The Risk Doctor Celebration Timeline 2003-2013

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World Events
Risk Doctor Events
1 February
Columbia Space Shuttle disaster

The NASA Space Shuttle Columbia was lost while re-entering the atmosphere after a 16-day scientific mission. The disaster was caused when a piece of insulating foam from the external fuel tank peeled off during the launch 16 days earlier and struck the shuttle's wing causing a hole. During the intense heat of re-entry, hot gases penetrated the interior of the wing, destroying the support structure and causing the rest of the shuttle to break apart, killing all seven crew members aboard.

19 March
US and UK invade Iraq

A combined force of troops from the US, the UK, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq in an initial invasion phase, which lasted from 19 March to 9 April 2003, and thirty-six other countries were involved in the aftermath. According to US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the coalition mission was “to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein's support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people.” Between 3 January and 12 April 2003, an estimated 36 million people across the globe took part in almost 3,000 protests against the Iraq war.

30 July

Risk Doctor brand launched

Following over fifteen years in risk consulting working for other companies, David Hillson launched Risk Doctor Limited (trading as Risk Doctor & Partners) to provide a vehicle for his unique brand of practical insights based on deep understanding. The concept was to offer high-value specialist risk consulting from some of the world’s best risk gurus, providing a network of trusted risk professionals who could tackle the biggest risk challenges.

24 September

Initial Risk Doctor engagement with PMI SeminarsWorld

PMI SeminarsWorld provides a wide range of expert seminars in project management topics, presented around the globe by leading experts in the field. David Hillson was invited to present seminars in project risk management at foundational, intermediate and expert levels, and became one of the most popular presenters for SeminarsWorld, always receiving high delegate feedback scores. He continued presenting regularly until 2009, then took a break until 2013. David also served on PMI’s Education Advisory Group from 2002-2008, advising PMI on policy for SeminarsWorld.

24 October

First Risk Doctor client in South America

As a global brand, Risk Doctor & Partners aims to serve clients around the world. Our first client in South America was Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria (UNI) in Lima Peru, where David Hillson presented a keynote at II Congreso Nacional de Gerencia de Proyectos, as well as delivering risk workshops for Empresa Petrolera Unipetro ABC S.A.C. Despite this early promise, Risk Doctor & Partners has done very little work in the continent of South America since then.

6 November

First Risk Doctor client in Europe

Continuing our aim of global delivery of world-class risk consultancy, our first client in continental Europe was The Danish Leadership Institute DIEU A/S (now renamed as Mannaz). David Hillson delivered an expert risk management seminar in Copenhagen to a sell-out audience including both DIEU staff and their clients. As the Risk Doctor business is based in the UK, our closeness to the European market means that a significant proportion of our clients have been in this region.

19 November

“Effective Opportunity Management for Projects”

The Risk Doctor mission includes spreading the word about risk management as widely as possible. One way we do this is through David Hillson’s ground-breaking books on risk. His first book was “Effective Opportunity Management for Projects: Exploiting Positive Risk” (ISBN 0-8247-4808-5), originally published by Dekker of New York but now available from Taylor & Francis. This major textbook makes the case for inclusion of opportunity management within the traditional risk process, and provides detailed descriptions of simple proven tools & techniques to make it work in practice. Ten years after its publication, this book remains the leading resource for people wanting to capture upside risk.

13 December
Saddam Hussein captured in Iraq

On 13 December 2003, the US Army 1st Brigade Combat Team launched Operation Red Dawn in order to locate and capture Saddam Hussein, who they believed was hiding in the town of ad-Dawr, Iraq, near Tikrit. He was found hiding in a hole in the ground at a farmhouse, with a pistol and an AK-47 assault rifle along with $750,000 in cash, but he offered no resistance to capture. After being held by the US in Baghdad, Saddam Hussein was handed over to the Iraqi government in 2004, then tried and executed in 2006.

2 March
NASA discovers signs of water on Mars

For years, scientists have speculated on whether Mars once contained water. Despite many tantalising findings, no definitive evidence had been uncovered until the landing of two Mars Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, in January 2004. The rovers soon began sending back astonishing images of rippled layers of sediment that scientists confirmed had once formed the bottom of a sea, as well as evidence of mineral deposits that could only have been left behind by water. These and other findings confirmed that not only did Mars once have water, but it had been covered with vast pools.

1 June

First Risk Doctor client in Asia

Risk Doctor & Partners was delighted to initiate our collaboration with Project Solutions International Group (PSIG) with a series of expert seminars and forum presentations in Taipei Taiwan and Shanghai China. This was the first of several engagements together with PSIG which continued over a number of years.

4 June

Risk Doctor appointed Honorary Advisor in Taiwan

In June 2004 David Hillson made his first visit to Taiwan to conduct a range of consultancy and training engagements. At the conclusion of this trip he made a series of presentations to the Institute of Project Management Research which forms part of the Taiwan Project Management Association. David was honoured to be appointed as an Honorary Advisor in Risk to the Institute, reflecting his role as a thought leader and expert practitioner, together with his contributions to building risk management capability and knowledge in Taiwan.

