Risk Management

Emerging Risks: Do You Have Ants in Your Bed?

Risks are everywhere and entirely unavoidable. However, with a few tools and some knowledge, they can be managed and they will certainly not derail an entire project. In a post for PM South, Harry Hall explores how to anticipate emerging risks and how to react to them.

Risk Infestation

Imagine: one night, you are lying in your bed when suddenly you are bit by something. When you investigate the source of the unpleasantry, you discover a fire ant, and then another, and then yet another. When you get up, you discover a nest of thousands of fire ants in your box spring. What a terrible Monday!

This very scenario unfortunately happened to one of Hall’s friends, but it does provide a vivid illustration of what emerging risks can look like. They may be large-scale events, derivative of global trends, uncontrollable, or even difficult to predict. They may be more of these detrimental characteristics, or they may be none of them. WillisRe, and other similar companies, at the end of each year offer their insights on what they believe to be the most pertinent of emerging risks. In 2015, some of these risks include risks in: outsourcing, cloud computing, drones, technology partners, and the changing of human capital.

Oftentimes, emerging risks are unknown. This could be because potential loss is unknown, there is not enough information, or the organization may not have taken adequate time to investigate risks. Regardless of difficulty, emerging risks can be identified. One simple way to do so is to conduct risk workshops for the sole intention of identifying risks. Other suggestions include using checklists, asking for more information from stakeholders, redirecting focus to high impact events, and engaging in scenario analysis.

People have a natural inclination to avoid thinking about emerging risks because they do not wish to waste their time thinking about the obscure “what-ifs.” However, being knowledgeable about emerging risks can help prevent an attack from a fiery pest. You can read the original post here: http://www.pmsouth.com/2015/11/07/emerging-risks/

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