The History behind Risky Business

In the early 2000's we initiated an improvement project in our intensive care unit in which we used the analogy of a Formula 1 pit-stop (with McLaren and Ferrari) to drive improvements in the quality and safety of the handover of critically ill infants and children from the operating theatre to the intensive care team after complex heart surgery. This captured the imagination of our teams as well as featuring in The Wall Street Journal in 2006.

It thus soon became apparent to us that there was a huge opportunity to learn from world-class professionals across the spectrum of safety critical industries and sport. And so a small group of us set about starting a series of risky business conference in which professionals from a wide array of industries could share ideas and learning.

Our first conference was held in 2006 hosted between Great Ormond Street Hospital and The Royal College of Surgeons (called Everybody's Business). The theme was to learn from defining moments in other safety critical industries, including NASA, oil industry, nuclear submarines and Formula 1.

Following on the tremendous success of this first conference, an expanding international collaborative venture evolved over the next 8 years so that we have now hosted 11 stand alone Risky Business conferences in London, Boston, Toronto and Cape Town. We have also hosted a number of half-day satellite events at other conferences within specific specialties of medicine related to pediatric cardiology, critical cares, orthopedics and anesthesia.