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Nov 20, 2023

Welcome to RIMScast. Your host is Justin Smulison, Business Content Manager at RIMS, the Risk and Insurance Management Society.


The term Wicked Problems was originally coined in an academic paper authored by design theorists Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber over 50 years ago. While there are many attributes that define a Wicked problem, generally they are based on problems that are fast evolving with no clear solution or where the solution generates further problems and a level of residual risk that is potentially worse than the initial issue itself. Fast forward to today, Risk Managers and Leaders try and grapple with the reality of a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous, and Digital (VUCAD) world that challenges us with more and more Wicked Problems. In this session, we will explore how Risk Managers and Leaders can better cope with and wrangle wicked problems to create successful outcomes.


Key Takeaways:

[:01] About RIMScast.

[:14] RISKWORLD 2024 will be held in sunny San Diego, California, May 5th through May 8th. Booth and sponsorship sales are open. Member registration opens November 2023. Public registration opens December 2023. Visit for more information.

[:33] About today’s episode, a discussion of wicked problems with Dr. Gav Schneider.

[:55] The RIMS CRMP is the only competency-based risk management credential that matters because earning the certification shows employers and recruiters that you have the skills necessary to manage risk and create value for your organization.
[1:15] Several Exam Prep virtual workshops are coming up, starting with December 13th and 14th with former RIMS president, Chris Mandel. On January 13th, 20th, and 27th, 2024, the RIMS CRMP Exam Virtual Workshop will be presented in conjunction with Conrad Clark Nigeria.

[1:38] The RIMS CRMP-FED Exam Prep Virtual Workshop will be held January 30th and February 1st. That’s a two-day course. Visit the certification page on for more information. A link is on this episode’s show notes.

[1:56] RIMS is one of the educational development partners with AFERM, the Association for Federal Enterprise Ris Management. Two AFERM leaders joined RIMScast last week for a brief interview during the ERM Conference. This is a last call about AFERM’s upcoming SUMMIT.

[2:17] Join fellow ERM practitioners at the 2023 AFERM Summit Training. The theme is “Collaborate and Celebrate: Weaving ERM into the Fabric of Government.” The ERM SUMMIT will take place in Washington, D.C. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and virtually on November 28th and 29th. Links are in the show notes.

[2:41] A Shout out the the RIMS New Zealand and Pacific Island Chapter and Marsh Australia and New Zealand, who welcome you to Embrace The Unknown: Unleashing the Power of Risk on February 12, 2024 at the Pullman Hotel in Aukland, NZ to discuss the critical role of risk management in today’s uncertain world. A link is in the notes.

[3:25] We have one of the featured speakers on RIMScast today, Dr. Gav Schneider. Dr. Schneider will present on “Wrangling Wicked Problems: The Ultimate Risk Management Challenge.” Dr. Gav Schneider is with the Centre for the Study of Wicked Problems and he was the Risk Management Institute of Australasia’s 2023 Risk Leader of the Year.

[3:50] Dr. Schneider is the creator of the Presilience Approach. Dr. Gav Schneider, welcome to RIMScast! Dr. Schneider joins RIMScast from Brisbane, Australia, and is originally South African. He moved to Australia nearly 20 years ago. Dr. Schneider is with the ISRM ANZ CSWP (Center for the Study of Wicked Problems).

[5:07] Dr. Schneider started his career in martial arts in South Africa. He is an 8th Degree Black Belt. He taught self-defense and defensive tactics. He transitioned to close protection, bodyguarding, and executive protection. He set up his first business in South Africa, 24 years ago and sold it in 2014.

[5:36] On the way, Dr. Schneider became fascinated with decision-making and risk management, as he kept seeing it being done so badly, even when there were life-or-death consequences attached. He looked at corporate risk management and how it intersects with compliance and how performance measures come into play.

[6:00] Dr. Schneider became interested in practical application combined with sound academic theory, primarily focusing on the way humans make decisions. He is known as the Human-centric Risk Guy. He has taught a post-graduate program on the psychology of risk for the past seven years. It’s been great for his learning, as well.

[7:06] The Institute for Strategic Risk Management is an international group that’s looking at how strategy, risk, and management intersect. ISRM has been collaborating with RIMS NZ for a couple of years.

