Archive for November, 2012

The profession that knows it all

The theme which underpins Clouds of Vagueness is the inherent difficulty of mastering an uncertain future and the inadequacy of our standard risk management techniques to help with this.  So I was delighted to see the paper by Michael Power of the LSE in the journal Accounting, Organisations and Society, with the provocative title The risk management of […]

Risk appetite – a bad idea

It’s a truism that you can’t do anything – or even nothing – without taking risk.  This is an important issue for all organisations, but the discussion of what risk to take has become unnecessarily obscured.  Specifically it has become bogged down in the unhelpful concept of ‘risk appetite’ and this has added to the […]

COSO on risk appetite – reaching for the ideal

COSO have also issued guidance on the ‘risk appetite’ to go along with that of the  IRM and other authorities.  I think it’s a good example of  how risk appetite would be dealt with in an ideal world.  By this I mean a world with two characteristics: you could decide how much risk you wanted to dial […]

Nate Silver – risk geek superhero

Before the moment has passed I thought it would be a good idea to celebrate a hero who sputtered across the UK firmament just after the US presidential election.  Apart from its intrinsic interest, this post will serve as a placeholder until I get round to having a closer look at what happened and see what […]

Complexity, cockroaches and building resilience

The near collapse of the financial system was fairly widely predicted though the political community is somewhat in denial about that. What was less widely foreseen was that it would happen in September 2008: it was a risk waiting to materialise as we risk geeks say. Two authors with a gold-plated prediction record on this, […]

The end of cycles

Here’s something that I’ve taken from a blog I did on how decisions are taken in public life and the role of media in supporting them (or not). Economists have laboured for years to model the behaviour of markets.  The models have become ever more complex and contain ever more parameters to help fitting the results to […]

Organisational risk taking – a simple view

At the core of organisational risk management lies the question of what risks to run.  You know the organisation cannot achieve its purpose with certainty.  You know you can take steps to control risk – to some extent.  You know that your chance of success will be improved if you seek out and grasp opportunities.  And you think […]

The RARA model – how relevant to organisations?

A very useful model for thinking about risk taking has been created by David Hillson and Ruth Murray-Webster.  In contrast to the IRM guidance it is rigorous and well thought through.  The model consists of an influence diagram in which the nodes and influences have been well-defined.  Thus the model makes an interesting and valuable contribution to the risk […]

The IRM on risk appetite – whatever does it mean?

The IRM has been inspired to issue guidance on risk appetite and risk tolerance.  It’s very questionable though whether this helps us make much progress on organisational risk taking.  Like many articles on risk matters it gets bogged down in a morass of vaguely relevant ideas so illiterately and unrigorously described that many sections are devoid […]

Where did the BBC go wrong?

It is a truth universally acknowledged that having some kind of ‘best practice’ (enterprise) risk management system will keep you out of trouble.  Well, it is if you read the standard risk management stuff, books on reputational risk management and the like.  But as the BBC’s reputation stands in tatters it’s worth asking what went wrong.  Is it the […]