Risk Census vs Risk Survey

Shall we call it a Risk Census or a Risk Survey?

The expression goes: "What's in a name?" Fun fact, the phrase actually comes from William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. The full sentence reads:

Shakespeare's now famous phrase actually implies that names are irrelevant, that a rose, no matter what you called it, would still smell sweet, its color would be as deep red, and its thorns as prickly. And yet, society spends much time looking for the right word; admittedly, we did as much.

When developing the project, the principals were keen on giving it a name that rose to the ambition of being more than just a set of questions that serve to inform some study, they wanted the project to have an impact on people, communities, and the future direction of our planet. The goal was to create a data-gathering operation whose mission was to leverage change by highlighting both what is right and what is wrong with our world.

It so happens that this is the mission of any national Census.

A census is more than just the gathering of demographic statistics. A Census influences a country's federal money distribution, political boundaries, business opportunities, and more. The government, industry and even people at large use Census data to make life-changing decisions.

And so, yes, the principals believed that the project had to inspire, it had to be a motivation for change, not just evidence for a scientific experiment. From the start, the team preferred Risk Census over Risk Survey.

There is a second reason the team chose the word Census over Survey. This project is not a 'survey of risks'. That would imply that we are looking for actual risks whereas in fact we are looking for the conditions that can lead to risks. We are looking for the causes, the conditions, the catalysts. As such, we are taking a snapshot of the world as it is and may evolve from a risk perspective.

Lastly, though we do ask questions that rely on opinion, well over 90% of the questionnaires' questions are asking participants to share their 'observations'. Using the term 'survey' was believed to favor the notion of opinion over observation, the opposite of what we are trying to achieve.

So, in a few words, that's it. That's why we called it The Global Risk Census. We hope you approve of our choice.


Literally, just for fun: