Our Visual Manager Risk Visualization Method is a software supported and process-oriented method. It follows a three step approach: (1) Defining the risk clusters to be discussed; (2) Identifying, evaluating, and assessing the risks in a group session; (3) developing actions to handle the risks.

The core of our approach is a risk visualization that uses the visual metaphor of icebergs. Each iceberg represents a risk. The size of each risk can be changed according to its importance. The background image with the ocean serves as an aesthetic and emotional tapestry for the superimposed matrix with two axes. The labeling of the axes can be adjusted by the users in the preferences.

vm_view2Step 1: Defining the risk clusters. Based on the reports from the risk managers, the group first has to discuss and decide which topics are the focus of their meeting, because there exist different groups of risks. Examples of such risk clusters are: strategic risks (e.g., image, prices, competitors, etc.), operational risks (e.g., CRM, distribution, intellectual property, etc.), financial risks (e.g., concise and correct reporting, illegal transactions, data security, etc.), compliance risks (national and international regulations, internal rules, etc.).

Step 2: Identifying, evaluating and assessing the risks. After the topics have been defined, the users can start to discuss one after the other, and identify the major risks. For each risk they can add an iceberg by clicking on the iceberg button. They can give the risk a name and add a textual description to evaluate the risk. This description appears on the bottom of the screen, once the iceberg is selected. To evaluate a risk a company can, for example, use a quantitative rating ranging from 1 to 5 and add additional qualitative comments or statements. After they have evaluated the risk, the people can change the size of the iceberg interactively, to make it bigger if they think the risk is more important in relation to the other risks. Finally, the users choose the correct position of the iceberg on the matrix. The group then goes through all topics and adds new risks and evaluate and assess them in the same manner.

Step 3: Developing actions to handle the risks. After the users have identified, evaluated, and assessed the risks, they may want to think of actions to manage the identified risks. To do so, they use the third window where they can add a slider bar for each action. Then they use the slider to associate an appropriate amount of time in weeks or months for such an action, and add a control date and the person in charge. They can also add a description with milestones or other information.

In the left and right frame, the user can add items by adding what we call a “slider bar”. They consist of a title on the top of the bar and an interactive slider below. The user can adjust the name and scope of each slider (start value, end value, steps, and units) by selecting a slider bar and clicking on the edit button. The users can also change the vertical order of the slider bars with the arrows. The value of each slider bar can interactive by adjusting with the mouse (or on a touch display with the finger). Within all three frames the user has buttons at the bottom to add new items (e.g. adding or removing a slider-bar or iceberg), edit the data per item (such as title, start or end value of the slider, description or textual evaluation of the risk), change the position of the item, resize the iceberg or delete items. At the bottom is a field for detailed descriptions for each item.