[7:21] The first paper on Wicked Problems was published 50 years ago. The fact that the world is so hypercomplex and we are bombarded with information all the time has made the study of wicked problems quite an important area.

[7:56] We’ve become good at process- and compliance-based risk management. From the Industrial Revolution, we’ve gotten good at organizing and arranging things but now we’re moving out of management-centricity. In a world with a high degree of control and certainty, process- and compliance-based risk management works.

[8:43] In the modern world, we are bombarded with uncertainty, quickly changing events, and lack of control because of our hyper-connected systems. Dr. Schneider cites a recent seven-hour telecom outage in Australia. It hurt businesses. In supply-chain management, one supplier having an issue can be catastrophic for many businesses.

[9:22] Certainty and control have eroded, compared to 20 years ago.

[9:38] The difference between a Wicked Problem and a poly-crisis will be covered at the workshop at the RIMS Conference in New Zealand. You need time to understand it. Today’s challenges are not one-dimensional risks to manage. A crisis evolves over one variable. If your team is coping, it’s not a crisis.

[11:39] When lots of crises happen at once, the support structures we have in place become overwhelmed. The interconnections between them become overwhelmed. A poly-crisis made up of lots of Wicked Problems. A standard crisis might just be us being overwhelmed.

[12:41] Dr. Schneider says we are all risk practitioners. When making decisions, we weigh out the likelihood of success or failure. Dr. Schneider gives a few examples of the risk management of self-defense. In South Africa, when he had the self-defense business, there were 78 reported carjackings a day.

[14:04] A lady called Dr. Schneider’s self-defense business to learn how to defend against carjackings because she had been carjacked four times. The carjacker had hidden behind the same bush four times. She needed to cut down that bush!

[14:42] When people called about close protection and security, they started with “Money is no object.” That high standard lowered when they were advised to hire two cars and four bodyguards; “Can’t I get by with one car and two guards?” Suddenly, the price to protect their lives was half of the amount they were recommended.

[16:13] If you don’t have culture, engagement, and performance right, none of your other systems work. How do we achieve efficacy and sustained high performance during business as usual and how do we create the ability to thrive in a disruption not just survive? That has been Dr. Schneider’s study since 2008 for his PhD.

[16:40] In running the psychology of risk program, Dr. Schneider has seen smart, capable graduates become frustrated, doing everything they can on the process/compliance side while people they work with feel that risk management is the “handbrake to happiness,” keeping them from achieving what they want to do.
[17:06] Dr. Schneider and the Centre for the Study of Wicked Problems want to “shift the dial” from negative outcome management to seizing and creating opportunity as a positive outcome. They developed the concept of “presilience,” a term Dr. Schneider coined.

[17:46] The Centre for the Study of Wicked Problems was launched this year as a collaboration with the ISRM head office in the UK, and in NZ and AU. Fifty years after the first paper on wicked problems, you don’t see wicked problems management getting nearly enough “airplay” or understanding in the world of conventional risk management.

[18:12] Usually, the wicked problems cause pain for risk leaders and risk managers because those are the problems where the conventional systems don’t work that well.

[18:25] RIMS plug time! Upcoming Virtual Workshops: Visit to see the full calendar. December 7th starts the three-part course, Leveraging Data and Analytics for Continuous Risk Management, which will be led by our friend Pat Saporito.

[18:48] Fundamentals of Insurance returns on December 12th and 13th. It will be led by our good friend Gail Kyomura. Information about these sessions and others is on the RIMS Virtual Workshops page. Check it out and register!

[19:04] On November 21st, Beazley returns to present Business Risk: Helping Your Executives to Navigate Today’s Volatile Risk Environment.

[19:18] On December 1st at 7:00 a.m. Eastern, Prudent Insurance Brokers Private Ltd. returns to discuss Business Interruption. On December 7, 2023, our friends at TÜV SÜD GRC return to discuss Engineering Resilience: Strategies for Preventing Machinery Breakdown.

[19:36] On December 12th, Prepare Yourself for the New Generation of Risk with Riskonnect. On December 14th, Aon will be Addressing Today’s Risks While Preparing for the Risks of Tomorrow.

