Foresight Dictionary Black Swan


Nassim Nicholas Taleb popularised the term ‘Black Swan Event’ when referring to an unexpected, unforeseen event that has a huge impact. The metaphor of a black swan originated from the presumption that all swans were white, based on centuries of observation, until black swans were discovered in Australia, challenging the previously held assumption. Similarly, black swan events challenge conventional wisdom and expose the limitations of existing models and frameworks for understanding and managing risk.


2008 Global Financial Crisis

The 2008 global financial crisis, sparked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, is considered a black swan event due to its unforeseen magnitude and systemic ramifications, catching many financial institutions and policymakers off guard.

Ask yourself

  • What key assumptions are we making that may leave us blind to changes?
  • Do we regularly practice scenario planning to cultivate open mindedness, curiosity and agility?
  • Are we seeking diverse input and opinions or is there too much homogeneity in our leadership team?

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