6 July

Initial Risk Doctor engagement with Rio Tinto (UK)

Risk Doctor & Partners began a long-term engagement with mining and minerals company Rio Tinto that continued until 2010, with other Risk Doctor associates delivering additional services through to 2013. Our initial engagement provided support to the Group Risk function in developing a group-wide risk policy and framework, supported by an in-house risk portal. We also defined risk-related roles from senior management down, and we were involved in establishing and training a network of Risk Champions across the business.

13-29 August
Athens Olympics

While the preparations for the Athens games were marred by construction delays and an epic race to complete venues before the opening ceremonies, the return of the Olympics to their historic home ended as a surprising success. Participation records were broken, with 201 nations and 10,625 athletes taking part in 301 different events. Nearly as compelling as the competitions were the historic venues used for the games. The marathon began in the actual city of Marathon, the starting point of the Greek soldier who completed the world's first marathon in 490 BC. The shot put was held in Olympia, home of the ancient games. Athens will be remembered for mixing remarkable athletic achievement with historic reminders of the heritage and spirit of the game.

16 August

First Risk Doctor client in US

Our exposure to the American market started with delivery of a series of risk management briefings to project teams and senior management in Abbott Laboratories at their offices in North Chicago IL. Since then we have been a regular visitor to the US, providing risk consultancy and training services, and speaking at major events.

20 August
Google goes public

Sergey Brin and Larry Page, co-founders of Google, the phenomenally popular search engine, became instant billionaires when the company went public in August 2004. After a series of missteps, Google finally pulled off its much-hyped initial public offering. At its closing price of just above $100, Google was valued at $27 billion.

26 December
Boxing Day tsunami

An undersea earthquake occurred at 00.58 UTC on Sunday 26 December 2004, with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. This resulted in a series of massive tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing over 230,000 people in fourteen countries, and inundating coastal communities with waves up to 30 metres high. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. Indonesia was the hardest-hit country, followed by Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand. The earthquake was the third largest ever recorded on a seismograph, with the longest duration of faulting ever observed, between 8.3-10 minutes. It caused the entire planet to vibrate as much as 1 centimetre and triggered other earthquakes as far away as Alaska. The plight of the affected people and countries prompted a worldwide humanitarian response. In all, the worldwide community donated more than USD $14 billion in humanitarian aid.

20 January
George W. Bush starts second term as US President

The second inauguration of George W. Bush as the 43rd President of the United States took place on Thursday 20 January 2005, marking the beginning of his second term as US President. Bush's inaugural address centred on the use of foreign policy to promote democracy around the world, as well as making human rights the guiding principle of US foreign policy. Overall, his speech used the words "free," "freedom," and "liberty" 49 times.

7 February

First Risk Doctor client in Africa

Risk Doctor & Partners has developed a special focus on South Africa in the past decade. Our first client was the telecoms business MTN, where we supported management of risk for a major project to implement a new billing program. As part of this engagement we developed a novel way to integrate risk management into the agile approach. Since this first visit to South Africa, we have developed a special focus on the country through our partnership with Cohesion, and we continue to work with a range of major clients in South Africa.

8 March

First Risk Doctor Masterclass for UK Defence Academy

The UK Defence Academy provides a high-level education and training programme for senior officers and staff in the UK Ministry of Defence. Risk Doctor & Partners developed a Risk Master Class which became one of the most highly-regarded elements of this programme, and this was delivered regularly to small groups of senior officers and staff from 2005-2011. A spin-off risk course was also developed for the Defence Strategic Leadership Course and delivered regularly to middle-ranking officers.

14 April

Initial Risk Doctor engagement with BP (UK)

Risk Doctor & Partners began a long-term coaching engagement with one of the Senior Risk Advisers at BP which continued until 2011. Through this relationship we influenced several significant developments in the way BP managed risk on its major capital projects.

30 May

First Risk Doctor client in Middle East

A short training engagement with Keter in Israel marked our entry into the Middle East region. This was followed by a series of regular lectures at the Lahav Executive Education Institute, and consultancy work with other significant clients in Israel. Our interest in the Middle East expanded with work in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar, with our clients including several major organisations in the energy and construction sectors.

30 June

“Understanding and Managing Risk Attitude” published

This ground-breaking book was co-authored by David Hillson with Ruth Murray-Webster, bringing together their leading-edge thinking and experience on risk attitudes and emotional literacy to create a unique resource for those wishing to move beyond mere implementation of a risk process and towards a people-centred approach for risk management. Understanding and Managing Risk Attitudewas the first Risk Doctor book to be published by Gower Publishing, marking the start of a successful ongoing publishing partnership.

7 July
London 7/7 bombings

On 7 July 2005, London became the victim of a terrorist bombing, Britain's worst attack since World War II. Four bombs exploded in three subway stations and on one double-decker bus during the morning rush hour, killing 52 and wounding more than 700. A group calling itself the Secret Organization of al-Qaeda in Europe claimed responsibility. Two weeks later, on 21 July, terrorists attempted another attack on the transit system, but the bombs failed to explode. A leaked document by a top British government official warned Prime Minister Tony Blair more than a year before the bombings that Britain's engagement in Iraq was fuelling Islamic extremism and making UK a special target, but Blair repeatedly denied such a link, contending that the bombings were the result of an “evil ideology” that had taken root before the Iraq war.

