Ms Wucker coined the term “gray rhino” to draw attention to the obvious risks that are neglected despite – and often because of- their size and likelihood and her 2016 book has sold more than 300,000 copies.
“Humans are hardwired to look away from the things that are just too big to handle and we don’t look at what we don’t want to see,” she told Airmic Talks. “If we’re faced with a long running chronic problem, we tend to tune it out. You learn to tune it out because you can’t get the things done that you need to on a daily basis.
“We tend to celebrate people for solving problems, and not for preventing them.”
Concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms Wucker said it was a classic example of a gray rhino.
“Pandemics are what I call a ‘recurring rhino’ scenario. You see them over and over again. It’s a cycle,” she said. “This is not necessarily a case of ‘most of us should have seen it coming’. It was that the people who’s job it was to see it coming, did their job. They warned us and the people who looked the other way were the people with the power of the purse strings and the people who could have made a difference. But they didn’t, they looked the other way.”
Airmic Talks is available on all podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify and SoundCloud.