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Why China loves the Gray Rhino: A conversation with Michele Wucker
In 2017, the Communist Party’s house newspaper, the People’s Daily, warned that China faced a variety of systemic financial risks, including “gray rhinos.” China’s business community immediately took notice of the term, and it is now used in Chinese media without explanation. In this live webinar, we’ll talk to Michele Wucker, the woman who coined the term.
“A ‘gray rhino’ is a highly probable, high impact threat: a two-ton beast that may be charging right at you or eyeing you from the horizon. Unlike the improbable, unforeseeable black swan, gray rhinos are not random surprises, but occur after a series of warnings and visible evidence. Distinct from the elephant in the room, which normalizes doing and saying nothing, the gray rhino is dynamic, challenging decision makers to respond.”
So says Michele Wucker. But what do Chinese political and business leaders see as gray rhinos? How has the concept been used in China to signal the need to deal with risks? What are the differences between risk perceptions and behaviors in China and the U.S.? Join what promises to be a lively and timely discussion and ask your questions for Michele Wucker live online on September 1.
Strategist, speaker, educator, and best-selling author Michele Wucker coined the term “gray rhino” as a call to take a fresh look at how we respond to obvious, probable, impactful risks. She founded the Chicago-based advisory firm Gray Rhino & Company and is a former media and think tank executive. Her four books include the influential global bestseller THE GRAY RHINO: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore and the recently released sequel, YOU ARE WHAT YOU RISK: The New Art and Science of Navigating an Uncertain World. Her 2019 TED Talk has attracted more than 2.5 million views. The gray rhino has moved markets, shaped financial policies, inspired lyrics of a global K-pop hit song by the mega-band BTS, made headlines around the world in more than 70 countries and over 35 languages, and shaped high-level debates from Davos to NATO to the Drucker Forum and more.
Jeremy Goldkorn is Editor-in-Chief of The China Project and co-host of the Sinica podcast. He moved to China in 1995 and became managing editor of Beijing's first independent English-language entertainment magazine. In 2003, he founded the website and research firm, Danwei, which tracked Chinese media, markets, politics, and business. It was acquired in 2013 by the Financial Times. He has lived in a worker's dormitory, produced a documentary film about African soccer players in Beijing, and rode a bicycle from Peshawar to Kathmandu via Kashgar and Lhasa.