Mental Models For a Pandemic
In the absence of enough testing, we need to use probabilistic thinking to make decisions on what actions to take. Reasonable probability will impact your approach to physical distancing if you estimate the likelihood of transmission as being three people out of ten instead of one person out of one thousand.
When you have to make decisions with incomplete information, use inversion: Look at the problem backward. Ask yourself what you could do to make things worse, then avoid doing those things.
This is a professional note extracted from an online article.
Read more efficiently
Save what inspires you
A few months ago, the world seemed reliable, but now it is changing so fast and has so many unknown dimensions, it can be hard to try and keep up.
Mental models can help us understand the world better, especially during times of confusion. A mental model is simply a representation of how something works. It is a way to simplify complexity and provide direction for our choices.
Compounding is exponential growth. We tend to see the immediate linear relationships in the situation, e.g., how one test diagnoses one person.
The compounding effect of that relationship means that increased testing can lead to an exponential decrease in disease transmission because one infected person can infect more than just one person.
Using mental models will help in understanding the dynamics of the large-scale social response.
We are currently seeing first-order negatives (closing businesses), and 2nd- and 3rd-order positives (reduced transmission, less stress on the healthcare system.)
We need to encourage the thinking, analysis, and decision-making that considers the effects of the effects of the decisions made. Then we need to use a feedback loop. This will give us a better chance of making good decisions.
As we watch the pandemic and its consequences unfold, we see that leadership and authority are not the same things.
Disasters expose the cracks in our leadership. We also see people that display strong leadership without needing any authority.
One quality of an ecosystem is its resilience - the speed at which an ecosystem recovers after a disturbance.
SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:
After a particularly stressful event, most people prepare for a repeat of the same challenge they just faced. From the micro level to the macro level, we succumb to the availability bias and get re...
When a certain disaster or calamity happens, we work towards ensuring that the same calamity can be dealt with in the better way, the next time it happens. The pain or loss that we suffer motivates us to do so.
We forget in our preparation and resource allocation to the ‘last’ disaster, that we have neglected many other things that are more likely to happen.
Risk protection is normally done to minimize the harm a particular activity can do to us. There are various things we do to reduce our risk, to make ourselves safer.
Behaviour scientists po...
Having a safety device in place, and armed with the knowledge that we can push the envelope a bit, the appetite for risk increases.
3 more ideas
"The core of the engineering mind-set is what I call modular systems thinking. It’s not a singular talent, b..."
It means to be able to break down a big system into its sections and putting it back together. The target is to identify the strong and weak links: how the sections work, don’t work, or could potentially work and applying this knowledge to engineer useful outcomes.
There is no engineering method, so modular systems thinking varies with contexts.