25 August
Hurricane Katrina

Katrina started life as a Category 1 hurricane that hit Florida on 25 August, killing about a dozen people and leaving 1.5 million homes without power. Over the next three days Katrina headed over the Gulf of Mexico, strengthening to a Category 5 storm. Katrina made landfall on the Louisiana coast at 6am on Monday 29 August, and was downgraded to a Cat 3. However levees in New Orleans were breached, flooding parts of the city, and power was lost. President Bush declared a major disaster in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The storm ultimately wreaked catastrophic damage on the Gulf coast, leaving more than 1,000 dead and millions homeless. Americans were shaken not simply by the magnitude of the disaster but by how ill-prepared all levels of government were in its aftermath.

12 October

Initial Risk Doctor engagement with TI (Europe)

Our long-term engagement with Texas Instruments in Europe has continued until the present time, including benchmarking and development of in-house risk processes, delivery of specialist risk training in Germany and France, and contributions to outward bound courses where risk management was taught in the classroom then experienced in the Austrian mountains.

1 November

“Risky Rhymes: Uncertain Wit & Wisdom” published

"Risky Rhymes – Uncertain Wit & Wisdom" (ISBN 0-9551338-0-7), is a unique risk poetry anthology written by members of the global Risk Doctor Network, and published by Risk Doctor Publishing in 2005. Each poem reveals something about the nature of risk and its management. There are forty original poems on the topic of risk, including limericks, haiku, acrostics, epics, a sonnet and even a ghazal. Discover more about risk as you enjoy the creative talents of risk practitioners. At Risk Doctor we believe that managing risk is serious fun – this book shows how!

9 January

“The Risk Management Universe” published

Edited by David Hillson, this book answers the question “What is risk management?” from a range of perspectives, including corporate governance, strategic risk, financial risk, project risk management, environmental risk, fraud and counter-terrorism. “The Risk Management Universe: A Guided Tour” (ISBN 978-0-580-50346-7) was published by BSI, and brings together leading experts from the different risk management disciplines to describe current best practice and point to future developments. It offers a unique 'guided tour' of the main dimensions of the risk management universe, concluding with an broad discussion to draw the threads together and identify the underlying unifying themes. No other book brings together such a wide review of current risk management!

4 February
Danish newspaper publishes offensive cartoons

The Danish Jyllands-Posten newspaper challenged taboos against illustrations of Muhammad by printing several negative cartoons depicting him. This sparked angry demonstrations throughout the Muslim world against Denmark and other nations whose newspapers reprinted the cartoons.

13 March

Initial Risk Doctor engagement with Murray & Roberts

Murray & Roberts developed a reputation for building a risk-aware culture across the business, led from the top, and facilitated by the Group Risk function. Our involvement focused on coaching the Group Risk Manager for a period of three years, ensuring that the ERM approach developed by Murray & Roberts reflected international best practice, tailored to the specific needs of the business. We also developed a series of specific risk training courses for companies within the Murray & Roberts group, in both Africa and the Middle East..

9 October
North Korea explodes test nuclear device

Following the test firing of missiles over the Sea of Japan in July, North Korea exploded a nuclear device in the North Korean mountains on 9 October. The North Korean government had announced its intention to conduct a test on 3 October, becoming the first nation to give warning of its first nuclear test. The blast is estimated to have had an explosive force of less than one kiloton, and some radioactive output was detected. The UN threatened further sanctions against North Korea, and on 31 October, North Korea agreed to rejoin six-nation disarmament talks.

16 January

Risk Doctor elected Fellow of RSA

David Hillson was elected as a Fellow of the prestigious Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce, better known as the RSA. This was founded in 1754 as a force for change in the world, with the mission “To embolden enterprise, enlarge science, refine art, improve our manufactures and extend our commerce.” David joined a group of 25,000 leading professionals who have demonstrated sustained achievement, with proven intellectual and creative ability. He was initially elected to contribute to the RSA Risk Commission. He later led the RSA Fellows project on societal attitudes to failure, and is editor of The Failure Files.

23 March

“Understanding and Managing Risk Attitude” (2nd ed)

Understanding and Managing Risk Attitude draws on the acknowledged expertise of David Hillson and Ruth Murray-Webster in risk management and organisational change management to offer unique insights and strategies into the impact of the human dimension on risk management effectiveness, while remaining resolutely practical in its application. The second edition was updated to strengthen the understanding of individual risk attitudes and reinforce what individuals can do to manage those attitudes that are leading them away from their objectives.

