Unintended Consequences

Unintended consequences are what we refer to when a decision we make has an outcome that was not anticipated. There wouldn't be much more for us to learn if we stopped there. Join Paul as he defines unintended consequences, what a system is, what second-order thinking is, and how connections in a system can lead to unexpected results. He also outlines some causes of unintended consequences and the measures to avoid those.

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5 videos • 51 minutes

  • What are Unintended Consequences?

    In the first video of this series, Paul Orlando lays down the basics for what a system is and some contemporary examples of systems. Furthermore, he will explore how second-order thinking leads to unintended consequences and system surprises.

    06:36

  • Good Intentions and Bad Outcomes

    Trying to make improvements isn’t as easy. In fact, fixing a problem can occasionally make things worse. But why? The root of the failure is often in missing how parts of a system are connected. In this video, Paul covers how impacts can vary, depending on the size of the system and why some projects made their problems worse - not better.

    06:50

  • The Three Categories of Unintended Consequences

    In this video, Paul talks us through the three main categories of unintended consequences, i.e., "Unexpected benefits", "Unexpected drawbacks" and "Perverse results"

    10:48

  • Five Classic Causes of Unintended Consequences

    In this video, Paul talks about Robert Merton's mention of the five causes of unintended consequences, which are error, basic values, short-term vs. long-term interests, ignorance, and the self-defeating prophecy. 

    13:51

  • When Technology Results in Unintended Consequences

    In the final video of this series, Paul mentions some more causes of unintended consequences and also gives examples of some large tech companies, which are great examples of things growing quickly. He finally finishes by talking about the importance of unintended consequences. 

    13:49

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