Risk & uncertainty Risk systemicity

When evaluating risks, traditional tools such as a risk register normally regard risks as being independent from one another whereas, in reality, risks impact one another. When this occurs the consequences of the interactions between risks can have significant impacts.

These interactions create a network, or system, of risks where the resulting consequences can be complex. Taking a risk systemicity perspective involves taking account of the interactions and their consequences. Academics at Strathclyde have developed methods that support multi-disciplinary groups in discussing, and appreciating, risk systemicity so that they are able to prioritise appropriate mitigation actions. 

The following provides a summary of our recent work in this area.

City Resilience

Over a three year period academics from the Department of Management Science were part of a consortium working on developing new tools to support European Cities in becoming more resilient. This project received 4.6 million euro funding from H2020.

A key focus of the project was to co-create tools in conjunction with 7 European cities:

  • Rome
  • Glasgow
  • Bristol
  • Donostia/San Sebastian
  • Kristiansand
  • Riga
  • Vejle

An important part of building resilience is an understanding of the risk landscape, therefore one of the tools that was developed was a risk evaluation tool.

Systems and infrastructures are becoming increasingly interconnected in cities, therefore considering the interactions between risks was crucial. Group workshops, involving representatives from the 7 cities, were held to elicit information about key risks that cities face and how these risks interact with one another.

A series of risk scenarios were then extracted from the risk network that was created and used to develop the risk evaluation tool. The tool seeks to raise awareness about risk systemicity through asking users to consider the likelihood of the scenarios occurring in their own city. A key objective of the tool is to support multi-disciplinary discussions regarding how risks can create consequences across a city.

Bringing stakeholders together in this way attempts to avoid different functions working in isolation from one another, which can create significant issues for a city. For example, one large city we worked with noted that “the silo based nature of several territorial organisations… is by far the most relevant governance issue of the city”. The tool is therefore aimed at getting different parts of a city to work together to prioritise resources to tackle the most significant risks across a city.

Further information on the project can be found at: http://smr-project.eu/home/