On International Project Management Day, November 4th, Dr David Hillson delivered a thought provoking yet practical lecture on 'Managing Risk for Sustainable Business' at the University of Westminster.
Yes, David was at the university, as was about half of his audience, this being the first hybrid event PMI ventured in after lockdown. It was great to see so many three-dimensional people listening to a confident experienced speaker who was in the same room as we were.
While the lecture went on without any mishaps beyond the normal occasional 'we cannot hear you' cries from the online audience that were speedily remedied as is the norm these days, most of the audience were unaware that the online version of the lecture nearly did not go ahead had the organisers not practised some nifty risk management themselves when the tried and tested university equipment refused to cooperate while the guests were arriving. We hastily moved from the amphitheatre to a lecture room and after connecting two laptops to cater for the inevitable (?) technical incompatibilities we managed to 'hop in' the virtual version of the lecture, with only a slight loss of visual quality.
David delivered his lecture with his usual confidence as he introduced us to his new model of how to adjust risk management to maintain a sustainable business.
The originally advertised title of the lecture was 'Managing Sustainability Risk' and many in the audience did not realise the shift in the title, especially as the now familiar slide showing the colourful Sustainable Development Targets flashed in front of us early in the presentation. The new title proved to be accurate as David generously shared with us his new models for maintaining a sustainable business through the careful application of risk management that aligns risk to the business objectives from the start. The clever addition of three steps at the start of the risk management process help guide the team of managers in an organisation to create a sound probability impact table with suitable indicators that in turn will guide future risk-based decisions.
Overall, it was a great practical thought-provoking lecture, even if the subject had shifted in that 'sustainability' was no longer about the environment but it was about the business itself. After all, a business with environmental sustainability values that is not financially valuable is not going to be able to deliver these values if it is to go bust. If you get a chance, watch the video of this lecture.