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Risk in Context

Three ways to use the Global Risks 2017 report in your organization

POSTED BY Brian C. Elowe Thursday, 12 January 2017

Risk professional, C-suite executive, board member – whatever your role, there is no shortage of reading material to inform your decisions. What you need is time, and maybe some suggestions on what to read.

One report I’ve found useful through the years is the Global Risks report, now in its 12th iteration. In presentations, proposals, and discussions with clients, colleagues, and others, I’ve found that the ideas from the report can help challenge current outlooks and foster better understanding of the risks and opportunities in our rapidly changing business world. For example, using the lens of the Global Risks Report, I’ve seen companies discover unrecognized risks affecting their businesses, and others change operations based on trends it identified.

Released in London on January 11, the Global Risks 2017 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 business and government leaders to present a picture of the evolving global risk landscape, looking at both short- and long-term horizons.

This year, geopolitical changes, environmental risks, and disruptions from emerging technologies were highlighted as top concerns.

Using the Report

The Global Risks report uses charts, case studies, interviews, and a broad survey of other material to define, highlight, and explore the interconnections among risks. Its perspectives enable consideration of risks in a broad context and lay the foundation to better understand their potential impact. Here are three ways to consider using the report:

1. Validate your risk priorities: Compare and contrast your existing 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: Encourage leaders from operations and other areas to think how a specific trend may affect the business over the next several years. To do this you could:

  • Distill the report down to how it relates to your business.
  • Use it in different forums to provide context for leaders to consider how and when certain trends may affect their areas.
  • Make discussion of the report part of your regular risk 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 – water scarcity, for example – may feel as if it’s years away when in fact your organization could be affected much sooner.   

The Global Risks report is one example of existing material that can be used to challenge current thinking, approach risks broadly, and inform strategic decisions.