Why a butterfly? Well they are stronger than they look, they work hard, move fast and provide a vital service in pollinating flowers – and they look colourful while they are doing it.
While I can’t lay claim to all those attributes, I certainly work hard and move fast and like to think I provide a vital service in supporting businesses to reduce risk.
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” – Maya Angelou
‘The butterfly effect’ is the cultural concept that small events can combine to have large, widespread consequences – a useful metaphor for improvement projects as it is best practice to follow the Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle to lead to well planned and incremental improvements.
Because I am an auditor and like to reference things properly, the phrase ‘butterfly effect’ comes from a paper written and presented by Edward Lorenz who was an MIT meteorologist in the 60s and 70s. In 1972 he presented a paper called ‘Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?’ to the 139th meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Lorenz had been working on weather forecasting using an early computer program and had re-run part of a program using 3 decimal places rather than 6, this tiny change completely changed the results of the program and the resulting weather forecast.
If you are interested you can read his original paper on the MIT website.