n (Physics / General Physics) the idea, used in chaos theory, that a very small difference in the initial state of a physical system can make a significant difference to the state at some later time [from the theory that a butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world might ultimately cause a hurricane in another part of the world.
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 6th Edition 2003. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
Edward Norton Lorenz (May 23, 1917 - April 16, 2008) was an American mathematician and meteorologist, and a pioneer of chaos theory. In 1961, Lorenz was using a numerical computer model to rerun a weather prediction, when, as a shortcut on a number in the sequence, he entered the decimal .506 instead of entering the full .506127 the computer would hold. The result was a completely different weather scenario. Lorenz published his findings in a 1963 paper for the New York Academy of Sciences noting that "One meteorologist remarked that if the theory were correct, one flap of a seagull's wings could change the course of weather forever." Later speeches and papers by Lorenz used the more poetic butterfly.
Let’s get to the bottom-line: The Butterfly Effect stands for the proposition that - The slightest differences in one-variable have profound effects on the outcome of the whole system. Initial differences become magnified over time to produce dramatically different final-results! Keep the image in your head when you think about your business.
If the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil could cause a tornado in Texas... imagine what a series of tiny changes in your people practices could do for your bottom line? - Christine McLeod