Have you got a Plan B?
I spent an hour
panicking calmly working my way through pages of geekorrhea before giving up and using my fall back system – my 3G laptop dongle. Apart from one glitch, it worked fine, although I found out afterwards that it ran perilously close to my monthly limit.
Virgin Media were great – they immediately tested my system remotely, found my ancient modem had transmitted its last, and put another one in the post for me immediately. I plugged it in, rang a number to authenticate it and bingo, here I am!
This all got me thinking about business resilience. The 50 year lag between a molecule of carbon dioxide leaving a power station chimney or a car exhaust means that no matter what we do to cut carbon now, there is a truckload of global warming already locked into the system – unless of course a geoengineering technology comes good and finds a way of stopping.
The problem with planning adaption to climate change is unpredictability. Thomas Friedman coined the apposite phrase ‘global weirding’ to describe what we get locally when the world warms as a whole. In the UK we got savage winters at the end of 2009 and 2010 as weather patterns got locked in a configuration which sucked arctic air down over the country for months. Local authorities who had assumed that harsh winters were a thing of the past soon ran out of road grit. In 2011, the same thing happened but the configuration was a mirror image so we got mild air from the south – the grit piles went unused. The physical difference between the two was minimal, yet the results couldn’t have been more different.
I would recommend that any organisation has a Plan B for operations under different scenarios to cover data security, electronic communications, extreme weather, physical logistics and energy security. But those scenarios must be cognisant of the unpredictability of what a global trend will turn out like locally.