Graham Birkenhead, February 27 2024

The Answers are Out There ...

Now, what's the Question?

There is a biblical saying that  "there is nothing new under the sun" which can be interpreted as 'what has happened before will happen again'; it emphasises the ongoing cyclical nature of human experience and endeavour. It also suggests that despite our technological advances, our underlying human nature remains constant; over distance and time, when faced with challenges, humans tend to come up with similar solutions.  And certainly as a consultant, I can see that many modern management models and theories are in fact much older ideas, and well proven approaches, that have perhaps been wrapped in modern terminology.   I see many companies grappling with the same questions, many of which have been solved elsewhere and elsewhen.

And while we can look at the legacy of human endeavour for many answers to today's questions, there is a much richer and older source of inspiration and ideas that could help us solve many of our more tactical and systemic challenges.    And that is the natural world around us.  Over millions or billions of years of evolution, living organisms have already found efficient and well-adapted solutions to a whole myriad of problems and challenges, and we humans can learn from these to add innovation in our own designs and processes.

Here are some of nature's great inventions that have been incorporated into everyday human endeavour:

 While these are some very specific and product oriented solutions, nature is inspiring us at more systemic, organisational, and societal level too:

Those are just a few of many examples. Some are new and leading edge, some are very familiar to us.  


“What if, every time I started to invent something, I asked, ‘How would nature solve this?’”

"Nature offers us a sanctified portfolio of products and processes that have been field-tested and market-proven over an R&D period of 3.8 billion years."

Janine Benyus, Biologist and a leader in the field of biomimicry 


Whatever your challenge or question, the answer is probably out there somewhere; sure, some tweaking may be needed to adapt the answer to your unique circumstances.  The enduring question remains not of the availability of answers but of our willingness to seek them in the wisdom of the world around us, to creatively adapt and apply them.   

By the nature of our work, consultants have very broad exposure to both the questions and the answers - we don't by any means have all the answers, but we often know how to go about finding out.  Give us a call.



Written by

Graham Birkenhead


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