Tuesday, 8 November 2016

The Business Continuity Institute's World Conference 2016

Changing it up...

So before heading off to London I always thought it was going to be difficult to top last year efforts because it was SO good. Thankfully there was no opportunity for comparison because everything was different. 

It was actually quite fitting that the conference theme was "preparing for a changing landscape". The venue, the speakers, the theme (even the audience was made up of what looked like 50 % first timers from show of hands) had all changed from last years fun. 

BCI Team - committed planners 

I'd like to point out that when I arrived on Monday night, the BCI's new event manager Ruth was sat on her hands and knees putting up signs for the next day and it's credit to her (and the wider bci team) that it ended up running so smoothly so well done to all.  

Key Note Irony

The first keynote speaker was Michelle Wucker, who expanded on her concept (and book) about Grey Rhinos. Credit to her because it's quite difficult I imagine to spin up an honest discussion about the blindingly obvious risks that we deliberately try to ignore...because we ignore them. But her book looks fantastic. I read the sample on amazon and I loved the statement "Perverse incentives and calculated self-interest can turbocharge our natural impulse for denial” true poetry in our world of risk avoidance! Well done her, thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend her. 

A difficult act to follow though and poor Tim Astley from Zurich was given the task of making risk research look interesting but to my surprise something caught my eye! It seems this was a hefty piece of research which covered multiple disciplines across the globe and rather oddly (to me at least) it reported that IT risk and cyber security were reducing in profile over recent years which even he said was "baffling"! I did hear one audience member mumble "well that's because everyone is sick of hearing about it" and to be honest they are probably right to an extent! Nevertheless I was astounded to see that on a global scale that this space had been reduced as a threat. In my world this is exploding and there are countless examples in recent years of how cyber is in fact the "grey rhino" what with Talk Talk, Tesco Bank, Bangladeshi Bank etc. Up until recently many businesses were trying to ignore the nerdy guy talking about firewalls. I found this quite ironic after hearing the previous speaker. I was like , am I the only person in the room thinking this? 

My talk, my paper, my session me me me! 

I wanted to be bold and honest...( well as honest as I could be without any legal firms knocking my door) about how embedding resilience in the project management world is not without its challenges because it's amazing how stupid they can be! I gave research results, anecdotal own goals and some tips to help people better understand the challenge. I'm looking to put some solid research in to this space in the next year and hopefully the bci will let me come back to present what I find! 

I loved Dr Robert MacFarlane's talk on how we performance measure resilience. He spoke really well and gave some valuable insight suggesting there is "room for improvement". 

Supply Chain Stuff

This session, strictly speaking was not change related but I will let them off! Also, if there was a contest for the driest subject in resilience this would score some big points so credit to the gents from AIG , Zurich and M & S for trying hard to educate the attendees because everyone else seemed to be packed in to the session next door on incident management, the more "sexier" of the subjects. But even without attending the alternative session I can confidently say that they missed out, particularly with John Frost's vendor assessment case study. One of the best sessions I've seen from a practitioner on a related topic in years! Well done sir. Just a shame only a few folk got to see it. You must take it on tour! 

Anyway, I've only been able to attend one day this year due to work commitments but this concludes my experience of the conference for 2016.   It's been a lot of  fun and I've learned a few things along the way. Only complaint is I would have liked to have seen more IT related sessions but I see that some were available on Day 2. 

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