To Look Backward To Go Forward

The internet is full of information on global trends and futuristic predictions.  So, here is but another link to such a prediction prepared by Futurist Anne Lise Kjaer in October 2007.

You may have seen this before, probably back in 2007!  But, one of the key learnings for me from the global financial crisis (GFC) is we need to look backwards as well as forwards to better understand the future.

What do I mean by this?  Well before the GFC there were discussions at conferences and on the internet around sub-prime loans (aka this conference in Las Vegas).

What didn’t happen, is we didn’t keep looking at what we were already talking about or review the past because we fell into a sense of confidence of where we were today.  We continued to write papers on 2010 and beyond, not realising that what we had been talking about only the year before was about to strike us down.  Therefore, it is important that the risk professional works in multiple frames of mind:

  • The present – focusing on what they are seeing today around them;
  • The future – looking at what is over the horizon, generally surrounding new technologies, ideas or innovations; and
  • The past – what have we been talking about, both positive and negative, and could the positives turn negative and vice-versa.

The reality is we learn from all these states of mind, and to neglect any one is a risk not worth taking.

So, although you may see old documents or internet articles on topics, don’t discard them.  They may just provide the information you really need.

That leads me back to this document on 2010+ detailed at the start of this post.  It is worth a re-read and rethink what it means for you and your organisation.


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.

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