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Risk in Context

4 Ways Risk Professionals Can Keep Pace with Innovation

Posted by Brian C. Elowe April 23, 2018

Technology is embedded in nearly every aspect of our lives, including in many businesses’ critical functions. The Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem is growing exponentially. Many organizations are reaping benefits from “going digital.” And an increasing number of companies are exploring the applications of artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and other technologies. 

At the same time, risk professionals are tasked with answering critical questions about the risks these technologies present. And while they’re generally confident in their ability to answer those questions, their C-suite counterparts are looking for more, according to the 2018 Excellence in Risk Management survey

Understand How Technology Applies to Your Organization

To effectively manage innovation risk and opportunities, organizations must understand the implications from such technologies as IoT, AI, blockchain, and more. These are driving changes in organizations’ risk profiles as they help to realize operational efficiencies and affect how customers use products and services. Risk professionals that step up within their organizations and help drive internal conversations are more likely to find themselves integral players in strategic business decisions. 

Collaborate with Technology Experts

Even though it’s essential to understand some emerging technologies, it’s not possible to become an expert in everything. Instead, develop relationships with the experts in your organization. In doing so, it’s important to learn which technologies your organization is using, how they are being used, what risks they present, and how they might help you manage risk. 

Seek Innovation in the Risk Management Function

New technologies can help risk professionals identify, manage, and finance risk. Look for opportunities to creatively use new technology in service to the risk management function. For example, think about how blockchain, IoT devices, AI, and other technologies can help you reduce costs and streamline policy management processes.

Look at the Bigger Picture

Successful risk professionals are naturally inquisitive and skeptical about new technologies and operational strategies. And the C-suite and board often expect you to act as a counterbalance to unbridled enthusiasm about innovation. But to focus only on the negative at the expense of the positive could hurt your company — and you. Instead, you should embrace innovation and work with key stakeholders to shape it within your organization — but do so without losing your risk professional viewpoint. 

The bottom line for risk professionals is that innovation and disruption are here to stay. By taking advantage of your unique position, you can help to proactively address risk and play an important role in your company’s growth.

Brian C. Elowe