Irrespective of orientation or approach, risk cannot be ignored – and furthermore, seems to be of increasing concern to people from a variety of backgrounds. Fittingly, a diverse set of leaders recently came together in Canberra to host the QUT Graduate School of Business Executive Advisor Forum to discuss the management of risk in the world of innovation eco-systems. Moderated by Dr Richard Barber, associates from both current cohorts, alumni from all previous cohorts and representatives from industry, the evening featured a lively discussion around the systemic nature of risk.
The panel of Executive Advisors from the Executive MBA program included Rob Stefanic (Parliamentary Services), Andrew Balmaks (Noetic Group), Bruce Armstrong (Aspen Medical) and Michael Mahy (Synergy Group).
Commencing with a lively discussion around reputational risk, the focus quickly moved towards addressing the materiality of risk and the need to broadly appreciate the fundamental business and operational impacts of identified risks. From internal and external risks to strategic and operational risks, the necessity to mature and integrate our approach to the management of risk then formed the framework for a broader set of questions and answers.
Drawing on the range of backgrounds present, the tension between uncertainty, existential risk and the need for greater awareness linked to the theme of emergence within a systems view of innovation and organisation. Whilst acknowledging the role of systematic categorisation and risk planning, the very human activity of appreciation and awareness formed a basis for the view that framed emergent risk as the critical focus of effective risk management. The unknown unknowns that emerge from within the dynamic of inter-related and inter-connected people, processes and systems were universally acknowledged as the key to a mature approach to risk.
The panellists were able to draw upon their rich experience and provide a variety of anecdotes to support the discussion and stimulate questions that were deftly woven into a fluid conversation that embedded the management of risk as an essentially human process that is deeply influenced by language and prevailing organisational norms.