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Risk in Context

Three Ways to Make Global Risks Relevant in your Organization

Posted by Brian C. Elowe January 19, 2016

In today’s business environment, finding the time to incorporate thought leadership that, at first glance, doesn’t seem to address your specific, of-the-moment concerns can be difficult. Yet, incorporating and discussing ideas from publications like The Global Risks Report 2016 can challenge current outlooks and help to better understand the risks and opportunities of broad global trends. For example, the report may lead you to discover previously unrecognized risks, alter operations, or rethink the where and why of expansion plans.

Released in London on January 14, the eleventh annual Global Risks Report was prepared by the World Economic Forum with the help of Marsh & McLennan Companies and other partners. The report builds off a survey of several hundred businesses and government leaders to present a picture of the evolving global risk landscape, looking at both short- and long-term horizons.

Involuntary migration and the failure to adapt to and mitigate climate change emerged as two of the top concerns this year.

Using the Report

“The Global Risks Report 2016” uses charts, case studies, interviews, and a broad survey of other material to define, highlight, and explore the interconnections among risks. Importantly, it shows how organizations can consider risks in a broader context, laying the foundation for a better understanding of their potential impact. Here are three ways to consider using the report in your organization:

1. Validate your risk priorities: Compare and contrast your existing risk registers, risk management, and risk finance protocols to see how they align with the trends identified in the report. Are changes called for?

2. Generate conversation: Have leaders from operations and members of corporate risk committees think about how a specific trend may affect the business over the next three to five years. To do this you could:

  • Distill the report down to ascertain how broad trends manifest themselves in your business.
  • Provide context in different forums for business leaders across your organization to consider how and when certain trends may affect their area.
  • Incorporate a review of the report as part of your regular risk review governance process.

3. Assess time frames: Encourage business leaders to think about the time frame in which a particular trend may need to be addressed. The impact from some issues — climate change, for example — may feel like they’re years away when in fact the impact on the organization could occur much sooner.   

“The Global Risks Report 2016” is one of the few existing materials available that can be used to challenge current thinking, help to re-balance risk priorities, and inform strategic decisions.  

Brian C. Elowe