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Risk management hinges on perspectives and observations

Risk management hinges on perspectives and observations

Having the right perspective, collaborating with the right partners and being able to pick up on telltale signs of deception are critical tools for risk managers.

The opening general session at the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.'s conference in San Diego Monday featured three keynote speakers delivering TED-style motivational speeches on these topics. It was a departure from the traditional single speaker format at a conference that usually marks the beginning of the formal program. The conference had kicked off with an opening reception on Sunday in the Gaslamp district, which was marked by a fireworks mishap.

Vinh Giang, magician and motivational speaker, demonstrated how to perform a successful magic trick by changing the perspective of the audience and discussed collaborating with his partners to launch the Encyclopedia of Magic, an online program that instructs 65,000 students all over the world.

“Magic is just a problem you can't solve,” he said. “Perspective is power, and collaboration is power. There is not one problem you cannot solve if you find the right perspective. Seek each other's perspective.”

Scott Klososky, entrepreneur, author and consultant, introduced RIMS attendees to the world of 3-D printing, instructing them on the unique language involved such as the formal term “additive manufacturing,” which refers to the use of 3-D printing to manufacture objects from a digital file. He predicted that consumer-level 3-D printing of products such as toothbrushes will be coming soon thanks to technological advancements.

“Twenty, 30 years from now, Amazon will seem like the Dark Ages,” Mr. Klososky said. But he noted that these advancements also introduce a new element of risk. “When we start experimenting with things we've never done before … that's where we learn hard lessons, that's where the risks come in,” Mr. Klososky said, citing the loss of intellectual property and product performance as key risks in the 3-D printing sphere.

A key risk is the potential for a company to be put at a competitive disadvantage if a competitor embraces the technology first, he said.

“You don't have a choice,” he said. “In some parts of the economy, you've got to learn how to do additive manufacturing. If you're too slow, you will lose market share.”

Even developments in seemingly unrelated areas have potential implications for 3-D printing, he said. For example, self-driving cars, designed to prevent accidents, have increased the emphasis on the use of 3-D printing to create organs for transplant purposes, Mr. Klososky said.

“Do you know what the organ donor people are scared to death of?” he said. “The No. 1 source of donated organs is car accidents. They get 75% of donor organs from car accidents. If you take away all the car accidents, there won't be donor organs anymore.”

Pamela Meyer, entrepreneur, fraud examiner and author, discussed “liespotting” — the ability to see and understand clues that a person is lying, such as verbal dodges that include distancing language, specific denials and inappropriate tenses.

“It's about knowing when there are red flags and when to drill down and ask harder questions,” she said.

If risk managers suspect a person is being deceptive, they should ask themselves this question: “did they just go into convince mode?” Ms. Meyer said.

“Step back,” she said. “Have they suddenly gone from being on your side and cooperating with you and providing you with information to all of a sudden try to convince. When they do that, what you want to do is let it rip. Let someone talk.”

The fireworks malfunction occurred at about 7 p.m. Pacific Time at the RIMS' Meet 'n the Street outdoor event, which closed a block in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter neighborhood so RIMS attendees could mingle in the street and restaurants. The fireworks display sent sparks into the crowd and smoke billowing through the street.

A few injuries were reported though the extent was unclear, with many attendees taking cover in the restaurants on the block.

Spokespeople for the San Diego fire and police departments could not be immediately reached for comment. RIMS officials were not available for comment Monday.