Every 10 years, the Global Risks report offers a peek inside the heads of global leaders from the business world, Academia and the public sector. For the 2015, edition, about 900 decision-makers completed a detailed questionnaire. The probability and impact of 28 risks were mapped out. In addition, the underlying connection between these risks was examined, since this substantially amplifies the effects. For example, the disappearance of a national government will lead to social instability and therefore to a higher unemployment.
For 2015, 3 ‘risk constellations’ were identified:
If you dig deeper into the risks, you cannot avoid encountering the question of how well we are actually prepared for a crisis: to what extent is prevention properly organized? The Middle East and Europe are poorly prepared for a water crisis, while in Southern Asia urbanization is a problem. Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, North Africa are also at great risk if there is an outbreak of social unrest.
There appears to be a long way to go when it comes to prevention, but in Global Risks 2015 just as much importance is placed on ‘resilience’, the ability to bounce back. Some incidents, such as natural disaster are quite simply unavoidable. That does not apply to how you deal with them.
‘Prevention is obviously important, but so is resilience – the ability to bounce back at least as strong as before, and maybe stronger’
Those who want to arm themselves, businesswise, start by taking stock of the risks. The entire company in all its dimensions needs to be examined. That requires an integrated, holistic approach, a helicopter view of the entire chain. Once the risks have been identified it can lead to other strategic choices, for example about investments or production sites. In the event a risk unexpectedly becomes reality, knowledge of the situation increases the chance of an adequate response. And that is a comforting thought.
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