Background project work

With a view to address the challenge of how to provide guidance to organisations that want to improve their own anticipation of and response to emerging risks, IRGC decided to explore insights from the fields of organisational theory, the cognitive and behavioural sciences and decision theory to see if these could provide insights into how to overcome some of the well-known roadblocks to emerging risk anticipation. IRGC anticipates that observations stemming from these disciplines will be relevant for its on-going work.

Background papers

Two background papers were written for IRGC on the challenges of organisational change as a means to improve emerging risk management

Background paper # 1: Reform of Public Organizations, How to Induce More Proactive Responses to Emerging Risks [PDF]

This paper was written for IRGC by Dr. John D. Graham and Dr. Sergio Fernandez.

It examines organisational change as a potential strategy for dealing with obstacles to emerging risk anticipation and management in the public sector – obstacles such as organisations’ reactive nature; internal resistance to change; and limited resources. The authors explore how insights from the fields of public management and organisation theory could help in overcoming the challenge of advancing/changing a public organisation’s risk culture through: changes in tools and operating technologies; changes in outputs; changes in mission, authority and formal structure; and changes in human capital, leadership and values.

Background paper # 2: Assessing and Managing Emerging Risks in the Private Sector [PDF]

The second background paper was written for IRGC by Dr. Warner North and Dr. Stephen Barrager.

It focuses on how organisational change can be used to overcome obstacles to emerging risk anticipation and management in the private sector. The authors explain how private sector decisions are not made in isolation, but in the context of an ‘ecosystem’, which includes regulators, insurers, investors etc. They describe the necessity of having a system for recognising, assembling and evaluating data that could signify risk emergence, as well as people trained in pattern recognition. Once central idea presented by the paper is that of employing a ‘coach’ (someone with experience in overcoming organisational defences) to prescribe how processes should be changed, support the leadership, and provide training and discipline.