Biomimetic file 183: Group Power

How collective interaction can lead to greater business outcome

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The human brain is composed of billions of neuronal connections, yet in all this “mess” organized thoughts arise. Picture source: University of Rochester Medical Center

Highlight: “the collective behaviour and nest architecture of social insects can inspire innovative and effective solutions to human design challenges…Individual social insect workers exhibit relatively simple behaviours, but collectively, colonies can perform complex functions such as routing traffic, allocating labour and resources and building nests that provide physical and social services… Unlike most human operations, social insects accomplish such feats without a supervisor or centralized control; instead, colony-level patterns self-organize, or emerge, from local interactions that elicit positive and negative feedback responses…”

Insight: Breakthrough innovative ideas most often arise from individual minds (or at most a few individuals) rather than larger group thinking. Yet, group thinking is key to adjust decisions that are to be applied within the group and/or beyond; it is an integral part of the delivery process. The paradox between restricted and larger group thinking can be challenging in modern change management strategies.

The common pyramidal top-down hierarchies of modern administrations is outdated and slowly showing signs of fading. Most corporations still restrict strategic decisions within a close circle  without any feedback from other layers of management. While strategic thinking will always be led by a few individuals within a group, managing the risks of the outcomes is a different story and group interactions can really help to clarify and mature a concept; the larger the group the more confident the outcome will be…

In nature feedback mechanisms are omnipresent (e.g. the climate system, heart bits., insect wing flapping…)  and contribute towards systems stability. Without dynamic feedback (negative and/or positive), systems would rapidly go out of control and collapse.

Are you planning a drastic  change? If so,  perhaps consider applying a robust collective feedback process before moving ahead. Social interactions (with some moderation) is key to future leadership and risk minimization…

More information here

What is Biomimetics: the field of gaining inspiration from nature first to solve some of our most difficult challenges. Instead of coming up with our own solutions to a problematic, the odds are that species or natural systems on the planet already offer an ultimate solution. This simple fact is also another strong case to preserve species at all cost as the intellectual heritage contained within or through the study of species is both irreplaceable and invaluable…

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http://www.bluestrike-group.com/

 

Biomimetic file 182: Ripple Effect

How anticipating change can minimize business risks

water-drop-ripple-wallpaper-2Image source: pcwallart.com.

Highlight:”Researchers at UC San Diego have revealed a new mode of propulsion based on how water snails create ripples of slime to crawl upside down beneath the surface!…that explains how and why water snails can drag themselves across a fluid surface that they can’t even grip…The main finding is that soft surfaces, such as the free surface of a pond or a lake, can be distorted by applying forces; these distortions can be exploited to generate propulsive forces and move…the secret is in the slime…”

Insight: If one drops a mass in a steady lake, it is easy to visualize the ripples. With a bit of practice one can even anticipate the patterns that will result from the interaction that the ripples have with the shore or other obstacles. On the other hand, if you drop the same mass in the open dynamic ocean, the waves, the wind and other factors will make it significantly more difficult, if not impossible, to observe and predict these ripples…

The philosophy in this simple observation is interesting when applied to business: if you are going to implement drastic changes in an organisation it is wiser to do so during times of stability. If one waits for a period of crisis (e.g. a financial downturn, a political unrest or simply internal difficulties) to apply drastic changes, it will be more difficult to predict the impacts resulting from these changes and therefore they will be associated with a high risk factor…

Entropy is a measure of instability in natural systems, the more systems are  disturbed the more chaotic the outcomes, it is a universal principle with fundamental implications in the behaviors of the systems that surround us.

Are you planing significant changes in your business? If so, perhaps do so in times where things seem too good to disturb anything…

More information here

What is Biomimetics: the field of gaining inspiration from nature first to solve some of our most difficult challenges. Instead of coming up with our own solutions to a problematic, the odds are that species or natural systems on the planet already offer an ultimate solution. This simple fact is also another strong case to preserve species at all cost as the intellectual heritage contained within or through the study of species is both irreplaceable and invaluable…

bluestrike logo

http://www.bluestrike-group.com/

Biomimetic file 168: super efficient microturbines that run on carbon dioxide

How turning inconveniences into assets can lead to strategic advantage

3D-Print-Rotor-DesalImage Source: GE Global Research. GE. In nuclear physics, nuclear fusion* is a reaction in which two or more atomic nuclei come close enough to form one or more different atomic nuclei and subatomic particles (neutrons or protons). The difference in mass between the products and reactants is manifested as the release of large amounts of energy.

Highlight: “General Electric (GE) Global Research has announced that it’s developing a prototype turbine that could fit onto a desk. Using “supercritical carbon dioxide,” just one of these devices could power a small town of 10,000 homes…A supercritical fluid is any substance at such high temperatures and/or pressures that the boundaries between what is liquid and what is gaseous vanish. They can move through solids like gases…Steam turbines, which are normally 10 times bigger than this prototype, convert around 45 percent of their heat into electrical energy; GE believe their new, far smaller turbine would be around 50 percent efficient…”

Insight: Plasma’s (basically super heated gases) are omnipresent in the universe from our own Sun to interstellar gases. There is a lot to learn from natural systems containing plasma’s and many applications are yet to be exploited. One of them is energy generation and the efficiency gains through the unique properties of how they flow around. Perhaps an even greater potential is exploring the application of plasma’s for nuclear fusion which still has a long way to go…

Nuclear fusion* is considered as the holly grail of energy as it would provide unlimited energy with only water as a fuel (there is plenty of sea water) and no harmful side products unlike with nuclear fission and its rather troublesome radioactive wastes. While significant developments are under way, the main problems remain to sustain the reactions and to contain the extreme heat generated using electromagnetic fields. Experts predict that it would take a few more decades to reach a desired outcome…

There is an interesting philosophy in this carbon dioxide energy development case study: Quite often when faced with an inconvenience businesses tend to either avoid it or get rid of it, which rarely really solves the problem. Perhaps a better alternative is  to find ways  to utilize the inconvenience as an asset and to incorporate it within the development strategy.

Are you facing an obstacle holding you from moving ahead? If so perhaps consider looking at this inconvenience as a challenge for improvement and try to find ways to turn it into an asset; you may be surprised of the outcomes…

More information: here 

What is Biomimetics: the field of gaining inspiration from nature first to solve some of our most difficult challenges. Instead of coming up with our own solutions to a problematic, the odds are that species or natural systems on the planet already offer an ultimate solution. This simple fact is also another strong case to preserve species at all cost as the intellectual heritage contained within or through the study of species is both irreplaceable and invaluable…

bluestrike logo

www.bluestrike-group.com