Risk Informed Strategic Thinking

One of Modern Day Strategic Thinking and Risk Leadership Lessons is evident in the pioneering of Cellphone Technology, The Internet, the Strategic Thinking and Entrepreneurship Zeal of the Founders of Organisations such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Ali Baba, Huawei, Apple etc. It is against this background that we provide an illustration of how Risk Foresights enhance Strategic Thinking.

These entities were founded and led by Strategic thinkers. It is common cause that Strategic Thinking gives us the ability to anticipate and create the future we desire (This is what the Founders and Leaders of the above organisations had in common). Strategic Thinking assist us to identify opportunities and threats lying ahead so that we can proactively take advantage of them now and prevents us from falling into the trap of Reactive Thinking where we only react after something has happened and/or is about to happen.  

According to Effective Governance “Strategic Thinking focuses on finding and developing unique opportunities to create value by enabling provocative and creative dialogue among people who can affect an Organisation’s direction. It is input to Strategic Planning. Good strategic thinking uncovers potential opportunities for creating value and challenges assumptions about an organisation’s value proposition, so that when a strategic plan is created, it targets these opportunities ….. Finally, strategic thinking is having an awareness of what has not yet taken shape, having foresight.”

Insight: Strategic Thinking is primarily about anticipating the future and associated Risks (both opportunities and threats) and ensuring these inform Strategic Planning.The Question that arise is whether an effective Risk Manager should be an Operations Thinker or Strategic Thinker? 

What we have observed over years is that Strategic Thinking influences Decision Making and it involves anticipating major shifts in the Political, Economic, Social, Technology, Legal and Natural Enviroments as well as identifying emerging Opportunities and Threats. Some of the common Tools used to gather Strategic Insights are PESTLE Analysis, SWOT Analysis and Risk Analysis.

Insight: Risk Analysis informs Strategic Thinking and Decision Making. Amongst other imputs PESTLE Analysis and SWOT Analysis informs Risk Analysis 

According to J. P Scoblic (2020) – Learning fron the Future  “In times of great uncertainty, it’s difficult to formulate strategies. Leaders can’t draw on experience to address developments no one has ever seen before. Yet the decisions they make now could have ramifications for decades” He further observed that “The practice of Strategic Foresights offers a solution. It’s aim is not to predict the future but to help organisations envision multiple futures in ways that enable them to sense and adapt to change. (…….). To use it well, organisations must imagine a variety of futures, identify strategies that are needed to to address them, and begin implementing those strategies now.”

Insight: Risk Identification is about anticipating future risk scenarios which may materailise or not materialise just like any other Strategic Assumption that an Organisation makes to inform Decision Making. Risk Optimisation Strategies should be developed and implemented today. Strategic Thinking and Risk Thinking are the same process that informs Strategic Planning.

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