By Mark Sim
An innovative start-up out of Finland called Inclus is expanding into Canada in a big way this year and is targeting retailers and other businesses. The platform crowd-sources risk identification and mitigation strategies to help minimize the chance of a business failing to prepare for outlier events.
The company has developed a specific software tool for preparing plans in response to multiple situations and outcomes through collaborative scenario planning. Inclus has already penetrated European markets and has been used by larger entities. Remarkably, in creating its own response to the economic impacts of COVID-19, the Finnish government employed Inculus’ Scenario Planning Tool during a series of events hosted by President Sauli Niinistö.
Inclus says that it will continue to focus on filling the gap in collaborative risk management solutions with private and public sector organizations through cloud-based software tools. One issue is a business falling victim to recency bias for the status quo, and failing to appreciate the risk of a fundamental change. Inclus has developed a specific software tool for preparing plans in response to multiple situations and outcomes through collaborative scenario planning.
Risk management is perhaps the most critical, but least understood, component of successful project management, business operations, and public policy development. In any complex situation, there is always a chance of unexpected risks materializing occurring with potentially disastrous consequences. These “black swan” events, as popularized by mathematician Nassim Taleb, are the unpredictable and seemingly random outliers that humans struggle to understand, anticipate, and respond to effectively.
Over the past year, there has been no shortage of catastrophic situations in Canada that illustrate the power of outlier events. The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic left the country woefully unprepared in terms of health care infrastructure and medical capacity. Disrupted global supply chains and a lack of domestic manufacturing resulted in a serious shortfall of personal protective equipment in the initial months of the pandemic. More recently, issues have arisen regarding the capacity of Canada to produce their own supply of vaccines.
While it is easy to explain the current situation as an unique and completely unexpected health crisis, the challenges associated with the response can more accurately be described as a failure of risk management. The probability of a pandemic of this scale has long been communicated with government leaders by health experts, and the inability to anticipate and plan for this situation speaks to the systematic failure of organizations to understand risk management.
Lapses in risk management frequently have very real financial implications for large organizations. As the Covid-19 pandemic rapidly drew down global markets in early 2020, for example, the Alberta Investment Management Corp. (AIMCo) pension’s derivative trading strategy collapsed amidst unprecedented volatility. A failure of risk management has been identified as the core factor leading to the resulting $2.1 billion loss for AIMco. The fallout of this incident led to the announced departure of AIMco’s CEO and pushed institutional investors across Canada to revisit their internal risk management structures. A platform such as Inclus could have prevented this.
For anyone interested in learning more about Inclus as it expands into Canada, feel free to reach out to Retail Insider’s Editor-in-Chief Craig Patterson at: firstname.lastname@example.org