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Every day, risk managers focus on known and common threats to their organizations, applying to their trade a standard set of tools that are both well-developed and commonly accepted. Like most disciplines, corporate risk management has a comfort zone where time-tested methods have a fairly predictable impact on results. When I was a risk manager in a large, global corporation, I operated happily in this comfort zone for many years, and with great success. Management was pleased when the efforts of my team reduced the company’s total cost of risk, and we sometimes even produced unusual outcomes that contributed significantly to a strategic corporate priority.

Then came September 11, 2001. The twin towers were a game changer for most of the world and certainly for risk management professionals. No longer could a successful risk manager limit his or her view of risk to the known, expected, and well-understood. For the first time, unknown, highly uncertain, unexpected, and poorly understood risks—in other words, “emerging risks”—were not only relevant, they were a priority.

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