29 June
Apple launches iPhone

Development of what was to become the iPhone began in 2004, when Apple started to gather a team of 1000 employees to work on the highly confidential "Project Purple", with an estimated development cost of US$150 million over thirty months. Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone to the public on 9 January 2007, at the Macworld 2007 convention in San Francisco. The two initial models, a 4GB model priced at $499 and a 8GB model at $599, went on sale in the United States at 6pm on 29 June 2007, while hundreds of customers lined up outside the stores nationwide.

15 August
Peru earthquake

At 23.40 UTC on Wednesday 15 August an earthquake with magnitude 8.0 hit the central coast of Peru, lasting for about three minutes. The epicenter was located 150 km south-southeast of Lima at a depth of 39 km. The Peruvian government reported that 519 people were killed by the quake.

31 August

“Practical Project Risk Management” published

Written by practitioners for practitioners with little or no prior experience,Practical Project Risk Management: The ATOM Methodology by David Hillson and Peter Simon offers a realistic and proven scaleable approach to project risk management that really works, packed with tips and hints to demystify the risk process, and providing generic templates and guidelines to support real-world application. The book gives full “how-to” guidelines for implementing Active Threat & Opportunity Management (ATOM) on your project. If you want to know how to do it, this book tells you how!

7 January

Risk Doctor elected Honorary Fellow of APM

David Hillson was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the UK Association for Project Management (APM). The citation mentioned his role as a leading thinker and practitioner in improving project risk management, as well as his contributions to the APM over many years. His particular role in building links between APM and other professional bodies was noted, including with the Institute of Risk Management (IRM) and the Project Management Institute (PMI). David has served as Chairman, Deputy Chairman and Secretary of the APM Risk Specific Interest Group (SIG), as well as co-editing three major risk guides for APM and drafting the risk section of the APM Body of Knowledge.

19 February
Fidel Castro steps down as Cuban President

Cuban president Fidel Castro, who had temporarily handed power to his brother Raúl in July 2006 when he fell ill, permanently stepped down on 19 February 2008 after 49 years in power. Mr Castro had ruled Cuba since leading a revolution in 1959. Mr Castro made his announcement in a letter published in the middle of the night on the website of the Cuban Communist Party's newspaper Granma. He said he would not accept another five-year term as president when the National Assembly met on Sunday. Mr Castro said he had not stepped down after undergoing emergency intestinal surgery in 2006 because he had had a duty to the Cuban people to prepare them for his absence. But retirement, he added, would not stop him from "carrying on fighting like a soldier of ideas". Raúl Castro was elected as President in place of his brother.

4 March

First Risk Doctor client in Australia

The first appearance of the Risk Doctor brand in Australia was at a small risk seminar presented for Optus general managers, project leaders and developers at their Sydney campus. Since then we have grown a steady business stream in Australia, focused in NSW and Victoria.

22 May

“Managing Group Risk Attitude” published

This second book by Ruth Murray-Webster and David Hillson built on "Understanding and Managing Risk Attitude", and was published by Gower (ISBN 978-0-566-08787-5). Based on the authors’ own experience and research, "Managing Group Risk Attitude" considers how groups of people make decisions that they perceive as risky and important. A unique framework is developed and applied, providing a practical model using applied emotional literacy to manage risk attitude.

8-24 August
Beijing Olympics

The 2008 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, took place in Beijing, China, from 8-24 August 2008. A total of 10,942 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees competed in 28 sports and 302 events. China became the 22nd nation to host the Olympic Games and the 18th to hold a Summer Olympic Games. It was the third time that the Summer Olympic Games were held in Asia, after Tokyo, Japan, in 1964 and Seoul, South Korea, in 1988. The Beijing Olympics was noted for its dramatic opening ceremony and the striking architecture of its venues.

15 August

Initial Risk Doctor engagement with NASA (US)

Risk Doctor & Partners was invited to hold an opportunity workshop with the project risk team for the Constellation Program, focusing on how to identify and manage upside risk for the mission to Mars. This workshop enabled the team to take a new perspective on risk, leading to some specific practical applications in one difficult area of the programme that had previously seemed intractable.

10 September
Large Hadron Collider breaks particle acceleration record

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a 17-mile-long looped track located an average of 300 feet beneath the Swiss-French border, accelerated two beams of particles to 1.2 trillion electron volts (TeV) and then smashed them together. The collision earned the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) the distinction of having the world's highest energy particle accelerator, breaking the record of 0.98 TeV previously held by the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory's Tevatron machine.

15 September
Lehman Brothers file for bankruptcy

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. was a global financial services firm. Before declaring bankruptcy in 2008, Lehman was the fourth-largest investment bank in the US (behind Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Merrill Lynch), doing business in investment banking, equity and fixed-income sales and trading (especially US Treasury securities), research, investment management, private equity, and private banking. At 1.45am on 15 September, the firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection following the massive exodus of most of its clients, drastic losses in its stock, and devaluation of its assets by credit rating agencies. Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy filing is the largest bankruptcy in US history, and is thought to have played a major role in the unfolding of the late-2000s global financial crisis.

