Learning Leadership from Nature

My intrepid biomimicry instructors recently published an article in Inc. magazine about their experiences while teaching the Biomimicry Thinking for Social Innovation Immersion Workshop, which I participated in this April, and gushed about in an earlier post.

In their article, Toby Herzlich and Dayna Baumeister write about the stages of biomimetic inquiry, which I’ll summarize and augment:

  1. We begin with scoping or biomimicry thinking, which involves asking “How” questions, such as “How does nature communicate?”
  2. Then comes discovery, which includes observation and understanding of context. We ask functional “What” questions, like “What do we want our solution to do?”
  3. We then ask “Why” questions, such as “Why do we want to create this solution?”
  4. Next, we collaboratively create solutions that fit function to context.
  5. We finish with integrating Life’s Principles to ensure that the solution embodies them.

For social innovation, it makes sense to emulate relationships and patterns in nature rather than a single individual. The authors give the example of feedback and performance reviews, which I’ve also written about.

It also matters what strategy we use as leaders and change agents to disseminate information and innovation, and nature gives us the “r” strategy, which this blog post is an example of: just throw it out there for everyone to consume. Alternatively, there is also the “K” strategy, which is a careful and labor-intensive nurturing of an individual or small group, which is what we at Alchemus Prime do with our Career Manifestation Retreat participants.

All in all, this article is music to the ears of all who are interested in learning leadership and much more from nature, please read it! My thanks go to my esteemed instructors and colleagues for the Biomimicry for Social Innovation community we are creating. May nature continue as our mentor as we address some of today’s most challenging issues, including climate change.


Biomimicry for social innovation is a bridge between nature and leadership to solve some of the world's most pressing challenges.

Biomimicry for social innovation is a bridge between nature and leadership to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

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