9-10 September, 2015, Washington DC

This training course is organized in partnership by the Risk Society organization (the Netherlands) and The Risk Doctor Partnership (UK) and is hosted by USAID.

The course is designed to support development practitioners with the necessary theoretical knowledge and practical skills to be able to manage risks in their own organization. It aims to build the capacities of development partners to enable them to embrace uncertainty, identify and assess the uncertainties that matter (i.e. risks), and define the optimum response measures. Special emphasis is placed on developing a mature risk management culture in development organizations and multi-stakeholder environments. The course consists of a series of highly interactive sessions, offering a blend of theoretical concepts and practical solutions essential for effective risk management in development organizations. On 11 September an optional consultation round will be available to enable you to design an integrated risk management (IRM) framework, unique to your own organization.

Course Facilitators

  Dr David Hillson FRSA FIRM HonFAPM PMI-Fellow CMgr FCMI
Magda Stepanyan, MA, MSc, CIRM

She holds an MA in Sociology (Yerevan State University, Armenia), MSc in Public Administration (Leiden University, the Netherlands), and The International Certificate in Risk Management from The Institute of Risk Management (UK). She is the Founder & CEO of the Risk Society consultancy (www.risk-society.com).

Her main areas of expertise include integrated risk management, disaster and climate risk governance, capacity development, civil protection, recovery planning, and M&E. She has more than 15 years management and consultancy experience, working with organizations such as the EC, UN, WB, Red Cross, and many others. She authored a UNDP Technical Paper on Risk Management for Capacity Development Facilities (2012).

Dr David Hillson FRSA FIRM HonFAPM PMI-Fellow CMgr FCMI

Known globally as The Risk Doctor, David Hillson is an award-winning thought-leader and expert practitioner who consults and writes widely on risk management, with ten major books on the topic. David leads The Risk Doctor Partnership (www.risk-doctor.com), a global consultancy offering specialist risk services across the world.

His ground-breaking work in risk management has been recognized with many professional awards, including being named “Risk Personality of the Year” by the Institute of Risk Management (IRM) in 2010-11. In recent years David has specialized in strategic risk management, with a focus on risk culture, risk appetite and risk attitudes.


USAID Washington Learning Centre (WLC)
2231 Crystal Drive, Arlington Virginia
Room: Cape Town
See details: http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/pnaea323.pdf


A range of discounts is available: participants from developing countries are entitled to $300 discount per person; a 10% early bird registration discount applies for bookings made before 1 July, and there is a 20% colleague discount for each additional participant from the same organization. Individual consultations: $250 per session

There are only 23 places so early registration is recommended!Participants will receive a certificate of attendance.

For inquiries and registration please contact:
Ms. Magda Stepanyan


Day 1: Risk Management for Sustainable Development

(09:00 – 09:15) Introduction Round

(09:15 – 10:15) Session 1: Concept of Risk

During this session participants will be introduced to the concept of risk and its application for sustainable development. Participants will learn about risk classification and discuss the dual nature of risk management: threat and opportunity management. They will explore some of the important characteristics of risk in complex versus complicated systems:

  • its social and subjective nature;
  • the limited knowledge about many of the risks, and so, our capacity to calculate them accurately in terms of probability, consequences, compensation and accountability;
  • the disruption of cause-and-effect relationships in risk consideration (e.g. across generations, geographic areas, sectors, institutions, etc.).

(10:15 – 10:30) Coffee break

(10:30 – 12:00) Group discussion: Business-as-usual or another perspective

During this session participants will discuss the emerging practices of risk consideration in development programming: national risk assessment supported by the EU, OECD, WB, and how it is linked to sustainable development. They will be introduced to the concept of the ‘risk landscape’ and discuss how development interventions can bring about changes in the risk landscape of beneficiaries. They will also discuss how acceptable is the tolerance to failure in development interventions.

(12:00 – 13:00) Lunch

(13:00 – 14:30) Session 3: Fundamentals of Effective Risk Management

This session will introduce the concept of risk management based on the ISO 31000 guidance standard. Participants will learn the principles, framework, and processes of risk management. They will discuss how risk management supports decision-making within the organization and thereby, increases effectiveness, efficiency and relevance of organizational performance.

(14:30 – 14:45) Coffee-break

(14:45 – 15:15) Exercise: Top 3 risks (risk register)

(15:15 – 17:00) Session 3: Integrated Risk Management (IRM) Framework

A blueprint model for integrated risk management (IRM) – a framework specifically designed to enable development organizations to identify and assess risks – will be presented and discussed.

(17:00 – 17:15) Evaluation of day one

Day 2: Risk-Informed Decisions and Risk Culture

(09:00 – 09:15) Recap of day one

(09:15 – 10:30) Session 1: Risk-informed decision-making

During this session participants will discuss the implications of using the IRM Framework. Specifically, they will consider the importance of anticipative awareness and prospective learning in development interventionsand the instrumental role of M&E in providing feedback on the progress made (retrospective view) and the emerging risks (forward-looking perspective).

(10:30 – 10:45) Coffee-break

(10:45 – 12:00) Group discussion: Risk Management for Development: Dilemmas

Participants will discuss several dilemmas:

  • collective vs. individual risks
  • accountability vs. flexibility of development interventions
  • short-term benefit vs. long-term responsibility

(12:00 – 13:00) Lunch

(13:00 – 14:30) Session 2: Understanding Risk Culture

This session explores the nature of culture in general, and risk culture in particular. The ABC Model is presented as a framework for understanding the drivers of risk culture. The central role of risk attitude in driving culture will be explained, and a framework presented for intentionally changing risk attitude where necessary. Finally, participants will undertake a short exercise to discover their own preferred personal risk attitude, followed by a guided discussion of the implications for risk-taking behavior.

(14:30 – 14:45) Coffee-break

(14:45 – 17:00) Session 3: Diagnosing and Changing Risk Culture

Using the Risk Culture Aspects Model from the Institute of Risk Management (IRM), participants will be encouraged to explore the strengths and weaknesses of the current risk culture in their organization. Ten “challenge questions” will provide a framework to understand where improvements might be made.

Culture can be understood using two metaphors: self-expression and growth. Participants will consider what the current risk culture in their organization says about organizational values (what are we expressing?), and about the direction of growth (what are we reproducing?).

In a final exercise, participants will reflect on how their organizational risk culture is driving decision-making, risk-taking and behavior, and they will identify specific ways in which they can act to change the culture to address perceived weaknesses.

(17:00 – 17:15) Evaluation of day two

Day 3: (optional) Designing an Integrated Risk Management (IRM) Framework

On day 3 there will be an opportunity for individual sessions with the expert(s) on designing the Integrated Risk Management (IRM) framework, tailoring it to the specific needs of your organization or interventions.

There are only three slots available:
Slot 1: 09:00 – 11:00
Slot 2: 12:00 – 14:00
Slot 3: 15:00 – 17:00