Sharing ideas on Risk, Human Performance, Teams and Leaders

How was Risky Business Born? Part I

About UsView / Book London 2019
Published: Mon 01 Apr 2019
As we approach Risky Business 2019, Guy (friend, colleague, former pilot & cofounder) and I were sitting at Tutti’s coffee shop and reminiscing about how it all started on the back of an envelope in Tutti’s around 15 years ago.

As we approach Risky Business 2019, Guy (friend, colleague, former pilot & cofounder) and I were sitting at Tutti’s coffee shop and reminiscing about how it all started on the back of an envelope in Tutti’s around 15 years ago.

Guy had been helping our cardiac team at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) at the time, learn about the importance of human factors and crew resource management in healthcare, from his experience as a training captain at British Airways. This predated the current trend in translating lessons from aviation to healthcare. We had also been working with and learning from the Ferrari and McLaren F1 teams on how they co-ordinated a F1 pit stop and Heathrow air traffic control on how they hand over the tower. We were transferring some of these lessons from these expert industries into how we hand off or handover patients from one medical team to another.

Cross Industry Learning

We soon realised we had only scratched the surface of the potential for cross industry learning on managing risk and the non-technical skills of human factors, teamwork and leadership.

Healthcare Patient Safety Conference

And so, Guy, Trevor, Tony and I decided to plan a healthcare patient safety conference with a difference in which we would look outside healthcare for lessons we could learn from other high-risk industries, business, sport, exploration, military and of course healthcare.  Our first conference was then held at The Royal College of Surgeons in 2006.

Goals of Risky Business – Sharing Learning Across High Risk Industries

Guy and I were discussing how far we had come since that first conference in 2006 when we had around 5 outside speakers including a NASA astronaut, an oil man, a survivor from the “Alive” plane crash and the Chief Medical Officer in F1 who had transformed the safety of F1 from a time in the 1970’s when several drivers tragically died to a time when F1 went 20 years without a fatality. We have similarly had dramatic reductions in mortality in infants with congenital heart disease from at least around 30% in the 1970’s to less than 10% now with a multitude of improvements and safety mechanisms.

Fast forward to 2019

 I was saying to Guy that I couldn’t believe we now have a three day Risky Business conference in London with nearly 50 speakers on a vast array of topics.

  • The fundamental philosophy of our Risky Business Conference has best been summed up by one of international speakers, Dr Steve Meuthing from Cincinnati, who said it is immoral not to share learnings on safety in healthcare.
  • Our goal is to improve safety and outcomes in healthcare and across other high-risk industries
  • We do this through sharing experiences & ideas between those who operate in risky environments such as business, emergency services, exploration, sport & healthcare.
  • Learning how to manage risk, harness innovation, improve teamwork and leadership are vital ingredients in achieving these goals.

Individual Stories from Speakers

Guy also reflected that it was interesting how individual stories from speakers seemed to have the greatest impact on learning rather than pure statistics and strategy. That exchange made me realise that the development of Risky Business was an interesting story in itself: How we have grown, how we have developed and how we planned this year’s event. An event  which we hope will be our best ever as the audience now rightly have very high expectations.

Author: Allan Goldman