Mobile version
spiked plus
About spiked
What is spiked?
Support spiked
spiked shop
Contact us
Summer school
Top issues
Arab uprisings
British politics
Child abuse panic
For Europe, Against the EU
Free speech
Jimmy Savile scandal
Parents and kids
View all issues...
special feature
The Counter-Leveson Inquiry
other sections
 Review of Books
 Monthly archive
selected authors
Duleep Allirajah
Daniel Ben-Ami
Tim Black
Jennie Bristow
Sean Collins
Dr Michael Fitzpatrick
Frank Furedi
Helene Guldberg
Patrick Hayes
Mick Hume
Rob Lyons
Brendan O’Neill
Nathalie Rothschild
James Woudhuysen
more authors...
RSS feed
a-b c-d e-h i-l m-n o-r s-u v-z index
Henrik Kiertzner
head of corporate resilience at Arup

The key challenges for the 21st century, in my own field, centre on the concept of acceptable risk. The trend at the moment is for society, commerce and government to become increasingly risk-averse. The intent is noble, but the likely effect is unfortunate as this tendency also stifles creativity, entrepreneurism and originality and encourages process-driven over lively and intuitive thinking. This extends into the political sphere with increased competition for the middle ground and the consensual elimination of large issues as ‘fit for discussion’, either because they offend some sensibilities or because they, just possibly, might.

Some people even take offence on behalf of others’ sensibilities, on the basis that they ought to have been offended. If an incident occurs, someone is guilty and someone must be punished. The balance has swung too far. Some risk is unavoidable, some risks are good to take. Achievements which come too easily are no achievements at all - risk aversion prevents us from exploring our limits and finding out who we are. We should look to celebrate the taking of informed risks, to reward those who fail gloriously and to accept that accidents do occur and that, sometimes, things just happen and there is little we can do about them.

Survey home
What we found
Survey responses
RSS feed
Anjana Ahuja
Michael Baum
Peter Cochrane
Richard Feachem
Frank Furedi
Michio Kaku
Ken MacLeod
Jonathan Meades
Munira Mirza
Matthew Parris
Ingo Potrykus
Roger Scruton
Ben Shneiderman
Lionel Shriver
Raymond Tallis
Peter Whittle
Josie Appleton
David Baulcombe
Claire Fox
William Higham
Paul Lauterbur
William Graeme Laver
Ken MacLeod
Fiona McEwen
Victor Stenger