Have you considered unintended consequences?

Issue 40

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Good morning folks,

Y'all know I'm all about learning new insights and sharing it with the world. 

Here's one to consider.

The Cobra Effect defined as the basis of designing an incentive program to resolve a problem, which rewards people for worsening the nature of the problem.

The ramification of the cobra effect engenders unintended consequences. Unplanned, reckless decisions are the result of first-order thinking. It's an easy and convenient method of resolving the immediate problem without considering the consequences.

The terminology came into motion during the colonial rule of British in India. The British administration took notice of the increasing number of venomous cobras in Delhi. As a measure, they initiated a bounty on every dead cobra. The incentive program ran smoothly with the locals bringing back dead cobras. Interestingly, some enterprising locals took advantage of the bounty program. They began breeding the cobras to increase their revenue. When the officials were made aware of these opportunists, they took measure by scrapping the bounty. Now the Cobra farmers possessed worthless cobras - and as a result, they were released back into the wild, hence increasing the population.

Second, third or nth order thinking is a means to avoid the Cobra Effect. We engender a thinking process that is not linear. To establish a well-thought-out process which encompasses 'and what then?' question sets. Another thinking model to consider would be the Post-mortem analysis. 

I would love to know if you have experienced any examples of Cobra effects in your life.

Let me know in the comments below.


P.S. - Visit my home on the internet abhisheknair.org

Snippet of Value

  1. Article: 100-day Practice and Suck less Challenge, the daily practice of improving each day. The accountability plan of getting better by 1 % through an accountability sheet. So if you're starting the year with a endeavour you wish to learn - use this to hold yourself accountable for your every day improvements.

  2. What I’m reading - My first book of the New Year: The psychology of Money by Morgan Housel.

  3. Quote I’m pondering on -

    When you wake up in the morning, whether you slept for five hours or ten, you’ve had a nice long break from the Busy Bandwagon and the Infinity Pools. This is a golden moment. The day is fresh, your brain is rested, and you have no reason to feel distracted yet. No news items to stress about, no work emails to stew over. Savor it. Don’t reach for email, Twitter, Facebook, or the news right away. It’s very tempting to do a check-in first thing in the morning and get the latest updates; after all, something in the world always changes overnight.

    Book: Make Time: How to focus on what matters every day by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky

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