Recipe for failure

In our tendency to encourage risk elimination we have lost our stomach for the bold and adventurous approach of Victorian times. Risk management prevents avoidable unsafe incidents, but when applied unwisely it does more harm than good.

A perfect example is Jamie Oliver’s assault on turkey twizzlers (Comment, 13 November) whichis the product of the same culture that lies at the root of our national retreat from engineering.

There are examples of brave technical adventures in recent history, such as Concorde, the Channel Tunnel and the Dome, but the triumphs are typically drowned out by those who disapprove of some detail or other, and we may be losing sight of the bigger picture.

Engineers must learn to routinely deliver solutions that make good business sense, but they must not be deprived of the opportunity to take risks, try new approaches and deliver bold steps that may include some relatively small mistakes.

Oliver represents a valid opinion that is about inspiring adventure in the young, plus an appetite for new flavours and experiences. He invested through energy, time and money in long-term health by big-scale thinking and engaging at the right level.

My experience of building engineering projects with nine and 10-year-olds at school has inspired my hope. They are bold and will take risks. But the challenge will come after graduating. If there is no big, bold UK industry in which they can work and learn, we will all be in trouble.

To win at this game we need engineering to be bold and backed by brave investment that celebrates success and learns from the early schoolroom mistakes. Engineers must go boldly for long-term success.

Andy Molloy

Basingstoke, Hants