Redefine Risk in the Face of the Unknown

Daniel Burrus
5 min readApr 30, 2020

In the past, organizations have practiced agility more than anything else because it is easy to simply pivot and put out small fires as they arise.

But with the world facing a global pandemic, statewide lock downs here in the United States, and a once booming economy now seemingly frozen in time, organizations both large and small are caught in the blaze as those small fires are now an uncontrollable inferno of a great unknown.

So what should you and your organization do to redefine risk in a time like now? Before all else, you must implement an Anticipatory mindset and pay attention to the Hard Trends shaping the future. In this case, that this virus will end and the economy will bounce back, so you should innovate with the intent to positively disrupt this rather negative situation at hand.

Risk Management Redefined

No matter its core philosophy, every organization recognizes that an element of risk is necessary for success, which is especially true when it comes to innovation.

But now, risk has a whole new meaning. With the economy shutting down before our very eyes due to COVID-19, there is an inherent risk in putting money towards innovation in a time like this and a worry that you won’t make it back.

Entrepreneurs and business leaders alike should breathe easy; you’re made for this! Big or small, your organization faces the unknown every day, Coronavirus or not. We know there is never a guarantee of tomorrow; however, there is the certainty of Hard Trends that I identify in my Anticipatory Organization Model, and as mentioned above, understanding and defining what those are allows you to redefine risk and pre-solve problems before they occur.

Consider when a company developed a new product or service prior to COVID-19. What kind of risk came with it? How could the introduction of this product or service cause problems? Additionally, time and resources will be spent in overseeing and questioning if the new product will work as planned or will the roadblocks be so detrimental the company will feel the effects for years to come? And possibly the most important factor is how consumers react to this new product or service.

Stand Up and Face Risk Head On

Daniel Burrus

#1 Bestselling Author, Global Futurist, Innovation Expert and Keynote Speaker. One of the World’s Leading Futurists on Global Trends and Innovation.