[19:50] Visit to learn more about these webinars and to register! Links are in the show notes. Webinar registration is complimentary for RIMS members.

[20:14] Dr. Schneider’s session is from 4:10 p.m. to 4:50 p.m. called “Wrangling Wicked Problems: The Ultimate Risk Management Challenge.” It will touch upon control efficacy measurement and risk intelligence. Risk intelligence is the human ability to make great decisions, grabbing upside opportunity and minimizing downside negative impact.

[21:48] Risk intelligence is the living application of risk management as opposed to process-based application of risk management. Lots of smart people make terrible decisions because they blindly follow a process, they blindly follow a policy that’s out-of-date, or they make no decision because they panic under pressure.

[22:27] Not doing something, especially in a crisis or poly-crisis, is often worse than making the wrong call. Even the wrong call creates momentum, which gives you learning, to see that didn’t work, so you can tweak it or do something different.

[22:43] There are fundamental differences in the way to apply wicked-problems-based risk management and the way to apply process-based or compliance-based risk management. They require different skill sets. Process- and compliance-based risk management requires an auditor compliance-driven mindset that loves rules.

[23:47] Epidemics, geopolitical instability, solar flares, and other things that are going to be significantly challenging for us, that are bigger than us, are very difficult to solve. Mist organizations set a strategic plan and then assume risk management will help them achieve the plan.

[24:10] If we identified wicked problems early, we could forecast which strategic plans are going to be blocked by them and we could use a different skill set to deal with them. That skill set is highly-evolved risk intelligence; people who are good at dealing with uncertainty, achieving objectives in different ways, and are great communicators.

[24:36] Dr. Schneider has a list of things he will share when he runs sessions. We want to be thinking of the risk leader of the future. Most risk managers don’t manage risk; they manage a process or set up a policy that other people in a business have to manage or own.

[24:59] Who’s leading risk? People making decisions that have negative or positive consequences are risk leaders. We need to build dual skill sets. MBAs and Public Policy degrees teach to be good at process and compliance. Wicked problems require highly evolved emotional intelligence, influence skills, and pattern recognition.

[25:50] In the session that Dr. Schneider will introduce in New Zealand, he will be covering some of those skill sets, and how to build them. His firm hope is that these teachings will create the risk leaders of the future that will enable a society that thrives through disruption and can endure when things go wrong.

[26:26] Dr. Schneider talks about the psychology of risk work. He believes people learn by hearing, learn more by hearing and seeing, and learn even more if they are also entertained. So it’s about engaging the audience to have significant takeaways that make their work life better and enable their efficacy in their job to increase.

[27:05] Dr. Schneider’s presentation style is informal. He walks around and gets involved with the audience. He doesn’t separate himself from the audience with a podium. Because they give their time and resources to listen to him, he gives them something that makes them more effective in their jobs and ultimately helps their organization.

[29:06] Dr. Schneider has a unique hybrid South African-Australian accent. People either find him easy to listen to or can’t understand a word he says!

[29:44] Dr. Schneider shares his thoughts for the RIMScast audience. We’re in a challenging era. It’s almost overwhelming in its opportunity. We can integrate technology and leverage knowledge and connections in ways we’ve never been able to do. There are a few things we need to remember.

[30:17] We are not over COVID-19 yet. It still has effects on social cohesion and personal interaction. In many cases, people were shut down from other humans for an extended time. Their skills of collaboration, teamwork, and empathy have eroded and they haven’t returned yet.

[30:39] We’re seeing that now with an increase in things like workplace violence, active shooting incidents, and geopolitical war. Part of the global challenges we have as risk leaders is that people are not thinking about the skills for solving wicked problems. Most risk leaders had a tough time through COVID-19 and need to refresh.

[31:34] We’re now in an era of disruption. Systems we’ve built over the last few hundred years are not able to cope with the complicated and interwoven variables we’re facing. We need to be ready. Dr. Schneider’s message is to build your skills, maintain your mental and physical health, and find your balance. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

[32:02] Dr. Schneider says things are going to continue to be challenging. Increased interest rates and fiscal moves by governments to try to cap inflation is a good example of a wicked problem. People in financial stress get desperate and crime, violence, and fraud go up. Learn to look at the interconnected world.

