A more collaborative future

Risk managers are increasingly collaborating in their work with people from within and outside their businesses, according to interim research findings from the IRM’s Risk Agenda 2025 survey.

“Risk managers are working closer with management, the board and external stakeholders to ensure they contribute to the future success of their organisations,” Clive Thompson, Risk Agenda 2025 chair and senior projects director at Willis Towers Watson, said while presenting the findings at the IRM’s Big Debate event in London on 4th July. Risk managers taking part in the survey also said there were using social media and horizon scanning techniques to identify and prepare for emerging risks.

Risk management and activity were also increasing – as were budgets at many organisations. “The role and profile of risk managers is growing,” Thompson said.

Nick Dunlop, head of industries at Willis Towers Watson – which sponsored the event – told over 100 delegates that chief executive officers were increasingly looking for risk managers to focus on people and so-called soft issues, such as culture and reputation. “What does that mean for a profession built on crunching numbers?” he asked.

Non-executive directors are also increasingly interested in risk management, said Louis Cooper, a director of the Non-Executive Directors Association. He warned that risk managers needed to understand where they operated within the business so that they avoided falling into a “black hole” somewhere between the board and the granular controls designed to mitigate risk.

Matt Sharpe and Jo Butler, from Sword Active Risk – the project’s technology sponsor, outlined how the risk landscape was being transformed by technological developments in mobile, semantic, cloud, internet of things and artificial intelligence. While most delegates were aware of these trends, surprisingly few said they utilised these techniques in their own risk management practices.

Julia Graham, deputy CEO and technical director at Airmic, told delegates, “the future is now.” She said it was essential for risk managers to get rid of the “head of business prevention” moniker and to start talking more about business opportunity. Too many practitioners used jargon boards did not understand, she said.

There were lively debates after each of the mornings’ two sessions chaired by Enterprise Risk editor Arthur Piper and delegates enjoyed networking sessions over coffee and lunch.

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