28 November

Initial Risk Doctor engagement with CCC (Middle East)

Consolidated Construction Contractors (CCC) is a major player in the construction industry, focusing on the Middle East and Africa. Risk Doctor & Partners was invited by the CCC Board to benchmark their approach to managing risk on major projects, then to develop and implement an improved project risk process. In a three-year engagement we produced a risk policy and framework, designed and delivered a multi-level risk training programme, and facilitated risk workshops on some of CCC’s most significant projects, as well as coaching key staff in the business to take ownership of the risk process going forward.

20 January
Barack Obama inaugurated as US President

Hundreds of thousands of people watched in front of the Capitol as Barack Obama was sworn into office, making history as the first African-American US President. On his second day in office, President Obama signed executive orders to suspend military tribunals of terror suspects, close all secret prisons and detention camps run by the CIA, including the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison, and ban coercive interrogation methods. In October 2009, Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." Obama responded to the honour with surprise and humility, saying that the award was a "call to action" to engage other nations around the world to promote peace.

7 February
Worst wildfires in Australian history

The worst bushfires in Australia's history broke out on 7 February 2009, killing at least 181 people in the state of Victoria, injuring over four hundred, and destroying more than 900 homes. As many as 400 individual fires were recorded on 7 February. This day saw some of the worst bushfire-weather conditions ever recorded. Background temperatures reached 46° C (115° F) and north-westerly winds were over 100 km/h (62 mph). This had been preceded by an intense heat wave and almost two months of little or no rain. The wind direction changed to south-westerly in the evening, causing the long eastern flanks of the fires to become massive fire fronts that burned with incredible speed and ferocity towards towns that had earlier escaped the flames. The day has become known in Australia as Black Saturday.

2 March
AIG announce $61.7 billion loss

Insurance giant American International Group (AIG) reported a USD $61.7 billion loss for the fourth quarter of 2008, with an overall loss of $99.3 billion for the year. The US government had already provided the company with a $60 billion loan, and provided an additional $30 billion, making it the largest company bailout. Despite this, on 14 March AIG announced they would pay top executives more than $165 million in bonuses, claiming the bonuses were promised in contracts and were no longer negotiable.

1 June
Air France 447 flight lost over Atlantic

In the worst aviation disaster since 2001, Air France Flight 447 disappeared somewhere off the northeast coast of Brazil with 228 people on board, en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. Subsequent investigations continued for three years after the disaster, initially hampered by the lack of eyewitness evidence and radar tracks, as well as by difficulty in finding the aircraft's black boxes, which were finally located and recovered from the ocean floor in May 2011, nearly two years after the accident. The final report, released in July 2012, stated that the aircraft crashed following a succession of events. Temporary inconsistencies in airspeed measurements caused the autopilot to disconnect, and the pilots executed inappropriate control inputs that destabilised the flight path, leading to an unrecoverable aerodynamic stall.

18 August

Initial Risk Doctor engagement with Sasol (RSA)

Risk Doctor & Partners was invited to develop a multi-level risk training programme for Sasol, focusing on the risk approach applied to major capital projects. Following an initial pilot period, we delivered specialist risk training to over 750 project staff within the Sasol business over the following three years, and we facilitated risk workshops on some of the company’s most important Tier One projects. We also provided ad hoc coaching input and advice to the risk team in support of their role.

28 August

“Managing Risk in Projects” published

Managing Risk in Projects (ISBN 978-0-566-0886704) was published by Gower as part of the Fundamentals of Project Management series. This concise book describes current best practice in project risk management and introduces the latest developments, to enable project managers, project sponsors and others responsible for managing risk in projects to do so effectively. It is intended for those who know that risk management is important to project success but aren't quite sure why, or who feel they could do it better if only they knew how, as well as all who are committed to managing risk in projects. In these uncertain times, what more could we want?

12 January
Haiti earthquake

The poorest country in the Western hemisphere, Haiti, was dealt a catastrophic blow in January 2010 when a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck 10 miles southwest of the capital Port-au-Prince. It was region's worst earthquake in 200 years. The quake levelled many sections of the city, destroying government buildings, foreign aid offices, and countless slums. Fatalities were initially reported to be around 230,000, but this has since been revised down to between 46,000 and 85,000 people. International aid poured in, and the scope of the damage caused by the quake highlighted the urgent need to improve Haiti's crumbling infrastructure and lift it out of endemic poverty. The country quickly faced another challenge: cholera. In November, the Haitian government said that the death toll had reached 1,034, with 16,799 people treated for cholera or symptoms of the disease.

1 March

Risk Doctor achieves Chartered Manager status

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is committed to raising the performance of business by championing management, through supporting individuals and organisations, and through engaging policy makers and key influencers in government. David Hillson became one of the first recipients of Chartered Manager status awarded by CMI using the new fast-track process. Chartered Manager is the hallmark of a professional manager. It is awarded to those who can prove that they have made a difference to the bottom line, consistently delivering positive business impact through leading people and managing change. As a Fellow of CMI, David’s chartered status allows him to be recognised as one of only a few Chartered Fellows of the Institute.

