Benefits of complex systems approach to Enterprise Risk Management (ERM)

This introduces a 'systems' concept for looking at Enterprise Risk Management as a complex system. It covers methods and tools, and gives examples of their use. It introduces the connectivity matrix as a tool to spot early warning signals from complex adaptive systems.

Who wrote this?

Mr Neil Allan, Fellow & Founder of Bristol University Systems Centre, visiting lecturer Bath and Canterbury (NZ) Universities, on behalf of the ICE and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) group.


It was first published in August 2012.


To give a new way of thinking about Enterprise Risk Management.

Who should read this?

Anyone who is interested in the complex adaptive systems theory, and applying it to risk management.


This paper gives an introduction to a 'systems' concept, and explains this is applicable to ERM.

The paper covers:

  • What is a system? 
  • What is a complex system?
  • What is a complex adaptive system? 
  • Systems Movement
  • Properties of Complex Adaptive Systems

ICE & Faculty of Actuaries – ERM Series

This is part of a series of Enterprise Risk Management outputs from ICE and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.

Other ERM documents:

Modelling complex risks with Bayesian Networks

For more information and questions, please contact [email protected].

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