The world of risk management can no longer be ruled by the quants, they had their time of complicating something very simple and easy. The Future of Risk Management lies with the gamers.
When we look at formal risk management as we know it today, it is moving out of the teenage years and the make-up of the future Chief Risk Officers will be very different to the past of “quantified” risk reports, based on historic data and produced (normally too late) by one department in the organisation.
Future CROs must be visionaries, capable of adding value and churning out a positive ROI (Return on Investment) through building an effective risk culture across the entire organisation…. and their supply chain, and their outsourced service providers.
This require skills we did not pay too much attention to up to now. Risk Management is hard work, so we will not be able to fix it with soft skills. The CRO of the future is a tough guy, sitting at the main table, reporting directly to the Board of Directors.
Gamers are used to large, complex, social systems that are constantly evolving. Games can capture and hold the attention of their players because they are always new. This is pretty much like the levels of change we are currently experiencing in all corporate organisations. The pace of change and the intensity of change in all organisations are ever increasing and with that, the exposure to risk shoots up…. the gamers are quite used to this.
They live in a world of MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing games) like WoW and Guildwars2 and RTS (real time strategy) games like StarCraft – a war type game consisting of different units and play styles ranging from fast aggressive small attacks to grand scale full army assaults.
Winning relies on constant monitoring of your opponent and evaluating their current situation and predicting their possible paths in future; then determining the best way to overcome their attacks, this is both in fine control of specific units on the front line, balanced with continued resource collection to produce units. How does this compare to what we want the CROs of multinational organisations to do?
The character traits needed for success in the Future of Risk Management are all in the gamers and these traits will help them to thrive as Chief Risk Officers. Research done by John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas highlights these five key character traits in gamers:
1. Focus on The Bottom Line: In the games that these online players are playing, each player is constantly being measured and assessed. Each player is ranked and compared to other players using systems of rankings, points, and titles.
2. Diversity Is Good: Gamers realize that they cannot do it all themselves. To be successful in a game, players need to build a strong team. The teams that are the most successful are the ones that consist of a strong mix of both abilities and talents.
3. Change Is Good: Gamers thrive on change. The worlds in which they play are constantly changing – nothing is constant. Their actions transform the world in which they are playing. Gamers have come to expect this type of massive change.
4. Learning Is Seen as Fun: The games that players are participating in consist of complex challenges that must be overcome. These challenges make the game fun. Discovering the tools that are needed and creating the knowledge that is need to overcome challenges is what turns problem solving into a fun activity.
5. Innovation Is a Lifestyle: Gamers are willing to explore new ideas and ways of solving problems. Even when the solution to a problem is known, gamers are willing to search for new solutions that will solve the problem quicker or by using fewer resources.
So how can these be the future risk management leaders?
A survey done by IBM found that there were six key lessons that leaders could learn from the online game environment:
1. Apply virtual communication tools and facilitation techniques to more effectively connect people from around the world.
2. Use collaborative spaces to gather knowledge, express ideas and concerns and share passions.
3. Spend more time on setting organizational context and communicating where the organization needs to go.
4. Improve the visibility of both formal and informal skills.
5. Use dashboards linked to collaborative tools to capture key real-time information about people, activities and outcomes.
6. Provide guidance that is more frequent and link performance to recognition.
All gamers already live in this world of leadership and apply these skills daily.
The average gamer is usually a college aged male whose life is centred totally on video gaming. Mostly addicted to online games and often totally owned by at least one game. They also usually look pathetic and seldom change clothes because they never go to bed and they spend all their money in a cycle of forever-newer games. They own serious computers that have names like “My Baby” or “The Beast” and their video cards cost more than the family's monthly car payment.
“In a future world, computer skills required to do your job are beyond the skills adults currently have - except for some of us. Kids who are gamers acquire skills that will give them an advantage over the rest of us. Hence, if you're not young enough to be a gamer and not old enough to retire soon, you may find yourself in an awkward position ten years from now” (Christine-- years ago – on a Harward Business Review blog- http://blogs.hbr.org/2008/02/the-gamer-disposition/#disqus_thread )
We might still have to wait a couple of years for these geniuses to enter the world of Risk Management and we will have to teach them a few soft-skills.
They are coming and we will see the TRANSFORMATION of Risk Management, but they will not be cheap, the babies and beasts they will buy for their kids will be supercomputers!
Get ready to see some brilliant CROs with no grey hair and no “long service” awards, just a passion to succeed!