Great Call – Risk Taking and decision making in a world of uncertaintyTowcester | Tue. 13th September 2022 | 08.30am - 1.00pm
All of Caspar’s sessions are predicated on the idea that ALL decisions are essentially investment decisions or allocations of scarce resources under conditions of uncertainty. In poker that’s all one is doing: allocating scarce resources under conditions of uncertainty… or what we call “taking risks”!
Caspar therefore uses the metaphor of poker to explain decision-making science (a little known and rarely understood academic subject) which explains how to optimally allocate scarce resources under uncertainty in order to maximize long term returns on such investments.
This academic underpinning of Caspar’s work is really important. The sessions are not about poker. They use poker to communicate risk and reward analysis. This is the body of knowledge that makes insurance, investment and, indeed, capitalism itself possible but which in turn has some highly counter-intuitive implications for the way we live our lives. The entire body of Caspar’s work essentially covers four stages:
1) Uncertainty: Underpinning everything is the idea that the world is much more and profoundly uncertain than we like to think. The reason we don’t often like to acknowledge that is because it scares and confuses us and our subconscious brains but studies show that actually accepting this helps us make better decisions. Not accepting it can be fatal!
2) The Economics: The implications of this uncertainty are actually quite profound. They are what a poker player learns on page one of any poker book because of course in poker the uncertainty is obvious and undeniable and so one needs to embrace it. The maths which describes this uncertainty reveals a number of counterintuitive implications: it shows that some things which may feel reasonable and profitable are in fact neither and that other things which may feel risky and difficult are actually much much better than they might at first appear. These messages – while logically demonstrable – are actually quite to take on board at first which is why we need to explain…
3) The Psychology: Human beings don’t like to fail. We’re loss averse and risk averse and we’ve built companies and a legal system based on fulfilling this inbuilt need for short term success. So to maximize returns on investment we actually have to override the way we’re psychologically wired… a poker player can show you how.
4) The Culture: At the end of part 3) each individual has been on a journey of understanding why they’re not innately hardwired for success as an individual. But that doesn’t matter if people aren’t culturally re-wired to move forwards with a new mindset. This section provides to the answers to that challenge.
The subject of decision-making is a very broad subject covering a whole range of ancillary subject-areas such as risk, judgement, intuition and insight. These in turn apply to a huge range of business areas – and conference themes – such as change, leadership, innovation, entrepreneurship uncertainty (VUCA), differentiation, courage, resilience, interpreting data, investing and motivation.
Crucially, it is important to state that Caspar does not claim to be an expert in all of these subjects but looks at all of them through the prism of decision-making, risk-taking and resource allocation.
What will be covered?
Participants can experience a variety of the following lessons and benefits:
1) A new toolset to overcome the challenges posed by uncertainty in volatile, unpredictable, complex and ambiguous circumstances. (VUCA)
2) A new mindset and a way of breaking out of old risk-averse habits and methodologies which respects risk-taking and the unknown as necessary evils which can be harnessed for their benefit.
3) A better understanding of the power – and limitations – of intuition and the impact of their emotions – good and bad – on the decision-making process.
4) Greater motivation and resilience to keep trying when the going gets tough.
5) A greater appreciation of what a decision is and how to take control of their subconscious decision-making process to maximize returns by any metric
6) The ability to cascade such a mindset down through an organisation so that employees feel more comfortable with uncertainty and risk-taking so that they can better embrace change, innovate and seize opportunity.
The aim of all sessions is to empower people to contribute to a culture that is more long-term in its thinking, more comfortable making decisions and taking calculated risks with the intention of being more profitable as a result.
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