For the EVOLution of Business

The Evolutionary Principles of Innovation with Dr. Tamsin Woolley-Barker

Episode Summary

Trained as an evolutionary biologist, Dr. Tamsin Woolley-Barker kept noticing patterns in nature that also revealed insights about our own human nature. When she learned about the field of biomimicry (innovation inspired by nature), she realized she was not alone in recognizing all that evolution could teach about cultivating more innovative organizations. With clients that now include Cisco, Google, Facebook and IDEO, the corporate world is starting to evolve too! What else can nature teach us about building more innovative, conscious organizations? Tune in to this episode recorded live at Conscious Capitalism 2019! Dr. Tamsin is an Evolutionary Biologist, Innovation Consultant, and Biomimicry Professional with a doctorate in Evolutionary Anthropology from New York University. She was among the first cohort to receive the Biomimicry Masters degree from Arizona State University’s Biomimicry Center, where she now serves as Adjunct Professor. Her book TEEMING: How Superorganisms Work to Build Infinite Wealth in a Finite World is an a #1 Amazon Bestseller in Organizational Learning, Environmental Economics, Ecology, and Animal Behavior—testament to its interdisciplinary nature. The book has been read on every continent and is entering its second printing. Dr. Tamsin puts her 30 years deep expertise in evolution and 20 years in business to work to provide biomimicry innovation for a global clientele—everything from aerospace and automotive design, material science and consumer products, business models, resilient cities, green build and circular economy, leadership and organizational design, while transforming management-heavy institutional machines into living things that thrive on change—just as she did.

Episode Notes

[0:30] Tamsin's path from Evolutionary Biology to consulting
[3:00] Leveraging Evolutionary principles for business innovation
[6:00] How diversity and autonomy in ants creates collective intelligence
[7:30] Distributed leadership like birds flying in formation
[8:00] Leaders that don't give direction, but instead act as "cultural gardeners"
[9:00] Alignment with other movements
Frederic Laloux's Reinventing Organizations:
General McChrystal's Team of Teams:
[10:00] Evolutionary teamwork with shared identity, shared purpose and simple rules
[12:00] Creating value for the next generation
[13:30] Building more sustainably through biomimicry - "any waste in nature becomes an opportunity"
[15:00] Diversity: the raw feedback of adaptation
[16:45] Bringing an EVOLutionary perspective to the Conscious Capitalism community
[19:30] Applying evolutionary principles inside your organization
[21:15] Getting leaders to give up control toward culture crafting, support, mentorship
[23:15] Creating clarity of decision making through clarity of purpose
[27:30] Using individual purpose and passion to create a collective vision
Learn more about Dr. Tamsin and Teeming here:
Learn more about David Sloan Wilson and the Evolution Institute here: