Essay

Fiscal resilience: Tools to manage state budgets in an age of uncertainty

Jonathan Davis, Navjot Singh and Todd Wintner When the next economic downturn comes, states will need to be more deliberate about how they manage expenditures and revenues than ever before. An emerging theme across US states —and many regional governments in developed economies— is persistent fiscal uncertainty. Demographic change, spiraling healthcare inflation, and underfunded liabilities have placed states under unyielding fiscal pressures.

Climate crisis: 11,000 scientists warn of ‘untold suffering’

Damian Carrington. Statement sets out ‘vital signs’ as indicators of magnitude of the climate emergency. The world’s people face “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless there are major transformations to global society, according to a stark warning from more than 11,000 scientists. “We declare clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,” it states. “To secure […]

Banks and the changing face of risk

By Cindy Levy, Olivia White and Hans Helbekkmo | McKinsey & Company In a rapidly changing risk landscape, successful banks will deploy highly skilled, diverse, and agile risk organizations. The world is changing in ways that are reshaping the risk landscape. We see three inter-related changes as particularly relevant for banks. First, the digital revolution is drastically increasing the availability and use of data, and […]

Turning up the heat on city planners

By Garry Booth | Lloyd’s Madrid’s climate could resemble that of Marrakech in 30 years’ time, while London will experience the sort of summer conditions that residents of Barcelona are accustomed to today. This is the finding of new research by the Crowther Lab, whose environmental scientists tested the extent to which cities around the world are likely to be […]

Back to basics in decision making

Jack Kruf Is it wise to choose to go back to basics and divert from the ever expanding swamps of risk management? Yes, I think it is. The problem is that ‘risk’ is a made-up expression and has no commonly accepted or applied meaning. Risk is still widely associated with failure rather than with success. Most leaders and CEO’s do associate […]

Cybersecurity: Linchpin of the digital enterprise

James Kaplan, Wolf Richter and David Ware | McKinsey & Company As companies digitize businesses and automate operations, cyberrisks proliferate; here is how the cybersecurity organization can support a secure digital agenda. Two consistent and related themes in enterprise technology have emerged in recent years, both involving rapid and dramatic change. One is the rise of the digital enterprise across […]

A framework for fostering effective energy transitions

By Daniel Hund, Sébastien Léger, Arnout de Pee, Occo Roelofsen, Thomas Seitz, and Kassia Yanosek The new Energy Transition Index looks at 114 countries’ energy systems’ performance and transition readiness. Globally, energy systems are experiencing significant and fast change, driven by forces such as technological innovation, changes in consumption patterns, supply dynamics, and policy shifts. These forces offer opportunities to […]

10 years later: What Local Governments Learned from the Great Recession

By Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark, ICMA-CM, AICP, CEcD The official dates of the Great Recession, from December 2007 to June 2009, mean that June 2019 signals the “supposed” ten-year aftermath to which we can apply hindsight. For local governments, the timeline of the downturn proved prolonged for employees and postponed for their governments. Employees first felt the impact at home – literally—as […]

The new CFO mandate: Prioritize, transform, repeat

McKinsey&Company If you wanted to validate the old adage that the only constant in life is change, the results from our newest McKinsey Global Survey suggest you need not look any further than the CFO role. In the two years since our previous survey on the topic, CFOs say the number of functions reporting to them has risen from about […]

The new Twilight Zone between crisis and risk management

Arjen Boin* and Martin Lodge** discuss the unique challenges for organizing oversight | Risk & Regulation Magazine, Summer 2019, Issue 37. Traditionally, the worlds of crisis and risk management have been clearly demarcated and neatly separated. The world of risk management is largely one of calculating probabilities of nasty events and assessing the level of impact should these materialize. It’s […]

Myopic Voters and Natural Disaster Policy

Andrew Healy, Loyola Marymount University, and Neil Malhotra Stanford University In our democratic system citizens vote for their representative politicians, elected councils as well their public leaders, governors and governing councils. But what about the perception by citizens of how risks are handled by their leaders and what about citizen’s appreciation of proactive thinking by councillors related to public risks when it comes […]

