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'Super risk' - thinking the unthinkable

Technology innovation may be the word of 2013. No matter the industry or sector, there seems to be a obsession with ‘technology’ and how it will impact business-as-usual. Whether it’s in energy, telecoms, pharmaceuticals or food, the world of George Orwell finally seems to be upon us. Although innovations such as the Retina display iPhone appear increasingly cool to the individual, those working outside Apple’s influence are much less ecstatic about the added complexities facing businesses. Perhaps the group which are most concerned about future technological developments are those working on risk, whose very jobs are to understand how companies will operate and flourish in coming years.

As a report from 2012 Harvard Business Review explains, risk management is becoming increasingly painful; it is not a natural act for humans to perform. But if we can adapt every other industry and function through innovation, why aren’t we doing so in our risk models? Trying to fit today’s interconnected and increasingly complex world into a standard matrix of rules and compliance would cause even the most brilliant mind a headache.

After catastrophic disasters such as Fukushima, the BP oil spill, the many earthquakes, floods and tsunamis that have been making the headlines, experts are pointing to the misunderstanding of climate change as the sole reason for the increased lack of in certainty in risk methods. Do we fail to predict the events because we are mapping in standard ways and not applying innovation to risk strategies? Risk is not only internal and strategic, but must also include a third combined dimension covering the external, the unthinkable – a sort of ‘super risk’.

By better understanding the world they are working in and using what we at Article 13 call a "beyond-the-design mind set", companies can develop insight that alerts them to the full environmental, economic, and ethical risks that matter today and in the future. By making innovation work for them, companies can identify risks - and opportunities - which matter most to themselves and their stakeholders and build a basis for transformation. The following Article 13 blogs in 2013 demonstrate different aspects of our “beyond the design mind set” thinking and approach.

US on the Brink

Posted on Feb 05, 2013 by  Toby Radcliffe (Article 13 associate)

An overview of the Fiscal Cliff ‘crisis’ that the US 

Have you really thought about the ‘T’ in SWOT?

Posted on Feb 06, 2013 

How many businesses have really thought about the ‘T’ in their SWOT analyses?

Governance – as much about mindset as about making rules

Posted on Apr 01, 2013

Despite so many best efforts being made by so many, it is still sadly true that high level corruption, avoidable armed conflict, human exploitation and environmental degradation on a seriously large scale are very much a part of our world. 

Plastic Fantastic

Posted on Apr 15, 2013 

At Article 13, we have long argued that attitudes and behaviours are as crucial to a truly sustainable future as technological innovation. 

Beyond the Design Mindset in Nuclear Generation

Posted on Aug 30, 2013

The nuclear industry must ask itself: how do we make sure that what happened at Fukushima does not happen at other sites?

Climate change defeatism – an opportunity for behaviour change?

Posted on Oct 25, 2013 by Article 13 by Alex Hughes

Behaviour change and its role in enabling the public to embrace and tackle climate change

The consequences of carbon conundrums

Posted on Nov 19, 2013 by Jim Ormond

How do we measure the carbon impact of a product, service or behaviour? 

Warsaw COP - laying the groundwork for an agreement in Paris?

Posted on Nov 28, 2013 by Alex Hughes

Does the Warsaw COP show promise for a climate agreement in Paris

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