Riblet#1: The Future 50

This blog has been reborn as a series of “Riblets”. In newspapers, NIBs are “news-in-brief”, usually a series of headlines down the side of the front page of a broadsheet, and a niblet is a tasty morsel; so RIBs are “risks in brief”, and a riblet, a tasty risk morsel… Riblets are also the ridges on a shark’s skin that help it swim faster.  So here is Riblet #1 of this series.

Risk management is forward-looking; it assesses change that may bring risk, the risk to achievement of objectives. The past is not necessarily a predictor of the future, and less so in more volatile times, and times of technological, meteorological, and regulatory change. So an alternative way of assessing future success is required.

The consulting firm BCG produces an annual review of large companies, looking for the 50 that are best positioned for future success.  The result is a list called the Future 50.  The assessment is based on 20 factors from the percentage of market value not attributable to earnings, to gender diversity in the executive team (there is a strong correlation between gender diversity in the executive team and business success that has been noted by BCG).

One of the factors is the clarity of a company’s strategy which has been assessed by analysing annual reports using natural language processing algorithms.  If you do not have clear objectives and a plan to achieve them, then you are unlikely to be successful.

Most of this year’s Future 50 are American or Chinese, just as in previous years.  There are no UK companies on the list, the only European ones being Spotify, Dassault, and Accenture.  This may say something about a failure to look forward on the Old Continent.

Data source: Fortune magazine

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