Risk Doctor Briefing: The Future of the Risk Universe


Dr David Hillson FIRM, HonFAPM, PMI Fellow


Where is the physical universe heading? While there is no doubt that the universe is currently expanding, scientists disagree about what might happen next. Will our universe continue to expand indefinitely, or will it reach a maximum and then collapse, or will it cycle between expansion and collapse?

The universe of risk management has the same three possibilities:

  • Expanding universe. It seems likely that the scope and influence of risk management will expand as more areas of application are found for risk-based approaches. But how far can it go? Risk management might include increasingly more elements of personal, business and social life until “Everything is just risk management”. We could end up living in a risk-based world where all decisions are taken in the light of relevant uncertainty. While this might sound attractive to risk specialists, it is rather extreme. Risk is not the whole picture, and concentrating only on managing risk would be unwise.
  • Collapsing universe. After initial expansion in the scope of risk management, we might reach a critical point when further growth is unsustainable, and interest in managing risk might collapse and disappear. This might happen quickly as people and organisations give up on risk management and lose interest, or it might just fade away. Alternatively risk management might disappear as a result of its own success. If risk management is absorbed into the nature of business, it could become invisible. If everyone naturally “thinks risk” as a normal part of daily life, then we might not need a separate discipline called risk management, since it would be accepted and practised by all.


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About the Author

Dr. David Hillsonflag-ukDr. David Hillson


Dr David Hillson CMgr FRSA FIRM FCMI HonFAPM PMI-Fellow is The Risk Doctor (www.risk-doctor.com).  As an international risk consultant, David is recognised as a leading thinker and expert practitioner in risk management. He consults, writes and speaks widely on the topic and he has made several innovative contributions to the field. David’s motto is “Understand profoundly so you can explain simply”, ensuring that his work represents both sound thinking and practical application.

David Hillson has over 25 years’ experience in risk consulting and he has worked in more than 40 countries, providing support to clients in every major industry sector, including construction, mining, telecommunications, pharmaceutical, financial services, transport, fast-moving consumer goods, energy, IT, defence and government. David’s input includes strategic direction to organisations facing major risk challenges, as well as tactical advice on achieving value and competitive advantage from effectively managing risk.

David’s contributions to the risk discipline over many years have been recognised by a range of awards, including “Risk Personality of the Year” in 2010-11. He received both the PMI Fellow award and the PMI Distinguished Contribution Award from the Project Management Institute (PMI®) for his work in developing risk management. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the UK Association for Project Management (APM), where he has actively led risk developments for nearly 20 years.  David Hillson is an active Fellow of the Institute of Risk Management (IRM), and he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) to contribute to its Risk Commission. He is also a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and a Member of the Institute of Directors (IOD).

Dr Hillson can be contacted at [email protected].