From the outset, risk management has been all about people working together to minimise the dangers of certain projects and activities. Every time we reach out and support someone else in our field, we are actually helping to minimise their risk in a minor way, and it’s from these small gestures that the concepts of risk management have come about. The methods might have evolved over the years, but the goals of protecting assets and building consistency and resilience into activities have remained the same.
If we cast our minds all the way back to the 17th Century and the Great Fire of London, it was this disaster that inspired insurance companies to start the first private fire brigades to help prevent anything similar from happening again. These operations grew in size and number over the following decades until in 1833 the first London-wide fire brigade was formed. This was only made possible by the independent fire brigades cooperating to protect lives and property. Even though each brigade was only assigned to protect insured properties, the nature of fire meant that more often than not brigades would be working together to protect multiple buildings threatened by a spreading fire.
Cooperation and collaboration don’t always need a focus on saving lives, they can also be gestures of goodwill between neighbours, which we see very often in farming. The agricultural industry is an expensive one when it comes to the purchase and maintenance of machinery. Splashing out on a new bit of kit for the farm isn’t an easy decision, and farming cooperatives who purchase and maintain machinery together and share their workforces overcome this issue. For the farmers involved this is a great way to manage financial risk, as they share the cost of the purchase and its maintenance between them, and this kind of collaboration generates an average saving of £40 per acre farmed. It also allows them all to improve their production through the shared use of the best new machinery. This kind of cooperation benefits the workforce too, as it allows local farm workers to maximise their earnings whilst the farmers are able to attract the best workers in their area and build more efficiency into their business.
The digital industries also benefit from similar kinds of collaboration, but it’s slightly more “space-age” than just sharing tractors. The most common, and most necessary, collaboration in the digital working world is businesses working together to protect against cyber criminals. Cyber protection professionals from across industries are able to share methods and ideas for the improvement of their cyber security systems. These knowledge sharing agreements are encouraged by large businesses as the fight against cybercrime is recognised as one where firms will have to work together to minimise their risk. It’s in the banking sector that we’ve actually seen government support for these types of collaborations. The Banking Federation of the UAE has created specific structures between the country’s leading banks to make sure their banking system as a whole is getting safer with every passing day.
Cooperating and collaborating to minimise risk is something we encourage businesses to do. It allows every company to rethink the way they manage their risk, and to learn new methods from others in their field. The best developments come from the best operators working together for the common good, and that’s what we love to see.