Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Unintended Consequences

"Herein lies a stunning irony. Defensive medicine is rooted in the goal of avoiding mistakes. But each additional procedure or test, no matter how cautiously performed, injects fresh possibility or error."

Sanjay Gupta, "More Treatment, More Mistakes, The New York Times Op-Ed, Wednesday, August 1, 2012.

More broadly, there is a class of mistakes that derive from investments and interventions aimed to solve social and economic problems -- for the purpose of doing good. These kind of mistakes are frequently called "unintended consequences." Before and After Action Reviews and Premortems should add simple question about unintended consequences so that we can enhance awareness that our good actions may produce bad results.

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