On 6 June 2014, IRGC organised a roundtable discussion on the governance of emerging risks. The majority of participants were practitioners in the public and private sectors. Others were from academia, with expertise in various disciplines.

Context: In order to help organisations better identify, evaluate, manage and communicate emerging risks, IRGC first worked on the concept of risk emergence, before developing specific methods to deal with emerging risks. It began with an analysis and characterization of what causes risks to emerge, amplify or attenuate (The Emergence of Risks: Contributing Factors, 2010).  IRGC then analysed the main obstacles that organisations in the private sector face when they try to manage emerging risks. In this second report (Concept note Improving the Management of Emerging Risks, 2011), the focus was on risks associated with new technologies, system interactions and unforeseen or changing circumstances.

IRGC’s current work aims to produce overarching Guidance on Emerging Risk Governance, as a set of flexible guidelines that would support public and private organisations in their work to design internal processes to proactively deal with emerging risks:

  • Anticipate emerging risks and opportunities: identify, evaluate and prioritise potential threats and opportunities;
  • Respond to emerging risk: assess and respond to those threats that may develop into risks to an organisation.

The guidelines include suggestions to engage in horizon scanning and futures studies, to generate flexible and adaptable management options, to determine specific intervention points, to develop dynamic capabilities, to link with innovation management and to refine decision-making in situation of uncertainty. The guidelines will elaborate on how certain risk governance options are particularly well adapted to prevent and respond to emerging risks. It will also emphasise the importance of conducting the governance process and creating internal corporate cultures for pro-active emerging risk management.

This project is led by Prof. Ortwin Renn, University of Stuttgart, and member of the IRGC Scientific & Technical Council.

 

Summary report of the roundtable discussion on emerging risk governance

 

Download [pdf]

 

Presentations

 

Andrea Altieri, Officer, Scientific Committee and Emerging Risks Unit, European Food Safety Authority

Emerging Risk Identification at EFSA
Presentation slides [pdf]

Reto Schneider, Head of Emerging Risk Management, Swiss Reinsurance Company

Emerging Risk Identification and Evaluation
Presentation slides [pdf]

Angela Wilkinson, Strategic Foresight Counsellor, OECD

Risk Governance in a Shifting World
Presentation slides [pdf]

Gerard Hodgkinson, Associate Dean (Programme Quality), Head of Behavioural Science, and Professor of Strategic Management & Behavioural Science,  Warwick Business School, University of Warwick

Comments on the IRGC protocol for emerging risk governance
Presentation slides [pdf]