Top resources for digital research

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digital_picPerforming digital research is critical for the innovative risk professional.

When we consider the innovation of risk, we are continually looking at every possible avenue to advance risk management in its practices through scanning the globe for the newest digital resources.  Risk management must be at the forefront of the usage of digital technology, just like every other professional area such as digital market research, digital delivery, operational excellence, financial performance and business management.

In this two part post we present our top 10 websites and then in the second part our top 20 applications for digital research for the innovative risk professional. The visualisation below (click to see in full scale) provides an interesting summary of the first part of the post on performing digital research to advance the innovative risk professional.

web visual

To learn more about our selections we provide further detail below on the top 10 websites that we recommend to assist every risk professional in better leveraging the power of digital research.

Twitter
Image source Mashable.com

Twitter.  We recommend establishing a Twitter account that links to a variety of digital research topics, ranging from twitter users focused on risk management, to government agencies, local and global news, and entrepreneurs and innovators across the globe.  By utilising the power of Twitter you will quickly find that information is coming to you on topics that you may not have previously considered in your role as a risk professional.

[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”630px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]When it comes to using Twitter we have two key pieces of advice. Firstly, consider creating multiple Twitter accounts with the particular purpose of keeping each account as a pure reading/alert service for a topic or area of focus. With these focused accounts you can then easily read the Twitter feed in historical context and remain focused on a particular area. Using a single Twitter account can get more difficult to find the “rose amongst the thorns”. It is important to note though that Twitter does have the capability to create lists where you can bring together people on Twitter under a topic or focus area. [/dropshadowbox]

For a list example, we have created a list for resources we believe influence the direction of the innovation of risk.

Instapaper
Image source estudiosdeinglesdotnet.wordpress.com

Instapaper.  For a long time web search results and articles from websites have provided invaluable digital research for the risk professional.  One of the key difficulties has been the ability to track and record the articles we have identified for later usage in internal reporting.  Everyone can probably remember the time that they read something, only to be trying to recall later what the article was and the detail in the article.  Instapaper provides a practical and simple solution to capture and record those articles for later recollection and incorporation into management reporting.

[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”630px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]When it comes to using Instapaper, ensure you load the application on your mobile devices. You will ultimately find that it is the articles whilst your are using your mobile device that you want to recall for later. From a desktop perspective, search for a plugin for your browser, in our case Chrome. These plugins provide you with a one-click option within your browser to store the articles of importance. If there is no plugin, Instapaper offer a shortcut for you to save those precious digital market research items, just follow their instructions on the Extra link in Instapaper.[/dropshadowbox]

LinkedIn
Image source www.douglaslim.org

LinkedIn.    Over the past few year LinkedIn has moved from being simply a place to share your resume with your network to a social engagement channel.  As part of this transition, it has become an invaluable digital research channel.  This has been clearly evidenced in the world of digital market research which now considers LinkedIn one of its key market research online communities.  LinkedIn provides the risk professional with access to digital research that is being shared by members of their own network.  This provides an additional layer of quality to the information being shared in this channel.  Over the last few months this has even extended into a massive increase in LinkedIn Groups which bring together like minded people to discuss specific topics in either an open or closed channel.

[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”630px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]LinkedIn can become a challenge to navigate as your network becomes larger. The Interests menu within LinkedIn provides access to Companies, Groups, Influencers and News which are valuable digital resources within LinkedIn. Within the Groups area of LinkedIn there is however a limit in the number of groups you can join and/or create. We recommend ensuring that you target your groups across a wide range of topics rather than joining multiple groups within the same topic. For the risk professional, we need to navigate across a broad spectrum of topics so the more diverse the groups, the better you will be able to scan the spectrum of information.[/dropshadowbox]

Our group, called the innovation of risk, is an example of the type of group you can join to obtain targeted information on topics that can assist you as a Risk Manager.

