Nature is the ultimate research and development laboratory, a repository of design genius arrived at by trial and error. Imitating natural designs and processes is increasingly used in science and industry to solve engineering, technological and medical problems. We believe biomimicry also has a role to play in processes. We look for ways to improve organisational culture inspired by the time-tested solutions of nature.
Nature is both competitive and co-operative. Life spread over the globe by networking. Species have prospered through specialisation, finding niches and being useful to others; they serve themselves by serving the whole. The sustainable organisation, likewise, balances competitive spirit with the power of co-operation. In our project advice we seek ways to achieve your strategic goals through collaborative relationships.
Nature is characterised by symbiosis – close associations of species that co-evolve into relatively stable and sustainable relationships that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability to meet needs in the future. So too in business. We help you plan for the long term by thinking long term, with a commitment to the highest standards of ethical practice as fundamental to effective strategic communication.
Nature thrives through distributed systems. The beehive, for example, is mistakenly thought of as a model of hierarchical enterprise. In fact, bees teach a different lesson: the hive is both hierarchical and democratic, with many decisions made by consensus. From electricity grids to the world wide web, efficient human systems also harness distributed decision-making. We advise on understanding the strategic importance of diversity, independence and empowerment.
Some like to think organisations can run just like well-oiled machines. But they have more in common with biological organisms – dynamic interdependent systems of living things that interact to produce a functioning, stable whole. As Arie de Geus has put it: “Organisations are not rational.” Rather, they are organic. We bring this approach to policies, structures and processes, understanding they must work for people, not machines.
Closing the loop
In nature all waste is food. When a plant or animal dies, it is converted into resources that feed other species. This process was once depicted as a linear food chain but science has long since superseded that idea with the food web or network, acknowledging the complex interactions that feed resources back into the system most efficiently. We look at communications processes the same way, identifying approaches that increase learning loops and reduce wasted effort.
Creating wealth from scarcity is a hallmark of natural systems. Consider the abundance of tropical forests, home to nearly half the world’s known plant and animal species despite being less than a tenth of its land. That rich biodiversity has little to do with the richness of the soil. The wealth of life has evolved through looking upwards rather than downwards for resources. Learning and adaptation is the true source of wealth. We seek to mine the most renewable resource: human creativity.
To serve the whole, a living community must serve its parts. The sustainable organisation depends on the mutually beneficial interaction of its constituent elements – owners, employees, customers, suppliers, contractors and the wider community. Profit may be a means to an end but it is not the only end. We seek to help you communicate to all stakeholders the importance to your organisation of accounting to the triple bottom line of financial, social and environmental performance.