Black Swan Event in Japan

In a previous post last year , I had discussed  Mr. Taleb’s  concept of Black Swan events.  Those events, as defined by Mr. Taleb,  were highly improbable but had a devastating impact should they occur.  The frequency of Black Swan events seem to be continuing to increase as our world achieves a higher level of technology dependence and interdependence across the globe.  Events that were once inconceivable are occurring on a more frequent basis.

The nuclear plant experienced a 9.0 earthquake, a tsunami that exceeded the inundation range by a mile and also lost all of its primary and backup mechanisms.  In this scenario, a prototypical “Black Swan” event occurred at the nuclear power plant.  So, how does this change how we plan for continuity of our people, critical business processes, supply chain and information technology in the USA?  How much planning do we do and what scenarios do we take into consideration?  How much money and resources will management put into planning for a “Black Swan” event?

So how do we, as planners, look at our planning landscape and determine potential Black Swan events?   Should we?   This will be the next frontier in continuity planning.  The question will be is how will corporate management receive our analysis and recommendations for implementing strategies they may deem too outlandish, expensive or outside the norm.

The event in Japan has made me think of the strategies we have in place for many of our customers and how they would have survived this event.  The biggest factor that remains is our people and ability to ensure their well-being and ability to implement plans and strategies.  How well would have your plans done if you had to face a similar event?

My prayers and thoughts to the people of Japan.

About MHA: MHA Consulting, with its decade-long track record, is a proven leader in business continuity planning, disaster recovery planning, IT best practices and data center moves and relocations. Every day, MHA helps protect trillions of dollars of global-market assets and top companies around the world rely on MHA services for the continuity of their business. For more information on MHA, contact Michael Herrera at herrera at mha-it dot com or visit


Michael Herrera is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MHA. In his role, Michael provides global leadership to the entire set of industry practices and horizontal capabilities within MHA. Under his leadership, MHA has become a leading provider of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery services to organizations on a global level. He is also the founder of BCMMETRICS, a leading cloud based tool designed to assess business continuity compliance and residual risk. Michael is a well-known and sought after speaker on Business Continuity issues at local and national contingency planner chapter meetings and conferences. Prior to founding MHA, he was a Regional VP for Bank of America, where he was responsible for Business Continuity across the southwest region.

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