Symbolic Gestures

By O'Rourke, Morgan | Risk Management, September 2017 | Go to article overview

Symbolic Gestures


O'Rourke, Morgan, Risk Management


As many of you may recall, until just a few years ago, the symbol of RIMS (the publisher of this magazine) was a unicorn. Adopted in 1975, the unicorn served for more than three decades as the society's representative. Given its longevity, one might think the rationale for its selection would have been pretty compelling. But it wasn't. In fact, the origin of the RIMS unicorn was largely a mystery, even to staff.

Over the years, some tried to retroactively attach meaning to the unicorn as a symbol of strength or competitiveness. Another theory attempted to make a connection between the legend that drinking out of a unicorn's horn or putting ground-up horn in food or drink would make a person immune to poison and risk management's broader goal to help protect organizations from harm. But unicorns were most commonly considered to be symbols of magic, innocence, purity and chastity-noble qualities to be sure, but nothing that has any real significance for risk management.

So the question remained: Why a unicorn? …

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