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Investigation findings: Music to management’s ears?

This morning while driving to work, I heard a segment on the news about music streaming. Apparently in 2017, we streamed more music than ever before by a significant margin and the music industry had a bumper year.

I must say I was a little surprised to hear this, since I’ve been led to believe for a number of years that the music industry is dying because we are all going to be stealing our music.

But it would seem this is not the case after all. So what’s changed? Well… nothing really. Artists still make music, and we still buy it. We don’t buy a physical item any more like a CD or a cassette, instead we buy access to music.

They make it, we buy it – and apparently we buy more than we ever have done before. We just do it a bit differently. The industry isn’t dead after all; they just had to change and are now better off for it.

This made me think about the parallel approach to incident investigation that I observe in industry. Many organisations are contentedly doing what they’ve always done and feel no desire to change. Incident investigation is often seen as a final tick-box exercise that has to be completed in response to an incident. Thereafter business can carry on as it did before.

Many companies don’t like to investigate incidents and aren’t interested in the outcome of investigations because:

  1. they may not like being told they got something wrong, and/or
  2. they may not like being told they should do something differently.

Let’s face it, nobody enjoys hearing this sort of news.

But things are starting to change. Over the last three years I have seen a trickle of companies starting to embrace a new approach. Incident investigation is no longer being seen as the last stage of incident response.

It is starting to be seen as the first stage of business improvement. Organisations are starting to train not only their HSE teams but also their operations teams in how to carry out thorough incident investigations. This allows the most suitable people to be involved in investigations at an early stage. It ensures that all the relevant evidence is captured in order to diagnose the real incident causes.

Thereafter, the investigation outcome is not viewed as bad news to be locked away in a filing cabinet; it is viewed as a means of identifying opportunities for improvement to help drive growth.

Without doubt, the companies who are adopting this approach will be the Spotify equivalents of the future. Those who don’t will go the way of Our Price.

A new year provides the opportunity to look to the future. For organisations, it is also the chance to use incident investigations as an opportunity to learn why things go wrong, change accordingly and become a stronger business.

To find out more about how a robust approach to incident investigation can help your organisation, please get in touch.

Photo by Mark Solarski on Unsplash

Author: John Richardson

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