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White Paper: Rhinos and risk assessments: Adjusting risk assessment methodologies to account for ‘unforeseeable’ events


It is wrong to describe the COVID-19 pandemic as a ‘black swan’ (i.e. a catastrophic event that no one saw coming). Far more apt would be to call it a ‘grey rhino’ — something that as
long been predicted but overlooked by leadership the world over. This paper argues that it is time to stop relying on outdated risk formulas and adjust risk assessment methodologies to  account for these grey rhinos. Simply put, it is time to accept that the potential impact of an event is more important than its likelihood.

This article first appeared in the Journal of Business Continuity & Emergency Planning.

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