Recap of the AFERM and SEA ERM For Government Executives Seminar

Preparing for Future Risks: Using Foresight and Scenario Planning to Identify Emerging Risk

#RiskManagementisSexy is the new ERM hashtag that was spawned at the SEA/AFERM and Toffler Associates Webinar on Preparing for Future Risks: Using Foresight and Scenario Planning to Identify Emerging Risk. On May 18, nearly 80 members of the federal enterprise risk management community participated virtually in a 90-minute interactive session to connect foresight and scenario planning to agency risk management processes.

Toffler Associates futurists Caitlin Durkovich, Hans Davies, and Dan Fukushima discussed how foresight and futures principles can be applied to continuous risk identification efforts and the development of an iterative surveillance process. They applied scenario planning techniques to four COVID-19 phases and helped underscore how foresight can help agencies adjust and plan for the reality that society’s journey to a Novel Normal will have lasting impact on operations.

Toffler emphasized that the foresight techniques may seem particularly relevant to the current planning horizon (6-12-18 months) but also can serve to identify potential opportunities over the intermediate and long-term horizons, increasing the value to agencies. ERM program managers can use the current crisis as an opportunity to enhance the value and contribution of the ERM program to the enterprise, including:

  • Linking resilience investments or gaps to organizational impacts;
  • Engaging the organization in scenario planning exercises for high-impact, low-frequency events to highlight preparedness and resilience needs;
  • Expanding the agency threat matrix to address a large-scale, long-term work-from-home environment;
  • Understanding the dependencies on the external risk environment (such as supply chain risks) and the agency’s risk profile; and
  • Identifying opportunities to accelerate technology innovation and cultural transformation brought about by remote work and resiliency gaps.

An abbreviated presentation from the Webinar can be found at here as can the results of an interactive “Imagine If” activity that can be used in planning scenario exercises. The replay of the entire Webinar is also available here.

Toffler reiterates its gratitude to the AFERM community for the opportunity to emphasize the value and importance of foresight in agency strategic planning and concurs that #RiskManagementisSexy!