Biology is a far better philosophical and practical foundation for 21st Century business than physics and mechanics. Process management, information technology, engineering, and measurement offer poor archetypes for business prosperity. Multidisciplinary naivety, an overbearing mechanical orientation, process fetish, and debilitating indifference to living systems are among the root causes of spectacular business failures. The Biology of Business can no longer be ignored or dismissed.
Please remember the famous observation by Alan Kay, the noted computer scientist,
“UCLA has one department of computer science and 25 biology departments. Why? Biologists are smarter.”
The pioneer of object-oriented programming and the graphical user interface also made the famous remark below. It should be an official Business mantra.
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”
According to Peter Drucker (and Colabria), the purpose of business is to create and keep customers. This is achieved through evolutionary development (‘evo-devo’). Business is all about learning from prospective events and relationships to inform situated behavior. All business serves the emerging future.
Biological principles of emergence, adaptation, mutation, exaptation, stochastics, hybridization and so forth are the absolute foundations of modern business. Fundamental principles of living systems shape business and prosperous outcomes.
Traditional management practices like Baldridge or Six Sigma offer robust methods, structured techniques, key measurements, and standards. They offer Best Practices for routine, predictable and linear processes and mechanical, deterministic activities.
However, lofty management fads are the polar opposite of effective customer creation and retention. Authentic business and effective customer creation consist of Next Practices. They are the foundation of innovation and customer creation. Customer creation will never be a rigid, standardized method like quality, project management or manufacturing. Managerialism is the moldering cadaver of 20th Century business.
Business and living systems inhabit a state of organizational disequilibrium by definition. Excellence in customer creation originates from biology, not mechanics, engineering or applications. Biological business propels productivity, innovation, and performance.
The historical schema for business originates from religious, military, and engineering abstractions. This drives business activities like standards, centralize applications, measurement, and control. They don’t fit well anymore. Fordism is a decomposing vestige of the Industrial Age.
For too long, properties of complex living-systems have been deliberately avoided. It’s one major reason sensible people avoid conventional business practices. Reasonable people know process fetish and malignant bureaucracy is wrong. The failed engineering, process and measurement legacy of customer creation and innovation is over.
Today’s popular term ‘business ecosystem‘ originates from ecology – the study of relationships. Contrary to Newtonian-styled business, the essential core of biological business is relationships. Biological and living systems furnish and equip far better abstractions and mental models for business leadership.
The new-old biology paradigm is an enormous leap for business. Leaders are just beginning to grasp network patterns, autopoiesis, and dissipative systems, for example. They are adopting biological business jargon like viral diffusion and organizational DNA. The biology of business delivers higher performance, disruptive innovation, and accelerated customer creation.
Authentic leaders strive to master and express business by revealing and serving dynamic patterns of relationships of people in and across organizations. The key is always about nurturing customer discovery, creation, and retention.
“Look deep into nature,and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein