I’m thrilled to announce that today we launched real-time flood alerts across all 2.8 million (and growing) companies on AMEE providing instant insight into this environmental risk to business. The floods that devastated parts of the UK earlier this year and continue to impact many areas had a significant impact on both householders and businesses – with some estimates topping £800 million for small firms alone. While the flooding could not have been entirely avoided, many of the costs could have if people had been more aware of the short and long term risks. At AMEE we believe such awareness of environmental risk is critical for doing business as climate change and resource constraints drive increasing volatility and rising costs. We also believe that sharing such information more widely and accessibly will help businesses not only avoid immediate risks but also adapt and prepare to manage such risks over time or even contribute to reducing risks through sustainable business practices.
But don’t just believe us — take a look below and go to AMEE.com to check your business, your customers, or your suppliers. This example here below shows Interserve PLC, a construction firm headquartered near Reading east of London, and current flood alerts in that area.
And you’ll notice on the left that we have a new feature coming soon! We’ll soon launch a flood risk score for each business to provide a longer-term risk indicator to complement the more immediate flood risk alert. This score will help the business itself quickly assess its own risk and take action to address it. Businesses will also be able to easily assess flood risk to their suppliers and engage their supply chain to adapt and implement safeguards to mitigate such risks in the future.
Communities have built flood defence walls for millennia and that will of course continue to be necessary. However, with the amount of data now available combined with our ability to integrate, process and analyse such data, a capability that is rapidly accelerating, we need to consider how we can leverage such resources to build new defences based on resilience. The insurance industry of course does provide one such form of defence for businesses and society but, with a cost of over £742 million for this year’s floods, that approach will be increasingly strained. In addition businesses will need to use such information to build the defences they need to not only react in event of a disaster but to also respond by getting better. As Nassim Taleb said in Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder, we’ll need to move beyond resilience to a new state he calls “antifragile” where ”Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”
Amidst every wackier climate and resource volatility our current modes of response and adaptation are becoming outdated. Businesses that adapt and thrive will be those that grasp big data and utilitise its insights to affect change throughout their networks of customers and suppliers.