Tinkering School

come make amazing things with us

Dangerous Done Well - Tuesday Day 2: The Risk Mitigation System

Dangerous (Fall 2013)Sean Murray

Doing dangerous things well is a skill than can be learned and improved upon. Like many skills, doing dangerous things well can be broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks. With this in mind, we use a Risk Mitigation System (RMS) to help us do dangerous things well.

Georgia prepares to throw a knife with the blade taped--a product of RMS Stage 3: Iterative Escalation.

In Step 1, we state the dangerous thingwe want to do well. In this case, we wanted to throw knives at a target.

In Step 2, we assess risks and problems , based on a. our personal experience, b. expert opinions, c. educated guesses. To assess the risks of throwing knives at a target, we recalled our own experiences with knives, and our experiences with ricocheting thrown objects; watched videos and viewed diagrams from professional knife-throwers; and guessed at problems specific to our space and goals.

The shipping container seems to narrow to use as a knife-throwing area. Ricochets off multiple walls will be hard to predict.

In Step 3, we use iterative escalationto slowly build towards the goal activity with safety and control. To throw knifes, we added one element of danger at a time, simulating the throw with a sharpie, a block of wood, then a knife with the blade smothered in duct tape.

In Step 4, we do or do not do  the proposed activity, based on the RMS so far. (It's important to note: if you're running the RMS correctly, lots of times you'll determine that an activity is just way too dangerous to do well!)

In the case of knife throwing, ricochets were controlled, there was no danger of passerby wandering into the danger zone, and we established a safe, controlled knife-handling procedure. So, we threw knives at the target!

Safe, fun, done well.

A handle-first stick, achieved during RMS Step 3, Iterative Escalation.

Tinkering School is a trademark registered in the US Patent and Trademark Office.