The Butterfly effect is the concept that small causes can have large effects. Chaos Theory recognizes that small things can result in big differences. For example, the siege of Fort Sumter and President Lincoln’s decision to resupply the Fort triggered a butterfly effect leading to Civil War. Or was it the sale of the first slave that landed on the American shores much earlier that triggered a belated cause and effect?
More recently decisions by one company providing credit enhancements – or in other words a proverbial “butterfly” – was the cause of nearly bringing down the world economy in 2008. What were these small decisions within this firm that, if made differently, would have averted a catastrophe? It is about cause and effect and how to build that into decision making. In future posts, I will explore consequence mapping to surface opportunities and possibly avoid pitfalls. It is interesting how just a few had predicted the 2008 housing crisis and how some sought to advertise it while others capitalized on it, with the rest of us blind to the impact until it was personally felt in lower housing prices and a static economy. So the moral of the story and the purpose of this section is to be on the lookout for butterflies and how they may benefit you and your business. Stay tuned for future posts!