Risk and Responsibility in a Hyperconnected World


Leaders discuss cyber security at the Global Risks Meeting, New York, April 2011Information technology is becoming increasingly ubiquitous and embedded in the networked world. It is changing the rules of the game and the boundaries across economies, societies and industries, bringing new challenges, risks and opportunities. New spaces are opening up within and between sectors, including energy, financial services, insurance, media, consumer and healthcare, creating new risks and opportunities as these industries become more dependent on technology.

The Risk and Responsibility in a Hyperconnected World Initiative provides a platform for decision-makers to undertake coordinated action to set in place the risk evaluation, detection and response mechanisms necessary to protect networked communications and future growth in the online networked economy.


About the Project
This project is a joint effort by the World Economic Forum’s Risk Response Network and IT Industry group.
Increasingly embedded and exponentially growing networks are blurring traditional boundaries and driving new systemic risk, such as fragmentation in governance, new points of failure and unmapped second order risks.

Improved understanding, accountability and risk management approaches are clearly needed. In response to the high impact incidents of recent years, this project aims to:

  • Map highly interconnected key risks in the cyberspace and networked ecosystem and illustrate how they might unfold, while addressing the causes to identify effective intervention
  • Share insights, approaches and tools on how to mitigate these risks in a timely and effective manner
  • Explore measures and tools, while identifying spaces and action that create new opportunities for resilient responses, intervention and policy options

To better understand systemic risk in this complex environment, the project endeavours to address the following impact domains as an entry point to systemic cyberspace and network risks:

  • Unclear responsibilities: Digital technologies are blurring traditional domain boundaries so that current regulatory frameworks leave the relative responsibilities of actors unclear.
  • Points of failure: What are the weak points in the evolving commercial, governance and social spaces? Can addressing one risk give rise to another?
  • Increased dependence: Industries, national governments and individuals are becoming more dependent on information technology. What are the implications of failure? Does this increased interdependence reduce resilience and the ability to manage risk?
  • Blind spots: What are the risks inherent in shared spaces that are not yet sufficiently apparent?

This project is being developed with leading decision-makers in the industry and with government leaders, academics and NGO representatives, through a series of interviews with experts, research opportunities and high-profile virtual and in-person workshops.


Related Links


Scribe of cyberspace risks completed at the Global Risks Meeting 2011