July 28, 2021
Director of the Global Health Program, Council on Foreign Relations
During the past year, companies have seen the importance of being resilient to weather any challenge. Major corporations need to build resilience both for unexpected problems that might come up in the present and for any future adversity. But how can a company be prepared to be resilient in the future if they don't know exactly what issues they'll be facing?
During the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s 10th annual Building Resilience Through Private-Public Partnerships conference, industry leaders shared insights about how they're preparing their corporations to be resilient in the future.
Building Future Resilience Starts in Local Communities
The current ways to build resilience within a corporation will not always be the same in the future. Over time, companies are going to need to adapt to societal changes and learn from the people and communities that they are serving.
Scott Gibson, the head of strategy for global security at Uber, has realized this throughout his time at the company. He's observed his customers' needs over time and has used that to create resiliency strategies at Uber.
“This next decade is going to require some reassessment of the landscape in and of itself of what these platforms and services are that are becoming more critical and understand the complexities they're creating and how they're dependent on one another,” Gibson said. “That’s going to present a lot of opportunity on how we think about the diversification of resilience … how [the current definition of resilience ] now applied in communities is going to take, potentially, a new way of thinking to make sure we're addressing all the different players in the space now.”
Companies Need To Look Within to Find Resilience
How each and every company becomes resilient depends on the individual business and those running it. What works for one company may not work for another. In this regard, Jason Jackson, vice president of customer experience for Infinite Blue, sees the foundation for building future corporate resiliency through a company’s present values.
“It goes back to the foundation of understanding their company and where they're going to begin with, and back to the upstream and downstream of all of their interconnectedness and where they plan to be interconnected,” said Jackson.
“It's not always looking at the risk factor, because the reality is if we try to look 10 years down the road, we don't know all the things that are going to happen in that time,” he continued. “Focusing back towards the things that we can control and what's happening within our own environments, what's happening with our partnerships in our communities and how our partners are evolving and getting out of assumptions.”
Corporations Can’t Just Think About Physical Resilience
As companies focus on what it means to be physically resilient ー such as protecting their supply chains and the well-being of their employees ー when looking into the future they also must look at cybersecurity. Companies are increasingly becoming more digital and as a result, they must be prepared for online threats.
“It's not just the physical supply chain that must be resilient,” said Geiger. “Critical software supply chain components can be just as susceptible to disruption. So, strong information security among all participants increases supply chain resilience and will be more important over the next decade.”