (for example). For the YCISL, we must show that leadership involves taking on risk (in a managed approach) and learning from failures as well as the successes.

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