June 17: Second order thinking

Are you taking your decision-making beyond first order thinking?

Source: Noah Pepper
Published: August 2018

Second order thinking

Are you taking your decision-making beyond first order thinking?

Most people stop here, only considering the intended result of a decision. Second order thinking requires you to go a step further by investigating the consequences of the first order effects. 

A classic example is the Cane Toad. The Cane Toad was introduced into Australia to control agricultural pests, but is now an invasive species harming Australian wildlife. Second order thinking could have stopped this destructive decision:

First order thinking: Cane Toads will kill pests.

Second order thinking: Cane Toads are poisonous and have no regional predators. They will become pests themselves.

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