Assessing Risk: Building Cultures of Risk Assessment for Innovation

November 10th, 2020

Topics: Culture Privacy Risk Management Security

When strategizing, designing, or integrating a product of any kind into your organization, cybersecurity and risk protocols require a fully integrated strategy for business leaders in almost every industry and function. The question of how companies can and should balance innovation with risk is complex, but essential for sustained success. Leaders who vocally discuss the importance of managing risk, formulate a clear process for evaluating risk, and ask the right questions early in the evaluation process will be more successful at driving innovation while managing risk appropriately. 

This year we saw public schools adopt temperature scanners that also touted facial recognition technology as a key functionality (scanners were purchased with aid from the CARES Act). Some school administrators expressed concerns about privacy, storage, and data management, but the administration pushed the purchase through anyway. 

In high intensity, high stress scenarios, humans are less likely to make decisions they would make under everyday circumstances. We become myopic. How do we check our own mental inertia in the face of crisis, everyday corporate pressure, and lack of regulation?

Businesses and public institutions need to build cultures of risk assessment, deploy risk assessment processes, and ask tough questions when reviewing emerging technologies. The evaluation process should be transparent to key constituencies and users (in this case students and teachers) should be well trained in terms of how to use the tech as it is meant to be used to meet your business needs. What is most important is a thoughtful understanding of the risks, where each stakeholder understands how the organization supports and protects safety and security policies. 

Discover Financial offers a great example of what this looks like. Discover Financial formulated an all star group of technologists and business leaders to assess all emerging technologies the company considers for deployment in its business. Learn more about the Discover Financial process by watching our learning session with Joe Bonefas, VP of Business Technology Innovation and Partnerships at Discover Financial Services.

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