Mental Models: Scarcity

WE INFER VALUE IN SOMETHING THAT HAS LIMITED AVAILABILITY OR IS PROMPTED AS BEING SCARCE.

How might this apply to great teams and cultures?

The scarcity mindset consumes our mental energy — brainpower that would otherwise go to less pressing concerns, planning ahead and problem-solving. Ultimately, it creates a culture of erosion, where the gradual destruction or diminution of team and/or organizational culture is typically marked by an increase in abusive conduct.

How might this apply to great products?

While scarcity is typically invoked to encourage purchasing behaviors, it can also be used to increase quality by giving people limited resource—such as tokens—with which to cote up, purchase, or upload items. This introduction of a limited resource encourages people to be more judicious with the actions they take.

Consider

How has the scarcity of diversity (of women, people of color, and the different opinions they bring) impacted your group, organization, and ultimately your product?

See Also

Limited Duration, Limited Choice, Variable Rewards

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In the whirl of our day-to-day interactions, it’s all too easy to forget the nuances that distinguish great teams, great cultures, and great products/services.

Mental Model Flash Cards bring together insights from psychology into an easy reference and brainstorming tool. Each card describes one insight into human behavior and suggests ways to apply this to your teams as well as the design of your products and services.