The need for effective risk management is particularly relevant for the events industry, as organizers and host cities are operating in a complex, multi-stakeholder landscape, and facing challenges from the economic to the environmental, behavioural to digital and beyond.
According to the Risk Management Institute of Australasia, risk is:
"[...] the loss (or gain) arising from people, systems or external events which have the potential to cause the organization to deviate from its objectives."
Risk management is defined by the US Department of Homeland Security (2011: Risk Fundamentals) as:
"the identification, assessment, and prioritization of risks, followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability and/or impact of unfortunate events."
Intrinsic to the concept of risk, therefore, are the ideas of likelihood (the chance of something happening, the potential probability that a given risk will occur), and consequence (the impact outcome of an event, which has an effect on objectives). The unavoidable face is that all organizations and endeavours face a range of risks.
Most event organizers are actively managing known risks, but many have not yet implemented a structured approach to ensure that foreseeable risks are identified, assessed, evaluated and documented.
The survey results from the Event Preparedness and Resilience Report suggest that, while a small percentage of organizers have an up-to-date plan, most are not carrying out regular reviews, or being effective in deploying the plan across the wider workforce.
One method for approaching risk management is to work with a recognized framework, setting out the stages in developing a risk strategy. The ISO 31000 diagram below illustrates a series of steps, shows the linkages and ongoing requirements for monitoring and reviews, and the requirement for communication and consultation throughout the journey.
There are also three proven concepts that a team can work through, to enhance their resilience and build knowledge and capability for addressing the known, and the unknown risks to their organization and event.
- 1. Risk-based event planning and decision-making
- 2. "Secure by design" principles for enhancing safe and secure guest experiences
- 3. Operational-readiness exercises, education and training.
By taking a structured approach to developing a proactive risk management strategy, and by sharing the learning journey with event works, volunteers, sponsors, vendors, exhibitors, medical teams and the wider events community - event organizers have the opportunity fo influence the events industry culture as a whole, as well as empower their people to be ready and able to respond if, or when, the moment calls.
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