The secret of risk management

John O’Dea Risk Management is as old as Methuselah. Although there are no records in the book of Genesis that indicate that Adam and Eve carried out a risk assessment, their world and ours might have been a different place had they given it some thought. The world might also have been a different place had the developed nations – […]

The Risk of Leadership

A plea for a new search for modern leadership* By Jack Kruf Yes, we have our democratic system as a great set of principles and values for good public governance. Public leadership is embedded in this, at least it should be. You may expect excellent results, because the democratic system traces back to the Greek δημοκρατία 508 BC. From there […]

Confronting the risks of artificial intelligence

By Benjamin Cheatham, Kia Javanmardian, and Hamid Samandari | McKinsey Quarterly With great power comes great responsibility. Organizations can mitigate the risks of applying artificial intelligence and advanced analytics by embracing three principles. Artificial intelligence (AI) is proving to be a double-edged sword. While this can be said of most new technologies, both sides of the AI blade are far sharper, […]

The Guardian view on warming oceans: a rising toll

Talking about public risks. Now with the latest Global Risks Report 2019 on the table it seems that we humans increase the speed of disruption. We are collectively acting too slow in correcting and managing our common public risks. We bring this editorial of The Guardian under your attention. “What we can be certain about is that the extraordinary diversity […]

Cyber risk measurement and the holistic cybersecurity approach

McKinsey&Company. Comprehensive dashboards can accurately identify, size, and prioritize cyberthreats for treatment. Here is how to build them. Damaging cyberattacks and streams of suspicious digital communications have made cybersecurity a top concern of the world’s business leaders. So say the overwhelming majority of responding board members in a recent McKinsey survey. Their answers are further evidence that cyber risk is […]

Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040

By Coral Davenport | The New York Times. A landmark report from the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change paints a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and says that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has “no documented historic precedent.” Read more 

Why whistleblowers are crucial to risk compliance

Source: Inside Financial & Risk. The role of whistleblowers in UK companies is essential in order to establish a culture of risk compliance. What can firms do to ingrain a whistleblower culture within their firms and to protect the whistleblowers themselves? A recent case highlighted the importance of whistleblowers in UK companies and their role in reporting compliance and risk […]

Insider threat: The human element of cyberrisk

Tucker Bailey, Brian Kolo, Karthik Rajagopalan and David Ware | McKinsey&Company Cyber programs often miss the significant portion of risk generated by employees, and current tools are blunt instruments. A new method can yield better results. Insider threat via a company’s own employees (and contractors and vendors) is one of the largest unsolved issues in cybersecurity. It’s present in 50 percent […]

A decade after the global financial crisis: What has (and hasn’t) changed?

Source: McKinsey&Company The world economy has recently returned to robust growth. But some familiar risks are creeping back, and new ones have emerged. How secure is the global financial system, a decade after the crisis? Great strides have been made since 2008 to prevent a recurrence of the financial crisis and recession that followed. Yet there is more debt than […]

Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change

Source: The New York Times. “This narrative by Nathaniel Rich is a work of history, addressing the 10-year period from 1979 to 1989: the decisive decade when humankind first came to a broad understanding of the causes and dangers of climate change. Complementing the text is a series of aerial photographs and videos, all shot over the past year by […]

Risk Governance and Resilience: New Approaches to Cope with Uncertainty and Ambiguity

By Ortwin Renn and Andreas Klinke This chapter will address the major functions of the risk governance process: Each of these stages is described in the light three aspects of resilience: adaptive management capability, coping capability, and participative pre-estimation, interdisciplinary risk estimation (including scientific risk assessment and concern assessment), risk characterization and risk evaluation, and risk management, including decision-making and […]

How to confront uncertainty in your strategy

By Chris Bradley, Martin Hirt, and Sven Smit | McKinsey&Company Lack of certainty about the future is the very reason you need a strategy. Instead, embrace probability. “Predictions are difficult, especially about the future,” quipped Yogi Berra (and, before him, physicist Nils Bohr). This rings especially true for those trying to run a strategy process. Uncertainty is not only everywhere in […]