[32:52] Cybercrime is here to stay. Risk leaders need to get comfortable with the virtual world. AI comes up repeatedly at every risk conference. If businesses and business leaders are talking about it, it’s going to be the problem of risk leaders and risk managers. It’s either a problem or an opportunity, depending on how you look at it.

[33:50] The way criminals take advantage of vulnerabilities in our systems is very different from the way protectors like risk leaders look at them. A convicted criminal told Dr. Schneider that he’s never seen a computer or a computer program spend time in jail. AI and tech are still driven by humans. It’s a human problem or opportunity.

[34:32] The more tech we get, the more human-centricity we need. The deep thinking is going to have to be done by humans. We have to manage the opportunity and the risk of AI and tech simultaneously.

[35:04] Justin is excited for anyone who gets to go and see Embrace the Unkown: Unleashing the Power of Risk at the Pullman Hotel in Aukland, NZ, February 12, 2024.

[35:44] Special thanks to Dr. Gav Schneider. On February 12, 2024, Dr. Schneider will be a presenter at the day-long live conference Embrace the Unknown, which will be at the Pullman Hotel in Aukland, NZ. That event is hosted by Marsh and the outstanding RIS NZ and PI Chapter. The link is in this episode’s show notes. Check it out and register!

[36:07] More coverage leading up to this event will follow on RIMScast.

[36:15] Go to the App Store and download the RIMS App. This is a special members-only benefit. Everybody loves the RIMS App!

[36:39] You can sponsor a RIMScast episode for this, our weekly show, or a dedicated episode. Links to sponsored episodes are in our show notes. RIMScast has a global audience of risk professionals, legal professionals, students, business leaders, C-Suite executives, and more. Let’s collaborate! Contact for more information.

[37:22] Become a RIMS member and get access to the tools, thought leadership, and network you need to succeed. Visit or email for more information. The RIMS app is available only for RIMS members! You can find it in the App Store.

[37:47] Risk Knowledge is the RIMS searchable content library that provides relevant information for today’s risk professionals. Materials include RIMS executive reports, survey findings, contributed articles, industry research, benchmarking data, and more.

[38:03] For the best reporting on the profession of risk management, read Risk Management Magazine at and in print, and check out the blog at Justin Smulison is Business Content Manager at RIMS. You can email Justin at

[38:24] Thank you for your continued support and engagement on social media channels! We appreciate all your kind words. Listen every week! Stay safe!


Mentioned in this Episode:

Embrace The Unknown: Unleashing the Power of Risk | Hosted Live & In-Person by RIMS NZ & PI | Feb. 12, 2024

2023 AFERM Summit Training | Nov 28–29, 2023

Riskworld 2024 — San Diego, CA | May 5–8, 2024

Dan Kugler Risk Manager on Campus Grant

RIMS-Certified Risk Management Professional (RIMS-CRMP)


RIMS Risk Management Magazine: ERM Special Edition 2023

RIMS Webinars:

Business Risk: Helping your Executives Navigate Today’s Volatile Risk Environment | Sponsored by Beazley | Nov. 21, 2023

Business Interruption | Sponsored by Prudent Insurance Brokers Ltd. | Dec. 1, 2023

Engineering Resilience: Strategies for Preventing Machinery Breakdown | Sponsored by TÜV SÜD | Dec. 7, 2023

Prepare Yourself for the New Generation of Risk | Sponsored by Riskonnect | Dec. 12, 2023

Addressing Today’s Risks While Preparing for Tomorrow | Sponsored by Aon | Dec. 14, 2023

Upcoming Virtual Workshops:

Leveraging Data and Analytics for Continuous Risk Management | Dec 7

Fundamentals of Insurance | Dec 12

See the full calendar of RIMS Virtual Workshops

All RIMS-CRMP Prep Workshops – Including Chris Mandel’s Dec 13–14 Course

Related RIMScast Episodes:

“Harnessing Innovation’s Promise with ERM Conference Keynote Bob Roitblat”

“ERM’s Value Proposition with Chris Mandel”

Sponsored RIMScast Episodes:

“Cyclone Season: Proactive Preparation for Loss Minimization” | Sponsored by Prudent Insurance Brokers Ltd. (New!)