YouTube
YouTube

YouTube.  YouTube was once the domain of family videos and funny scenes, but not any longer.  YouTube has become a source of current affairs, emerging trends in technology and business, and a platform for social change.  The information provided in YouTube is an invaluable source of information for the risk professional.  From videos explaining business strategies to cutting edge analysis of current events across all spectrums of life, a risk professional who is seeking out knowledge should ensure they have a YouTube account and subscribe to as many channels as possible across key areas that are critical to the business being supported.

[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”630px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]YouTube offers a number of options for keeping up to date with the audio-visual content contained within the millions of videos loaded every week. Subscribing to channels is a very simple way to ensure that YouTube provides you with great information  every time you visit. It also means you can be notified by email when your subscribed content is updated. It is important to be broad in your thinking on the channels to subscribe to, as the information need may come from very unlikely sources. Using playlists also provides you with a way of ensuring you do not lose those videos that you will need for the future. You can also use YouTube as a way to share your own content to generate discussions. [/dropshadowbox]

Feel free to visit our YouTube channel to better visualise the benefits of this medium.

Facebook
Facebook

Facebook.  This is probably one that would surprise a lot of risk professionals.  Facebook is seen as a location for family and friends to interact with each other and not as the domain of providing information to understand the current external environment.  In actual fact Facebook provides a simple and clear place to source information for your digital research from real people.  Through Facebook people share what resonates with them as consumers, as individuals and as voters.  Organisations that embrace this information can utilise it as a power digital market research tool but for the risk professional it can provide invaluable information to understand trends and current events that are impacting a broad cross section of your community.

[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”630px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Having a Facebook account goes beyond just utilising it to interact with your friends and families. Organisations across the globe are creating Facebook presences (pages) where they share information about their activities to their customers. Through Facebook you can potentially gain an understanding of where your competitors are varying their strategy, as they may share or ask questions of customers using this channel, which will assist you manage the risk of external competition. We recommend ensuring you Like organisations that are in areas of focus for your business and also Like key news and research parties who utilise Facebook to share their content (sharing through Facebook is actually a way to significantly increase your readership).[/dropshadowbox]

We have, for example, created a page on the Innovation of Risk to share specific information that we feel is relevant to the risk managers of today and tomorrow.

Google+
Google+

Google+.  One of the newer entrants in the information sharing and social media space.  Google+ offers a multitude of options for its users to interact and share information, and it is through Google+ that you can take your digital research to an even higher level.  Over the last few months in particular, Google+ has become a central point for obtaining upcoming trends in technology, digital and innovation.  This can be attributed to the fact that Android and Google are taking a pioneering role in advancing technology across multiple layers.  Digital market research is a key pillar of the growth in Google+ and has provided a great launching pad for the risk professional to embrace new information across multiple topics.

[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”630px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Creating a Google+ presence has shifted very quickly into being a competitive advantage in obtaining up to date information on innovation. What makes Google unique for us is the ability to interact across multiple platforms, ranging from exploring the internet, communities and Hangouts (video chat with multiple attendees). A risk professional can easily identify key topics and then join relevant communities and watch relevant Google Hangouts to get themselves up to date. Google’s ownership of YouTube provides it with a fantastic way of interacting across video and the web. Although still in its forming days we have found that by having a Google+ presence that it has broadened our exposure to alternative ideas and products that we would otherwise not have utilised.[/dropshadowbox]

Please feel free to visit our Google+ Community.

TED
Image source TED.com

TED. TED’s byline speaks for why this is a valuable resource for digital research, “ideas worth spreading”.  What makes TED unique is the information resources are presented in an engaging style and the ideas are not always in areas you would necessary consider researching.  TED speeches are designed to be engaging and their broad range of topics and speakers makes it the single most rich location for watching presentations by speakers across the globe.  TED is available both as a website, as well as applications on your mobile devices.  If you have a long business trip coming up, the applications (or apps) provide you with the ability to store the presentations on your device, and this is a great way to watch and listen to topics and ideas that may be not in your normal range of assessment.