8 April
US and Russia sign nuclear arms reduction treaty

The New START (STrategic Arms Reduction Treaty) is a nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation, with the formal name of Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. It was signed on 8 April 2010 in Prague, and, after ratification, it entered into force on 5 February 2011. It is expected to last at least until 2021. New START replaced the Treaty of Moscow, which was due to expire in December 2012. Under the terms of New START, the number of strategic nuclear missile launchers are to be reduced by half, with a new inspection and verification regime. It does not limit the number of operationally inactive stockpiled nuclear warheads, that remain in the high thousands in both the Russian and American inventories.

14 April
Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupts in Iceland

In late March 2010, the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted. The event produced minimal seismic activity, but it heralded a much more significant event. A major explosion on 14 April resulted in a volcanic ash plume in the atmosphere over northern and central Europe. Air travel in the region was halted for several days, causing the cancellation of several thousand flights and disrupting the travel plans of millions of people. After millions of travellers had been stranded for days in Europe and North America, airports around the world began operations again on 21 April. The Risk Doctor was one of the stranded travellers, and described his experience in this article.

20 April
BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig explodes in Gulf of Mexico

An explosion on a BP oil drilling rig off the coast of Louisiana killed 11 people and injured 17. Experts initially estimated that 13,000 gallons of crude oil per hour were pouring into the Gulf of Mexico, but this was quickly revised upwards to approximately 42,000. Remote-controlled robots were used in an attempt to seal off the oil well. Ten days later the oil slick from the rig explosion reached the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. After 86 days of gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico and several previous attempts to contain the flow, BP finally capped its leaking oil well on 15 July.

9 October

Risk Doctor receives PMI Fellow Award

David Hillson has been an active contributor to the Project Management Institute (PMI®) for over a decade, especially in developing the field of project risk management. PMI recognised David's achievements by appointing him as a PMI Fellow, the only person to receive this award in 2010. The PMI Fellow Award is PMI's highest and most prestigious individual honour. It is presented to members who have made a sustained and significant contribution to PMI and to the project management profession, advancing the state-of-the-art and promoting professionalism. David received the award at a ceremony in Washington DC, USA, joining an elite group of about sixty project management pioneers and experts.

12-13 October
Chilean miners rescued after 68 days

On 12 October the first of 33 trapped Chilean miners was rescued after spending 68 days trapped in a mine half a mile underground. He was pulled to safety via a capsule specially made for the rescue mission. The rest of the miners were carried to safety over the next 24 hours.

1 November

“Exploiting Future Uncertainty” published

All businesses face significant levels of uncertainty. To succeed you need to exploit future uncertainty, turning it to your advantage by managing risk effectively. This book shows you how. Exploiting Future Uncertainty (ISBN 978-1-4094-2341-6), published by Gower, provides a unique resource containing more than sixty focused briefings, each addressing a key part of the risk challenge. Under five themes, David Hillson covers the links between better business and risk-taking, basic risk concepts, making risk management work in practice, people aspects, and managing risk in the wider world. Each section is packed with clear practical advice from The Risk Doctor, with specific how-to tips and guidance.

13 November
Aung San Suu Kyi released from house arrest

Aung San Suu Kyi is a Burmese opposition politician and chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma. In the 1990 general election, the NLD won 59% of the national votes and 81% of the seats in Parliament. Suu Kyi had, however, already been detained under house arrest before the elections. She remained under house arrest in Burma for most of the period from 20 July 1989 until her release on 13 November 2010, becoming one of the world's most prominent political prisoners.

23 November

Risk Doctor first IRM “Risk Personality of the Year”

David Hillson was named by the Institute of Risk Management as “Risk Personality of the Year” for 2010-11. He was the first recipient of this inaugural award which honours the individual whose experience and expertise enables them to effectively promote the message of strong risk management, and who provides inspiration to their peers. In naming David Hillson as “Risk Personality of the Year” the judges described him as “a larger-than-life character, who has himself become a well-known brand.”

11 January
Arab Spring starts in Tunisia


Anti-government demonstrations gripped several countries in the Middle East in 2011, with protesters emboldened and inspired by actions in neighbouring countries. The protests began in Tunisia when demonstrators took to the streets to protest about chronic unemployment and police brutality. This led to a movement which became known as the Arab Spring, which quickly spread to Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Oman, Syria, and other countries. The unrest resulted in the downfall of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, Tunisia's General Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, Libya's Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi, and Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh, and led to international sanctions against Syria's Bashar al-Assad.

14 February
Solar flare disrupts communications in China

An X-class solar flare, the most powerful form, erupted from the sun on 14 February and jammed radio communications in China. This raised concerns in other countries that future solar blasts might have the potential to disrupt electrical power grids and satellites used on Earth, and prompted research into increased resilience against solar flares and storms.

