This is not a law but a phenomenon in the social sciences that people by human nature make decisions based on what they predicted or expected to be the outcomes, and ignore the unintended, unexpected, unpleasant, and accidental consequences of those actions.
In the evaluation community, evaluators are trained to view these consequences as possible impact areas or emergent issues that the organization (doing the evaluation) need to be more serious about.
With confirmation bias, this is very difficult. We always want to hear or publicized what we have done, achieved, accomplished, that we have solved the problems. We do not hear about the consequences of say, moving budgets around, due to scarce resources, ignoring the 'small needs of small group of people,' whereby we can create winners and losers on a day-t0-day basis.
I was talking to a general manager of a research-based organization. He told me that "the pendulum has swung too far, cut off their head- which means at least 60% of research budget will be eliminated."
Research is one of those things that do not have a quick, immediate, sensationalized, dramatic effect/result on issues. This is one of those painstaking, often laborious, untelevised, mundane types of jobs where non-dramatic results are expected. The next genetic discovery to feed the next generation of people will not going to be the top headline in a newspaper. This is not the 'stuff" that could compete in attention with the Trump impeachment or the local Wexit movement.
Unintended consequences also do not manifest in quick turn-arounds. It can take years and years, until the impact is generalizable, can be described, and can be traced to those interventions that were conducted many years ago. Who will be there to ensure, report, and write about it for the world to know? Taleb talks about the 'silent evidence.' Because we don't know what we don't know, we are at the mercy of the present and what is palpable.
We, humans, like immediate gratification. We are wired to have our cake now, and eat it now too! Despite the call to delay gratification, it is very difficult to resist the temptation to get something out there, fast and furious, even when it is deleterious and completely misguided. Not all are cut out for it. The rest of us fall easily for some things and not for other things.
Which leads me to the next point about what to do with unintended consequences.
What we study, gets magnified. What we ignore, tends to occupy less of our cognitive space. Aside from embracing this idea, we need to be open minded about how our intended and unpleasant consequences impact on the work that we do, and how we publicize our successes. With a grain of salt, we will be more sensitive about our actions, be accountable to those that we serve, and negative impacts should be part of the rigor of metrics we use to make critical judgements about our resources.
Yes, we would like new hospitals, new playgrounds for the kids, new schools, and new airport, all the nice amenities of city living. But who will pay for it and who will get less as a result?
While trudging along highways in Alberta all the way to the BC border, there are sections that are badly maintained and those that are kept good.
Apparently a local contractor that was assigned for many years to manage these roads was no longer awarded the contract, instead a subsidiary of a larger company took it on. A few miles from these bad roads are well-kept highway that have a different road maintainer.
Typical siloed work increases more stress and aggravation which leads to more work and waste of time, resources, and energies. They need to work together as an eco-system instead of partitioning work in a piece-meal fashion to contribute to the bigger picture- better infrastructure, better economic conditions, better quality of life for citizens across the province.
Think about the fourth impact of your actions, initiatives, and initial feedback. Then you are really thinking big.
Price is a representation of value.
For a lot of people, price is a cost. Yet, they do not see the real value of the product/service. The heater in winter has real value. It has health, safety, and well-being (not to mention survival) benefits that you can enjoy for the duration of the product's life. It has to be of excellent quality, reliability, and guaranteed safety. It has to satisfy the customer's basic needs and more.
For a lesser price, these satisfiers might be compromised, or you end of paying for more or suffer from the lack of its benefits. This equation, sadly, is lacking in most of the buying public.
A Benz or a Bentley customer is not coming to the store for the price. It is coming because of the perceived strong value of the product. They want what it represents so as the new model of Apple smartphone or MacBook.
Zero investment is zero accountability. Cheap investment is cheap accountability.
Price filters off shysters, jokers, and pretenders. For small businesses, it can safeguard your time from pandering to those who want more for less.
Make no mistake and stop blaming false marketing for what you end up with.
You get what you pay for.
Purdue Pharma in the US is being sued left and right for its contribution to the massive opioid crisis in America. The lawsuits cited that the company denied that its product Oxycontin has addictive effects, lied about it, knew all along that users are using it the wrong way, etc.
The opioid crisis has drained billions of dollars of taxpayers' monies on life-saving care, prevention, and management. Hundreds died and thousands of lives were affected. Here in Canada, it had the same effect. The legacies will continue for a number of years until this is really over.
Last week, it is reported that Johnson and Johnson is also being held accountable for the situation. There might be many more companies complicit with this set-up Time and time again, these things do not happen by accident or some sort of a fluke from the universe.
This is not just the case of profit over people, this is greed, immorality, and depravation.
Where are the watchdogs when you need them?
If speakers, authors, and experts selling products and services have the following words: adaptive, agile, or disruptive, run to the hills.
It is just a fad and will not make your organization better if you just follow the hype, paying for a few hours of lecture, and without actually touching your organizations' operations, values, or ways of doing.
Change is an adversarial process. There will be blood for sure. There are no spectators sitting on the fence that will be successful.
The recent local headline shocked me today. A city is complaining that another bigger city had stolen jobs from them by giving millions of money to a Corporation so that the Corporation can create more jobs in their city.
Well, this is the case of dumb management. I thought the municipality is responsible for job creation through enabling the economic environment to actually become the best environment to get, hold, and maintain jobs and employment for all citizens.
Now what is happening is the worst case of identity crisis and totally misunderstood mandate. Governments should not manipulate the market to create jobs for people. The bureaucracy is already a big employer in itself. Cities, town, and municipalities should get their hands off the companies and corporations who are more than willing to receive the taxpayer's monies for any reason.
So this "you want to buy me a job so that I can get a job" is distorting the market, colluding with corporate entities, and imposing enormous risks for citizens. There is no limit to stupid ideas being peddled as innovations or new ideas. What is obvious is the lack of creativity, innovation, and ingenuity of our current municipal leaders to think that by 'throwing more monies, you can let things appear just like that.'
No way Jose! Job creation is a complex results of systems integration of market forces that encourage entrepreneurialism and risk-taking in the atmosphere of favorable business environment. Sans that, small businesses who are the top job creators end up being squeezed to death even before they can launch successfully.
Who is the one laughing its way to the bank now?
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