min read

How are you managing the current polycrisis?

With a series of interconnected, concurrent global events taking place, boards and CEOs need to be better equipped to manage escalating impacts. This requires them to view crisis events through a different lens.
Published on
May 9, 2024

The world today finds itself in the midst of what many are calling a "polycrisis." Experts evaluating the planet's challenges for the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2023, found the risk of polycrises is growing, “where disparate crises interact such that the overall impact far exceeds the sum of each part”.

This convergence of multiple crises happening simultaneously creates complex and interconnected challenges that span social, political, economic, and environmental spheres. These crises have been brewing for some time, but recent events have brought them to the forefront of global attention once more.

One of the most pressing aspects of the current polycrisis is the ongoing climate emergency. Extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and disruptions to ecosystems are all evidence of the urgent need for action on climate change. Governments, businesses, and individuals are grappling with how to mitigate the impacts of climate change while transitioning to a more sustainable future.

At the same time, political tensions and conflicts are unfolding in various regions. Geopolitical rivalries, civil unrest, and humanitarian crises are all contributing to a sense of instability and uncertainty on the global stage. The rise of authoritarianism in some countries is also a cause for concern, as it threatens democratic norms and human rights.

In addition to these challenges, the escalation of technology, artificial intelligence, and cyber-physical systems, is presenting both opportunities and challenges. Issues such as data privacy, cybersecurity, and the ethical use of artificial intelligence are becoming increasingly important as technology continues to advance at a faster pace than its governance.

Furthermore, we are seeing an increase in social inequality as countries battle growing economic debt, food insecurity, and health inequality.

Addressing the polycrisis requires coordinated and collaborative efforts at local, national, and international levels. It requires innovative solutions that consider the interconnected nature of events. At an organisational level, building resilience, promoting sustainability, and fostering inclusivity are key principles that should guide our response to these complex challenges.

While the polycrisis presents daunting long-term challenges, it also offers an opportunity for transformative change. By growing awareness and monitoring the evolution of these interconnected events, organisations and communities can begin to take proactive steps to reduce impacts and identify meaningful actions for change. Today’s global issues are national issues that flow down to all organisations in some form.  Leadership teams and boards need to accept the need for broader risk management in a more interconnected world. Those that do will strengthen their resilience and move forward as opportunities grow.

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