22 February
Earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand

The February 2011 Christchurch earthquake was a powerful natural event that severely damaged New Zealand's second-largest city. The magnitude 6.3  earthquake struck the Canterbury region in New Zealand's South Island at 12.51pm on Tuesday 22 February. The earthquake was centred 10 kilometres south-east of the centre of Christchurch. It followed nearly six months after the magnitude 7.1 Canterbury earthquake of 4 September 2010, which had caused significant damage but no direct fatalities. The earthquake caused widespread damage across Christchurch, especially in the central city and eastern suburbs, exacerbated by the effects of the earlier earthquake. Significant liquefaction affected the eastern suburbs, producing around 400,000 tonnes of silt. In total, 185 people were killed, making it the second-deadliest natural disaster recorded in New Zealand, with nationals from more than 20 countries among the victims. Over half of the deaths occurred in the six-story Canterbury Television (CTV) Building, which collapsed and caught fire in the quake. The government declared a state of national emergency, which stayed in force until 30 April 2011.

11 March
Earthquake and tsunami in Japan

Japan was hit by the largest earthquake in its history on 11 March 2011. The magnitude 9.0 quake struck about 230 miles northeast of Tokyo and triggered a deadly 23-foot tsunami which deluged both cities and rural areas. About 26 hours later, an explosion in reactor No. 1 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station caused one of the buildings to crumble to the ground. The cooling system at the reactor failed shortly after the earthquake. Officials feared that a meltdown may occur, and radioactive material was detected outside the plant. More than 200,000 residents were evacuated from surrounding areas. By 15 March, two more explosions and a fire had affected all four reactors, releasing radioactivity directly into the atmosphere. More than 100,000 people in the area were affected.

29 March

“The Failure Files: Perspectives on Failure” published

"The Failure Files: Perspectives on Failure" (ISBN 978-1-908009-30-2) was published by Triarchy Press and edited by David Hillson. This unique book addresses failure in a wide range of different aspects of society, including personal, education, business, entrepreneurship, projects, government, societal etc. The book proposes a range of transformational responses for individuals, businesses and society, encouraging us to embrace failure and not to fear it. Discover from the experts how to fail well - The Risk Doctor leads the way!

29 April
Prince William marries Catherine Middleton

On Friday, April 29, 2011, the world watched Prince William marry Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London. Prince William, the eldest son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer, first met Kate Middleton in 2001 when they were attending the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. The event was broadcast throughout the world and attracted international attention. Prince William returned to his work as a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot immediately following the wedding. It was 10 days after the ceremony when the couple departed on their honeymoon to a private island in the Seychelles.

1 May
Death of Osama Bin Laden

On Sunday 1 May 2011, US troops and CIA operatives shot and killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan. In a televised speech President Barack Obama said "The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat Al-Qaeda. But his death does not mark the end of our effort. There's no doubt that Al-Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad." While Bin Laden's demise was greeted with triumph in the United States, analysts expressed concern that Al-Qaeda may seek retaliation, and US embassies throughout the world were put on high alert.

12 September

Risk Doctor joins EVIAP

David Hillson has been invited to join the Earned Value International Advisory Panel (EVIAP). EVIAP is an international panel of project control experts that come together to host events which provide knowledge, foster debate and promote connections between organisations and individuals. EVIAP offers a global perspective which aims to shape and influence project control on an international scale. David joins the panel to provide expert input on the links between risk management, earned value and project control.

3 November

Risk Doctor receives PMI Excellence Award

The Project Management Institute (PMI) recognised David’s continuing achievements in the field of project risk management by presenting him with the PMI Eric Jenett Project Management Excellence Award. This recognises and honours an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the profession, demonstrating leadership and initiative while advancing both theoretical concepts and practical application. The award trophy is an original bronze sculpture by acclaimed American artist Thomas Parker Emery, representing a combination of wisdom, strength and effort using imagery of an owl, a white oak and a drop of sweat.

12 January

Risk Doctor joins EPPM Board

David Hillson has been invited by Oracle Primavera to join an exclusive group of industry experts and practitioners called The EPPM Board. This is a prestigious new international steering group that brings together senior figures from leading organisations to discuss the business critical role of Enterprise Project Portfolio Management (EPPM) and establish how the challenge can be better tackled from the top. David will be contributing his insights on the role of risk management as an essential component of EPPM.

24 January

RiskDoctorVideo channel launched on YouTube

David Hillson is well-known as an excellent speaker, presenter and trainer. Countless individuals, teams and organisations have benefited from his blend of thought-leadership with practical application, presented in an accessible style that combines clarity with humour. David’s speaking is guided by the Risk Doctor motto: “Understand profoundly so you can explain simply”. The RiskDoctorVideo YouTube channel allows you to see the Risk Doctor in action, with videos ranging from short briefings through focused interviews to full-length presentations.

2-5 June
Queen Elizabeth II celebrates Diamond Jubilee

2012 marked 60 years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, making it her Diamond Jubilee. The Queen came to the throne on 6 February 1952, with her coronation taking place on 2 June 1953. In celebration of The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, public holidays were announced for the UK on Monday June 4 and Tuesday June 5. The majority of Jubilee celebrations took place over the weekend of 2-5 June 2012, including nationwide street parties, festivals, concerts and exhibitions. A highlight was the Diamond Jubilee Pageant, which took place on the River Thames and consisted of about 1,000 boats assembled from across the UK, the Commonwealth and around the world. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh travelled in the Royal Barge which formed the centrepiece of the flotilla. An open-air gala concert was also held outside Buckingham Palace.