“Subrogation and the Competitive Advantage” | Sponsored by Fleet Response

“Cyberrisk Outlook 2023” | Sponsored by Alliant

“Chemical Industry: How To Succeed Amid Emerging Risks and a Challenging Market” | Sponsored by TÜV SÜD

“Insuring the Future of the Environment” | Sponsored by AXA XL

“Insights into the Gig Economy and its Contractors” | Sponsored by Zurich

“The Importance of Disaster Planning Relationships” | Sponsored by ServiceMaster

“Technology, Media and Telecom Solutions in 2023” | Sponsored by Allianz

“Analytics in Action” | Sponsored by Alliant

“Captive Market Outlook and Industry Insights” | Sponsored by AXA XL

“Using M&A Insurance: The How and Why” | Sponsored by Prudent Insurance Brokers Ltd.

“Zurich’s Construction Sustainability Outlook for 2023”

“ESG Through the Risk Lens” | Sponsored by Riskonnect

“A Look at the Cyber Insurance Market” | Sponsored by AXA XL


RIMS Publications, Content, and Links:

RIMS Membership — Whether you are a new member or need to transition, be a part of the global risk management community!

RIMS Virtual Workshops

On-Demand Webinars

Risk Management Magazine

Risk Management Monitor

RIMS-Certified Risk Management Professional (RIMS-CRMP)

RIMS-CRMP Stories — New interview featuring Chris Mandel!

Spencer Educational Foundation

RIMS DEI Council


RIMS Events, Education, and Services:

RIMS Risk Maturity Model®

RIMS Events App Apple | Google Play

RIMS Buyers Guide

Sponsor RIMScast: Contact or for more information.


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About our guest


Dr. Gav Schneider

Summarized BIO — Keynote Speaker, Director, CEO, Academic:

Dr Gavriel (Gav) Schneider (CCRO, RPP, FISRM, FIML, FIS (SA), FGIA, FARPI, MAIPIO, CPP)

IFSEC 2019, 20, 21 and 22 top twenty global influencer — Thought Leadership

RMIA Risk Leader of the Year 2023 and Risk Consultant of the Year 2019

Dr Gav is an acknowledged business leader and specialist in the field of human-based risk management and the psychology of risk. He is the creator of the Presilience® approach (recognized in the prestigious AFR Most Innovative Awards in 2021). He is a serial entrepreneur and has been running his own businesses since 2001. He has conducted business in over 17 countries and provided a wide range of services for a very diverse client base, ranging from heads of state to school teachers. He is a leading academic and subject matter expert in his field and is a much sought-after International speaker. In Addition to being the RMIA’s Risk Leader of the Year in 2023, and Risk Consultant of the Year in 2019, Dr. Gav is the only Australian to make the IFSEC Global Influencers' top 20 thought Leaders list for the last 4 years in a row.


The Institute of Strategic Risk Management ANZ

CSWP (Centre for the Study of Wicked Problems) The Centre for the Study of Wicked Problems is an international academic institution dedicated to facilitating effective research, analysis, and solutions to the wicked problems faced by our organizations, governments, and communities. The Centre brings together stakeholders, academics, policymakers, and practitioners with one common platform to develop effective frameworks and strategies to address multifaceted challenges.


Tweetables (Edited For Social Media Use):

I started my career in South Africa. I kicked everything off with the world of martial arts. So I’m an eighth-degree black belt and that’s how I got started, teaching self-defense and defensive tactics. — Dr. Gav Schneider


This year is the 50th anniversary of when the first paper on Wicked Problems was penned. The fact that the world is hypercomplex and we are bombarded with information all the time has made the study of wicked problems quite an important area. — Dr. Gav Schneider


It’s usually, the wicked problems that are causing such pain for risk leaders and risk managers because it’s where the conventional systems don’t work that well. — Dr. Gav Schneider


If businesses and business leaders are talking about AI, it’s going to be our problem. It’s either a problem or an opportunity, it depends on how you look at it. — Dr. Gav Schneider