Caspar Berry on Risk and Decision-Making at eWorld – This Should Be Really Good!

We mentioned here the forthcoming eWorld event, and the keynote speaker, Caspar Berry. We caught up with him this week on the phone to get more insight into his sessions next Wednesday (March 1st) at the QE2 Centre, Westminster.

After a few minutes talking to Berry, it is clear that he is a lot more than an ex-professional poker player. “I’m really an evangelist for a body of knowledge around the science of decision making – and that knowledge is not well understood by people or organisations”, he says.

So as well as his experience arising from his poker playing and his creative career as actor, writer and director, he has also researched the theory around decision making and taken ideas from many experts, all leading to his deep understanding of risk, the issues around “resource allocation decisions”, and the “inherent uncertainty embedded into business and life” as he puts it.

Many of our usual decision-making techniques and processes are flawed, he says. We just simply pick the most likely outcome, then work on the basis that it will happen – despite the fact if there are multiple potential outcomes, it probably won’t. That also leads us to ignore options which may well have the potential to improve overall returns.

This is not all purely an analytical science though. “You can take a calculator into a casino but you will still lose on the roulette wheel” Berry says. Maths can’t solve every challenge, but it can help to explain situations, options and the decisions we face. (We suspect a parallel with Dr Daniel Kahneman and others, who have pointed out in their work on behavioural economics that humans simply don’t behave logically in many economic situations).

So Berry sees his role as translating some of the conceptual theory around these topics into the real world and helping people and organisations understand the issues. He promises to do that in his keynote at eWorld in an interesting and even humorous manner; having spoken to him, we’re looking forward to it even more than we were from the description on paper.

He is also running a workshop at eWorld. Being more intimate than the keynote, he plans to get into the topic in more depth, and look at some tools that participants can actually use in their day-to-day work, and perhaps their private lives as well. Numbers are limited for that session; so we suggest you register for it now!

There are many more speakers at eWorld of course, including me, and as usual the event is free to procurement practitioners. You can register here, and we look forward to seeing you on March 1st.

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