Dealing with risk and uncertainty through a proactive, effective and adaptive decision culture

One of the most central findings of decision research in the last 30 years is the distinction of decision environments between risk and uncertainty. The two terms are often used interchangeably in everyday life, but they are fundamentally different and play a major role in determining the choice of appropriate strategies and processes, as well as corporate culture. Organizations manage risks and uncertainties primarily through their decision-making culture. In this workshop, participants will be sensitized to the difference between quantifiable risk and non-quantifiable uncertainty, learn tools and methods to consciously detect, reduce and manage uncertainty through an adapted error, decision and risk culture, and explore concrete interventions to reduce defensive decision-making and promote a constructive error and decision culture.

This training is based on more than 30 years of cutting-edge research led by Max Planck Director Prof. Dr. Gerd Gigerenzer, one of the most renowned decision researchers in the world, as well as years of experience applying this research to decision problems in organizations. Using case studies, interactive elements and exercises in small groups, the (organizational-cultural) basics of successful decision-making are illustrated. Participants will then apply these principles to concrete problems in their organization and reflect on how they can be practiced or implemented in their work context. No prior knowledge of statistics or quantitative risk management is required.

Block 1: Map and Compass – Navigating the Spectrum of Decision Environments [TIME – approx. 1.5 hours]

Decisions are not just risky. It is often difficult, for example due to the complexity of a situation or a continuously changing situation, to quantify risks reliably. This is what we call “decision making under uncertainty”. In this first block, participants will gain an intuitive understanding of how to distinguish between the world of calculable risk and the world of incalculable uncertainty through interactive small group exercises.

Block 2: Block 2: Adaptive strategy selection: the right tool for the right purpose. [TIME – approx. 1.5 hours]

When dealing with uncertainty, there is often a reflex to counter it with complex processes, more supervision, and the collection of more information. However, our research has shown that under uncertainty, less information, expert intuition, and simple decision-making processes often lead to better decisions. This block teaches participants why this is the case and why an organizational decision-making and error culture that enables effective learning and allows for intuitive decision-making is necessary for dealing well with uncertainty.

Block 3: Armed for an uncertain world: fostering decision-making and learning cultures. [TIME – approx. 3 hours]

The principles and approaches taught are now applied to the decision-making culture and decision-making problems. Principles such as the acceptance of, conscious handling of, and proactive management of uncertainty form the basis here. Based on this, concrete tools (e.g., Fuck-Up Nights, jail free cards, the intelligent use of feedback loops, or training in constructs such as “Empowering Leadership” or “Psychological Safety”) are used to demonstrate ways to effectively and sustainably improve the error and decision culture at your company.


Dr. Niklas Keller is an organizational psychologist and decision researcher. He is co-founder and managing partner of Simply Rational GmbH and an associate researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, the Charité University Hospital and the Technical University of Berlin.

About Simply Rational

Simply Rational is a Max Planck spin-off led by Max Planck Director Emeritus and co-founder Prof Dr Gerd Gigerenzer. Prof Gigerenzer has written over 600 articles on the subject and his books “Risk: How to Make the Right Decisions” and “Gut Decisions: The Intelligence of the Unconscious and the Power of Intuition” have been on national and international bestseller lists. We offer executives comprehensive access to the latest scientific findings in decision research, as well as experience in successfully applying these findings in practice to their decision problems. Together, we have trained several thousand managers and executives.


The training will be held at your location. Under special circumstances, this training can be delivered digitally via Virtual Canvas (MIRO) or hybrid.

If you have any questions, please contact:

Dr. Niklas Keller         |        |     +49 176 2041 8755