4 July
CERN announce discovery of Higgs Boson

Ending what has become the most expensive and longest search in science, physicists at CERN announced discovery of a new subatomic particle. The particle appears to be the Higgs Boson, the elusive last key to understanding why life and diversity exist in the universe. The Higgs Boson is the missing part of the Standard Model, which defines equations that have described fundamental laws of the cosmos for 35 years. CERN is the largest particle physics laboratory in the world, located outside Geneva, Switzerland.

27 July - 12 August
London Olympics

The 2012 Summer Olympics took place in London from 27 July to 12 August 2012. More than 10,000 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees participated. London was the first city to host the modern Olympic Games three times, having previously done so in 1908 and in 1948. Construction for the Games involved considerable redevelopment, with an emphasis on sustainability. The main focus was a new 490-acre Olympic Park, constructed on a former industrial site at Stratford, East London. The London Olympic Games received widespread acclaim for their organisation, with the volunteers, the British military and public enthusiasm praised particularly highly.

2 August

“Practical Project Risk Management” (2nd ed)

The second edition of this popular “how-to” book was published by Management Concepts (ISBN 978-1-56726-366-4), describing the Active Threat & Opportunity Methodology in full detail, including tips, tools and templates. The second edition of this popular 'how-to' book adds valuable advice on how to use ATOM to manage risk at program level, with a whole new chapter on this important application area. The book is also updated to align more closely with recent international risk standards, as well as reflecting improvements in the authors’ own practice.

19 August

First Risk Doctor Network Briefing issued

Part of the Risk Doctor ethos is to give away as much as possible, in line with our key corporate value of generosity. As a result we launched the Risk Doctor Network, offering regular free briefings with focused practical advice on a wide range of risk-related topics. The first briefing titled “Health is not the absence of disease” tackled the dual nature of risk including both threats and opportunities. Since then over 75 briefings have been sent to thousands of readers around the world, translated into multiple languages.

30 October

“A Short Guide to Risk Appetite” published

Risk appetite is a hot topic, driven both by corporate governance requirements and senior managers' need to make risk-based decisions. But despite the high level of interest, there is no consensus on what risk appetite is, how it should be expressed or measured, or how it can be practically used in business or projects. In the latest book to emerge from their successful partnership, “A Short Guide to Risk Appetite”, David Hillson & Ruth Murray-Webster cut through the confusion to produce clear definitions and simple guidelines, helping us to answer the important question: “How much risk should we take?”

12 December

First Risk Doctor client in Russia

Risk Doctor Briefings have been translated into Russian for many years but we had never worked directly in the country until the end of 2012. David Hillson was therefore pleased to be invited to present a plenary keynote at the 7th International Project Management Conference in Moscow, hosted by PM Expert. We are hoping to develop an ongoing relationship with PM Expert to make Risk Doctor services more widely available in Russia.

13 December

Risk Doctor joins IRM Education Advisory Board

David Hillson has been invited to join the new global Education Advisory Board (EAB) formed in 2013 by the Institute of Risk Management (IRM). IRM has been delivering education and learning in the field of enterprise risk management for over twenty-five years, and is arguably the leading international provider of practitioner-led distance learning risk management professional qualifications. Chaired by Dr Lynn Drennan, IRM Education Programme Director, the EAB comprises leading risk educationalists and professional risk practitioners from around the world, who will advise and guide IRM in the future development of IRM’s highly-respected International Certificate and/ Diploma programmes. The aim is to ensure that they remain relevant, and internationally applicable, for risk professionals now and in the future.

30 July

Risk Doctor celebrates 10 years in business

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Risk Doctor brand, which launched into the world of risk consulting in July 2003. Since then we’ve established a strong global reputation for providing excellence in risk management support, through our blend of leading-edge thinking with expert practical application. We’ve served clients in over forty countries, working in a wide range of industries and cultures. Our mission “to help others to deal effectively with uncertainty wherever and however they encounter it” has led us into some fascinating and challenging situations, as we work to exploit future uncertainty and create value from risk. We’d like to say a big THANK YOU to all our clients, colleagues, contacts and competitors for making our first ten years so interesting and rewarding.

Future world events

The last decade has seen many surprising and world-changing events, including the ones featured above. But what’s coming next? We all know that the future is uncertain and unpredictable – that’s what makes it interesting and exciting. One thing we can say for certain is that we will be surprised by future events. Black Swans will continue to emerge to catch us unawares, and we will need to learn how to expect the unexpected. The months and years ahead will contain dramatic world events of all kinds, and we need to be ready to respond with resilience at all levels of business and society – watch this space!

Future Risk Doctor developments


We’ve been fortunate to work with some of the world’s best organisations in the past decade, helping them to tackle significant uncertainties and come out on top. Like every other business, our future is uncertain. We welcome that uncertainty as a source of excitement and challenge, and we look forward to whatever comes next. Perhaps your organisation will be the next to feature in our future?