Ask the Experts

On Managing Risk in Government – A Research Portfolio

Risk is everywhere.

It is a condition of existence and government agencies aren’t immune from the slings and arrows of uncertainty. Risk takes many forms and continue to morph and transform with the pace of technology and the reality interconnectedness. It is a leadership imperative for government executives to mitigate the potency of uncertainty by managing the realities of risk and the IBM Center can help them…mitigate risk and make better decisions. Tackling risks requires the right tools and recognized best practices. Dr. Karen Hardy’s report outlines the fundamentals of enterprise risk management ERM in government…answering the how to and the why not? The first step in tackling risk is defining it and it isn’t always negative. Risk can present opportunities. Government Leaders can redefine risk as “uncertainty that matters” and Dr. Doug Webster and Tom Stanton can show you how… outlining practical steps to improving decision making using ERM. Many federal programs are at risk unable or incapable to achieving missions mitigating program risk is key to making government work better. Prof Donald Kettl report, provides a guide of steps risky federal programs can take to manage risk, improve results. Whether you face …. Integrity Risk Financial Risk Cyber Risks Or, risks associated with technological breakthroughs and disruptions…

This video provides an overview of many IBM Center for The Business of Government resources on risk.

Risk Management in the AI Era: Navigating the Opportunities and Challenges of AI Tools in the Public Sector

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has moved into the mainstream of businesses and government.

Business leaders are rushing to take advantages of the benefits that can be brought to a wide array of industries to help increase productivity. Government leaders are also moving forward, but with appropriate caution. When considering the use and application of AI related technologies, government leaders weigh different factors than their private sector counterparts. Whether it is deploying self-driving electric trolleys in a city or retrofitting city streetlights with sensors to make them “smarter,” these leaders must address issues of accountability, transparency, ethics, equity, common good, effectiveness, efficiency, managerial capacity, and political legitimacy.

The report authors put forth a threefold strategy to assist government leaders and public managers with how best to approach using AI, which includes:

  • reviews of prior federal government studies on the use and application of AI. These reports reflect a number of important issues for agencies and stakeholders to consider as they begin incorporating AI; the studies also highlight the government’s broad risk management approach to AI
  • a risk management framework for when and how government can and should consider using AI tools, how to use these tools, and which organizational tasks and decisions may benefit from the use of AI
  • case studies of two innovative uses of AI tools to help manage risks from local governments: the City of Syracuse, New York, and the City of Bryan, Texas.

The authors close with a list of practical guidelines for government action in using AI tools to improve the overall quality of governance, while incorporating similar tools into their overall risk management strategy.

Decision Making Framework — Risk Acceptance Form and Tool (RAFT)

The purpose of this form is to provide a consistent framework for the Service that can be leveraged within a unit’s existing governance or management approval processes to clearly document business decisions in the context of risk appetite and/or acceptance. This document can be used in various ways, including the following:

1) a framework to assess various options in making decisions for achievement of objectives,

2) a guide to articulate rationale behind those decisions within the context of risk appetite, and

3) a documentation trail to support these business decisions. Refer to the end of this document for instructions and additional guidance regarding use of the tool.

“Risk Appetite” Statement – USAID (June 2018)

The purpose of the Risk Appetite Statement (hereinafter “Statement”) is to provide USAID (or “Agency”) staff with broad-based guidance on the amount and type of risk the Agency is willing to accept – based on an evaluation of opportunities and threats at an organizational level, and in key risk categories – to achieve the Agency’s mission and objectives. The Statement is a critical component in USAID’s overall effort to achieve effective Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), and the leadership of the Agency reviews and updates the Statement annually as the ERM program matures and needs evolve.
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