[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”630px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]We have found TED to be a key location to understand areas of potential change or evolution which may not directly be in our business areas, but has the potential to either impact or be leveraged for our business areas. The mobile versions of the TED videos provides a very engaging way to watch the presentations, of which most are around 20 minutes in length. We really encourage a broad view of the content of TED. Although you can focus yourself on certains topics such as technology, business, science, design, etc, we have found that by moving around all of these areas that we have learnt significantly from other industries and fields of expertise.[/dropshadowbox]

Kickstarter
Image source www.digitaltrends.com

Kickstarter.  In regards to digital resources for the risk professional, this is probably the most unexpected for most people to see in this list.  Kickstarter, for those unfamiliar with this site, provides individuals and organisations with an avenue to pitch their idea to everybody and to then receive “funding” from people to get their idea to production.  Kickstarter has seen some amazing success stories including the Pebble watch, a digital watch that interacts with your smart phone.  Kickstarter is also a wealth of digital research as it provides critical information for the risk professional to see the future potential market breakers and game changers.  Kickstarter projects range from technology projects to movie production.  By scanning the potential projects in Kickstarter the risk professional can potentially identify external impacts on their businesses.

[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”630px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]We have found that Kickstarter has provided some fantastic insights into the future of technology. Open source projects and ideas within Kickstarter will potentially change the game for many companies. But, Kickstarter’s benefits go beyond just the digital research. Kickstarter also provides the risk professional with potential solutions for the complex problems faced in managing risk. For instance, a Kickstarter project we funded a few years ago is now one of the recommended applications we will detail in our next post for the risk professional. We also funded a project to provide an open source solution for visual data analysis. These examples are just a few of the potential opportunities within Kickstarter.[/dropshadowbox]

Paper.li
Image source paper.li

Paper.li.  This innovative and unique website provides the user with the ability to “create” a newspaper on your particular research topic and then share this with the broader community.  With a simple interface to establish your daily “paper”, you can bring in many of the sources above plus article searches that you have in your relevant readers.  The system then automatically generates an edition of your “paper” and delivers it to your electronic mailbox.

[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”630px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]We have found that Paper.li provides two key benefits. The first is the ability to subscribe to paper’s that people have already built on key topics you are researching. There are paper’s on innovation, digital, social, logistics and transport, environment and risk management, to name just a few. These papers provide a simple source of information for your digital research, and have the added benefit of being presented in a newspaper style approach. The second benefit is the ability to create paper’s on topics that you are most interested in researching. This ability to tailor the papers, and create multiple papers, means you can isolate your topics of interest to specific papers.[/dropshadowbox]

We have created three such papers, being The Risk Management Daily, Innovation of Risk Daily, and Natural Disaster Black Swans which provide excellent examples of this technology.

Risk Newstand
Risk Newstand

Risk Newstand We must firstly highlight that Risk Newstand is a site established and managed by the same organisation as this site.  But what we want to highlight specifically in regards to Risk Newstand, and its power as a source of information for the risk professional, is the underlying Managing News infrastructure.  The Managing News capability provides Risk Newstand with the ability to automatically search and download key “feeds” from sites across the world wide web.  Through the results obtained, users can then consider the topics in a holistic manner, utilising maps, charts and links to the source articles, and transform this data into information.

[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”630px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]The unique aspect to Risk Newstand is it is targeted to the Basel II categories for operational risk and to the broader risk management risk spectrum. The site is still in its infancy but as it builds a history of data it will greatly enhance its predictive capabilities through the maps and charts having more historical data. We have particularly found the benefits in Risk Newstand in analysing the external environment from a variety of angles.[/dropshadowbox]

We hope you have found our in-depth analysis of these sites beneficial in your pursuit of information leveraging digital research.  Just as digital marketing research is revolutionising the marketing world, we see digital risk research revolutionising the risk management universe.

In part two of this posting we will move our attention to applications (or apps) for your mobile devices and we will we bring both parts together in an overall visualisation that we hope can assist you in better understanding the digital research landscape.

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Scott North has extensive experience in enterprise risk management, internal audit, operational risk and compliance, risk strategy, scenario planning, technology risk, technology business analysis, systems design, financial accounting, and management accounting. Scott is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Chartered Accountants with a Masters Degree from the University of Melbourne in Business and Information Technology. Scott is also a Fellow of the University of Melbourne.