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📊 📖 Graphical Literacy Edition 
Welcome back to your Human Risk Newsletter filled with more lovingly-curated Behavioural Science  (BeSci) inspired content. 
New to this? Check out the Intro to Human Risk, the Newsletter Archive and then activate your subscription here.
I recently launched a survey to find out what you thought of the newsletter. As a result, I discovered that while many of you want me to include more analysis, others don't have the time to even read the existing content.

So I'm trying something new to see if I can cater to both demands. In this newsletter, I've included an explanatory video in two of the sections. Let me know what you think of them.  Please note the reading time excludes videos!

You can see the survey results and my response to your other suggestions
 here.
In this edition...
 
1. Human Risk in action courtesy of an insurance company CEO;
 
2. How BeSci Interventions are helping to reduce plastic bag usage in Chicago;

3. The Bus Ticket Theory of Genius is Something that made me think; and


4. A book that can help us better understand charts is my Something for the weekend recommendation.

Human Risk in action

An insurance company CEO illustrates how one act of bad behaviour, can result in an ethical "slippery slope".
When you're running a small company, it can be tempting to employ your spouse. That's what the CEO of the Scottish Boatowner’s Mutual Insurance Association decided to do. He began by instructing SBMI to pay 11.5% of his salary to his wife, to reflect that she did some admin for him and hosted dinner parties for staff. To formalise this, he had her sign an employment contract, but without getting the necessary approval.

Even though her workload didn’t change, he instructed the payroll team to increase her salary until she became the company's second-highest paid employee after him.

Given the size of the company, the Board noticed that employee numbers had gone up.  He explained that this would help reduce the company's tax liability.  What it was also doing was reducing his own tax liability. 
To cover his tracks, he falsified Remuneration Committee minutes and interfered in a subsequent audit investigation. He then used these faked minutes as evidence in a regulatory enquiry.  As a result, he's been banned from the industry and fined.

It's a prime illustration of the principle of the "slippery slope", which I explore in this video:
You can read the regulatory judgement here and a summary of the findings here.
It's been a busy couple of weeks on the Human Risk front, so I thought I'd also share three airline-related stories that were in contention to headline this section:
First up is the businessman arrested for using a fake pilot's uniform and ID to get special treatment when flying. If only he hadn't used the crew lane at security. 

Secondly, the Finnair Cabin Crew members sacked for fraudulently accessing onboard wifi.

Finally, the man who was banned from Aeroflot's frequent flyer programme and lost all of his 370,000 miles, after smuggling his overweight cat onto a flight.
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A BeSci Intervention

The City of Chicago's deployment of BeSci has had a significant impact on the use of plastic bags in the City.
When the City of Chicago wanted to reduce plastic bags usage, they opted for a ban. But as, is often the case when you try to change behaviour, it can result in unintended consequences.

In this case, a ban on single-use plastic bags led retailers to offer alternatives, like paper bags. These cause less damage to the environment if discarded, but consume more energy in their manufacture.
What the City then tried was permitting plastic and paper bags, but levying a 7 cent per bag levy. It's a small amount, but it reduced bag usage by 28%.  Even more interestingly, when they surveyed people to ask why they had stopped buying bags, those asked would cite environmental factors.  In other words, the small tax on bags was the actual driver for change, but people thought ecological factors, not the tax, had convinced them. 

The BeSci lessons here are first, that you can use tiny levers to effect significant change and secondly, that we don't always know, or want to admit, why we take certain decisions. 

For more on the story, I recommend this article.
More recent subscribers might also like to take a look at this item from an earlier newsletter, that highlighted how one retailer adopted BeSci to try to reduce bag usage in their store.
 
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Something that made me think

The Bus Ticket Theory of Genius challenges our preconceived notion of what makes people do great work.
Last week I came across a rather understated blog post entitled "The Bus Ticket Theory of Genius".
I'll let the author, Paul Graham, explain what the link between bus tickets and being a genius is:

There are people who collect old bus tickets. Like many collectors, they have an obsessive interest in the minutiae of what they collect. They can keep track of distinctions between different types of bus tickets that would be hard for the rest of us to remember. Because we don't care enough. What's the point of spending so much time thinking about old bus tickets?

Which leads us to the second feature of this kind of obsession: there is no point. A bus ticket collector's love is disinterested. They're not doing it to impress us or to make themselves rich, but for its own sake.
He goes on to explain that this type of passion leads to discoveries that only people with real commitment for something will discover.  Citing examples including Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin, this is an entertaining yet thought-provoking piece. I highly recommend it. 

If nothing else, you can use it as an excuse for pursuing hobbies that are of no interest to others.
I can't leave a bus-related topic without sending you to a website run by the  BVG, Berlin's public transport authority. 

Under the slogan "Weil wir Dich lieben" (Because we love you), they produce highly engaging, edgy content that you wouldn't expect from a transport operator.

Including music videos and NSFW tweets like this 👉
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Something for the weekend

A new book that will improve your graphical literacy is my SFTW recommendation.
In a world where we're bombarded with facts and figures, there's more need than ever before to be smarter about how we interpret what we're told.
This makes a new book called How Charts Lie - Getting Smarter about Visual Information exceptionally timely. 

Written by Alberto Cairo, it will help improve your graphical literacy.


You can read the first 20 pages of the book here

There's also a TED-style talk he's done here; be warned the first 12 mins of audio is poor until he switches mics.
For more on why I really like the book, watch this video:
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Incase you missed it...

Last week, I released episode four of the Human Risk podcast.

It features Ricardo Pellafone, the founder of The Broadcat, a Compliance Design company. 
If you've ever had to sit through dull Compliance training or navigate your way through impenetrably complex Compliance processes, then you'll appreciate the problem Broadcat are there to solve. 

You'll also definitely enjoy this video featuring Ricardo showcasing some fake Compliance training that would be worthy of inclusion in The Office.
As Ricardo doesn't (yet) have his own TV show, you'll have to make do with his appearance on my podcast:

That's it for another newsletter. Do let me know whether you like the idea of including explanatory videos.

As it's Thanksgiving in the US, let me take this opportunity to take each and every one of you for subscribing!

Christian

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The newsletter is brought to you by Human Risk, my Training & Consulting Firm that specialises in the deployment of BeSci in the fields of Risk, Compliance, Conduct and Culture
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