Thursday, May 31, 2007

Animal instinct

In an earlier post, I had referred to a book called, “Pulse : How Nature is inspiring technology in the 21st century” which explains how many of the modern designs and advances in material science have been made possible merely by observing Nature.

In his book titled, “ The Case of the Bonsai Manager”, published very recently, Mr R.Gopalakrishnan, Director, Tata Sons argues that management science can also draw several lessons from Nature, particularly the animal kingdom.

Just as crocodiles bred in a confined space tend to be much smaller in size, managers without adequate exposure to a variety of experiences will also have stunted growth. Snails grow longer when predatory lobsters are introduced in their midst, showing that hidden resources get stirred when threatened. Similarly, every company must be shaken out of its complacency and out of its comfort zone, by presence of strong competition, for it to survive and flourish. And many such examples.

Reading the book, I felt that it would be interesting to examine the possibility of distilling the strength of each animal and combining these strengths to create a hybrid manager. Say, someone who combines the speed of the cheetah, the competitive instinct of a snail threatened by a lobster, the nurturing instinct of a bird to create successors, the adaptive intelligence of monkeys, etc. This theme has already been explored in a Hollywood movie, “The Animal” where the hero would receive organ transplants from different animal donors and will find himself taking on the traits of those animals..

Not that the idea is new in real life too. As Ambrose Bierce says in his Devil’s Dictionary, “In each human heart are a tiger, a pig, an ass and a nightingale. Diversity of character is due to their unequal activity.”


Anonymous said...

Reminds me of Winston Churchill and the woman... Woman asks, if we marry, the baby would have my beauty and your intelligence...

Churchil responds with it woudl be an oddity if it had my beauty and your intelligence...

/No I am not advocating bestiality here
// Maybe you should read Crichotn's "Next"

Raj said...

escape : Agreed. One has to carefully cherry-pick the trait from each animal.