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Say what you will about risk, we’re increasingly unlikely to take it

Redefining risk

It was a packed room of C-suite execs and agencies at the Future Foundation 2013 Conference, not surprising with the days’ theme of Fate, Hype and Clarity. First up was CEO Christophe Jouan (Future Foundation CEO) talking about ‘The Death of Risk’ and how technology is changing our perception of risk. Jouan discussed about how old risks (drinking, smoking, over eating) are no longer ‘acceptable’ due to their visibility thanks largely to technology (big data, apps, the internet). Instead, “new risks” are surround ideas such as identity and data crisis.

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Jouan went on to talk about the romantic idea of the maverick around the world — how people outwardly want to take risks but display behaviour and opinions to the contrary.

Fifty-percent of people — per research conducted by Future Foundation’s extensive network — agree with the statement “I am prepared to take significant risks” which became even more surprising when Jouan revealed how different cultures demonstrate a collectivisation of risk (people are afraid of people either impacting on them (French) or their impact on others (China).

As Jouan puts it: “Harm has become the new evil and safety the new morality”. In essence, it’s less and less acceptable to harm yourself because it’s harming others — the new reality — or as Future Foundation puts it, The Big Lie, is you have more help than ever (quantified self, apps and notification technology) to look after yourself and — by proxy — others.

The session closed with a fascinating look at the future of risk — a future where obesity is reversible and how brands should approach risk in the future differently depending on their market and their consumers risk comfort level.

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