This Guest White Paper is an expanded version of John R Robinson’s Guest Article of the same title, featured in the June 2017 edition of the TCii newsletter.
Variable and complex patterns of risk
Through Brexit the UK faces an involuntary, socio-political and economic upheaval that affects its population and organisations in ways that no-one can predict. The situation we face is inherently unstable with variable and complex patterns of risk that differ between organisations, some of which threaten continuity.
Brexit is different. Continuity risks are generally categorised by their operational origins, sudden onset and potentially extreme impact, made acceptable by a vanishingly low likelihood of occurring and sound planning. Brexit, on the other hand, is happening, and has a long and developing timeline with socio-political origins and international complexity. It seems to have little direct impact on our conventional threat profile.
Brexit could be viewed as a so-called black swan event, although it’s more like climate change or terrorism, rather than the volcanic ash cloud that we simply didn’t see coming. It’s slow moving and has been on the table for months, yet when it arrived most of the world was surprised, shocked and unprepared. Now, following our own seismic democratic event, we can anticipate many real and media-manufactured aftershocks as the UK and EU economies disentangle and realign.
Softening the impact
Searching for parallels, perhaps the closest we’ve come to Brexit in recent years is Avian Flu (H5N1) and other pandemic threats for which many organisations planned extensively. There are other parallels we might draw, such as the Y2K millennium bug, and now the Zika virus, suggesting that we may be able to soften the impact of Brexit by applying what we know.
Being resilient to Brexit means building our resistance to its individual and compound effects, working out which combinations threaten us, defending and where possible preventing their occurrence, and creating the ability to recover from any that make it through our defences.
On a positive note, Brexit also has the potential for creating opportunities, and how we respond now will affect the greater European economy and society (including the UK’s) for years to come.