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Risk and Complexity Special Interest Group

Purpose and scope of the group

The IRM Risk and Complexity Group seeks to promote a broader understanding and development of best practices in the management of complexity risk.

The World Economic Forum has described our current era as ‘the fourth industrial revolution’ and provides the following definition:

‘An extended era of mass scale technological, political and social changes, which will alter not only how we humans exist, who we are as a species.’

In this age of rapidly increasing complexity, the risk profession and its practices must adapt if we are to meet the evolving demands of our modern environment.

The purpose of this group is to strengthen the links between risk management and complex systems management to bring about positive change and offer best practice guidance.

The IRM Risk and Complexity Group will:

1) Provide a forum for the international IRM risk community to share knowledge and experience in managing risk in complex environments.

2) Coordinate related activities already undertaken by IRM members on behalf of the institute including articles, thought leadership, webinars, international standards contributions, and academic and professional body liaisons.

3) Inform other IRM Interest Groups of current risk and complexity thinking.

4) Gain recognition of the pivotal role the risk professional has in managing complexity.

5) Support the IRM to stand out as a leader in the field of Risk & Complexity Management.

Aims and strategic goals

Our aim is to lead the institute's activities in relation to Risk & Complexity, planned activities are as follows:

1) Formally establish the committee and schedule quarterly meetings to establish best practice guidance on risk and complexity management.

2) Organise a series of events for the international risk community to share knowledge and best practice that encourages active engagement and group discussions.

3) Facilitate collaborative focus/working groups to look at specific related issues put forward by the committee and group members with specific aims and objectives.

3) Promote the role of the risk professional in complexity management.

4) Establish close collaborations with other groups to disseminate key findings on risk and complexity

5) Build cross-industry and academic collaborations to effectively promote the Group and institute.

Graeme Miller CFIRM is passionate about improving the links between risk and complexity management, with the aim of bringing about positive change and aligning risk management practice to the increasingly complex environments in which we all now operate.

  • Chair of IRM Risk & Complexity SIG
  • CEO of Riskoncise, shortlisted for CIR Risk Awards Product of the Year 2022
  • Independent risk management professional with extensive experience of delivering comprehensive risk management frameworks on major infrastructure projects.
  • Co-Author: IRM’s Enterprise Magazine Autumn 2022 - Harnessing Complexity (Enterprise Risk)
  • Co-Author AMP PRAM Guide chapters – Risk Complexity, and Risk Facilitation: due for imminent release.
  • IRM Newcomer of the Year Award winner 2015 - for ‘the implementation of a holistic Extended Enterprise Risk Management (EERM) framework’ (encompassing suppliers, contracting partners, customers, shareholders, stakeholders, and the wider public network)
  • IRM Diploma – Dissertation on using enterprise risk management techniques to manage risk across the ‘extended enterprise’
  • Risk Management (with distinction) - dissertation focused on using business continuity management techniques to manage risk in the supply chain
  • BA Law
  • AMP Qualifications – AMP Introductory Certificate, APM Practitioner Certificate, APM Risk Certificates 1 & 2


Perspective: organisations as complex systemswritten by Christos Ellinas for Taylor and Francis Online.

Past events

Risk and Complexity Group Webinar: Risk & Complexity and how it is changing the face of risk management.

Following a handover from former Chair Mike Bartlett CFIRM to the new Chair, Graeme Miller CFIRM, we will outline the refreshed aims, objectives and approach for the Risk & Complexity Group and offer them up for discussion.

With presentations from guest speakers Warren Black (Risk, Resilience & Complex Systems Consultant) and Anita Punwani CFIRM (Chair, ESG Group), we’ll be looking at complexity and risk from two distinct angles before discussing how they overlap and could benefit each other.

This event will allow you to:

Find out about and contribute to establishing the Risk and Complexity Group’s refreshed aims, objectives, and approach.
Hear about Warren Black’s insight gained through his PhD research into risk and complexity and his extensive experience in the field.
Gain an understanding as to how ESG principles and practices can be applied successfully in complex environments from Anita Punwani.

The speakers:

Anita Punwani, CFIRM, Chair, IRM Environmental & Social Governance Group. Click here to view Anita's presentation slides

Anita’s thirty-year career in engineering, economics, management and governance spans the public, not-for-profit and private sectors, including senior risk roles across UK government. An IRM-qualified risk professional, she has served on the IRM Board as well as numerous committees, including the IRM Audit & Risk and Interest Group committees.  Anita led IRM education modules in business continuity, crises, resilience, future risks and risk treatment before returning to study herself, earning an MSc in Global Governance & Ethics with a focus on the governance of not-for-profit and voluntary sector organisations. She represents the UK and IRM in the development of international governance standards and initiated the framework for a standard in Modern Slavery. As IRM Deputy Chair & NED, she was interviewed by the BBC & CNBC during the pandemic.  Anita is a member of Chatham House and UNA-UK.  Her artwork was selected by the World Bank’s ‘Art of Resilience’ competition. 

Warren Black, Risk, Resilience & Complex Systems Consultant. Click here to view Warren's presentation slides

Warren Black is a leading expert on risk and complexity in major projects. He has completed a PhD on the topic of ‘Investigating a Complex Systems Theory approach to controlling Risk within Complex Projects’. Coupled with a 20-year-long career in senior risk positions across the engineering industry, Warren is at the forefront of driving the discipline forward. He has offered new definitions and promotes the principle of ‘natural resilience’, drawing lessons from biological and ecological systems to create project structures capable of evolving and thriving through awareness, readiness, reactivity, and adaptation.

Date: Thursday 8th December 2022 
Time:  09:00 - 11:00 GMT

Risk complexity - PRAM guide chapter

Date: Friday 28th January 2022 
Time:  10:30 - 12:00 GMT


Risk and Complexity SIG webinar - APM PRAM guide

Date: Tuesday 27th April 2021 
Time:  14:00 - 16:00 BST



January 2019 Kick Off Meeting

A kick off workshop to explore the subject was held at IRM in January 2019 and the agenda and presentations from that meeting can be accessed below: 

Agenda: Exploring the link between complexity and risk

Exploring the link between complexity and risk – The energy view, by Dr Dimitris N Antoniadis

Complexity made simple, by Greg Lawton

Keeping the trains running: System complexity, by Helen Hunter-Jones

Exploring the link between complexity and risk, by Jay Armstrong

The Complexity Challenge, by Jonathan Crone

Understand your connected business exposure, by Mark Turner


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Group Chair: 

Graeme Miller 


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