🎅🎄 Festive Edition 
Welcome to the final Human Risk Newsletter of the year, filled with more lovingly-curated Behavioural Science  (BeSci) inspired content. As it's the holiday season for most of you, I'm giving you lots of things I hope will help fill time over the festive period. 

Human Risk in action

Three tales of Human Risk. One serious, involving a flight attendant showing presence of mind, another that will resonate with anyone who has ever bought furniture that's too big and the third for fans of dumb criminals. 
First up is the story of how a flight attendant averted "potential disaster" after spotting ice on an aircraft's wings moments before take-off.

If you've ever flown in wintry conditions, you'll probably have experienced the need for de-icing which is where the plane's wings are treated with a form of anti-freeze. This is necessary because a build-up of snow or ice on the wings can impact the aerodynamics of the plane, with potentially serious consequences. More on the reasons why that is necessary here
In a recent incident, a plane was about to take-off without having been de-iced and an eagle-eyed attendant spotted a "substantial build-up of snow" on the wing. Although it is not their responsibility, they reported it to the pilot, thus preventing a potentially dangerous takeoff.

What this serves to highlight is that encouraging a "speak up" culture, as the airline industry does, is a very powerful tool for risk management. Though let's not forget Boeing. Obviously, it also requires those who are being spoken to, to "listen up" and take action. Fortunately, in this case, they did. 

But there are many other examples of where issues were identified, but either not reported or not acted upon. It isn't just mechanical issues that benefit from this approach; as the risks facing organisations in the 21st century are increasing and emerging more rapidly, having staff that are empowered to act as early warning systems, becomes ever more critical.

If that's something your organisation needs help with in 2020, you know where to find me!

You can read more about the story in this article.
Secondly, spare a thought for the procurement department of the Oireachtas (Irish government) who were responsible for ordering this printing press:
As you can see it's rather big. Unfortunately, no-one thought to check the dimensions and it turned out to be too large for the building that was going to house it. As it was too late to cancel, they've had to do rather expensive structural works on the building to accommodate it. And you thought toner cartridges were expensive...

More on this festive procurement failure in this article and this one.
Finally, providing yet another illustration of the Dunning Kruger Effect (DKE) in action is an alleged US bank robber. 

If you're not aware of DKE, then do listen to this excerpt from my recent podcast discussion with Dr Roger Miles where he nicely explains it. For some reason, DKE lends itself to bank robbery stories! [You'll find Roger's explanation 31min 38secs into this episode if the link above doesn't work on your device].

The story involves a gentleman called Arlando Henderson (that's him in the photo below) who worked at a branch of Wells Fargo in North Carolina. Henderson had access to the vaults and is accused of stealing nearly $90,000 from customer accounts over a 9 month period. 
What qualifies him for this newsletter isn't the alleged theft. Instead, it's the fact that in a DKE-worthy move, he posted about his newfound wealth on his social media feed with DKE-infused captions like:

I make it look easy but this shyt really a PROCESS

This CNN video has the full story, while this article also includes one of Henderson's rap videos. Because of course, a man who steals from bank vaults and posts about them on social media, is bound to want to make rap music.

Potentially something for him to explore if, as seems likely, his penchant for publicity, gives him plenty of leisure time to think about what he's done.

Some things to watch

A year-end Burger King advertisement reminds us of a critical BeSci principle.
Just released is this advertisement for Burger King that pokes fun at rival McDonalds, by revealing that every photo of a BK burger they shot in 2019, also contains a McDonalds one.  You'll see why, when you watch it:
I'm not sure how many extra burgers they'll sell as a result, but it is entertaining.

It also serves as a neat reminder of WYSIATI (What You See Is All There Is) which is the idea that we tend to make decisions based on the information we have, rather than to ask what other information we might not have.

Obviously, it wouldn't occur to us to wonder whether there might be a second burger hidden behind the first, which is why BK has to reveal it to us. The reveal surprises (and delights us) precisely because we're not expecting it. 

As it is the Season of Goodwill, I'll close this section by sharing a lovely story of when the two chains worked together for a good cause in Argentina, that saw Burger King employees telling their customers to go to McDonald's.

Some things to watch

Two Human Risk videos: one inspired by the festive season, looks at the risk profile of a famous logistics business. The other explores how Amsterdam airport manages the logistics of moving people using BeSci interventions.
A couple of years ago, I wrote a Human Risk blog on the risk profile of Christmas Inc.

This year I thought, "there is nothing like a professionally produced video to tell a story".

And indeed what I have ended up with, is nothing like a professionally produced video. But like all badly wrapped presents, it's the content that matters...
Then the lovely people at Broadcat, the Compliance Design Company I've featured before, were kind enough to ask me to record a video for them. 

Clearly, the season of goodwill has impaired their judgement, and they've lowered their usually very high standards. Hence you get to watch this:
What the video doesn't show is the most famous BeSci intervention at Schiphol airport. Find out what it is and why I didn't dare film it, here.
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Some things to listen to

Two new episodes of the Human Risk podcast and two BBC podcasts should give you more than enough holiday listening.
Since the last newsletter, I've released two more episodes of the Human Risk podcast. You'll find them wherever you get your podcasts or using the links below.

Episode Seven features Ruth Steinholtz talking about Ethics and Ethical Business Practice and Regulation. You might think a topic like that would be somewhat dry. You'd be wrong!
Then on Episode Eight, I reunite with Tom Hardin for another discussion on topical Human Risk issues.  We begin with Tom making a shocking confession...
Finally, here are two recent BBC podcast series based on real-life stories with substantial Human Risk components.

The Missing Cryptoqueen is the story of Dr Ruja Ignatova, who persuaded millions to join her financial revolution. Then she disappeared. This podcast explores why. It's a fascinating story of greed, deceit and groupthink-inspired madness.
Secondly, Tunnel 29 is the story of an escape from East to West Berlin that contains some incredible plot twists and astonishing human decision-making.
Both podcasts are available via the BBC website and wherever you get your quality audio content.
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Thanks as ever for reading. To subscribe use the links at the bottom.
Wherever you're spending the Holiday Period and whoever you're spending it with, I wish you a wonderful and Human Risk-free time. 

Regular newsletter service will resume in 2020!


This 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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