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Outside of the world of business, where do you look for inspiration. e.g. Art, literature, science?
Outside of the world of business, where do you look for inspiration. e.g. Art, literature, science?

In the words of arguably the smartest man who ever lived, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better”. So if it’s inspiration you’re looking for, rather than reading the umpteenth book on growing your business in only 3 steps, listen to the man. Nature has been improving itself continually for over 3.8bn years, so whatever problem your business is facing, there’s always something you can learn from it.

“Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed.” Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier

If Lavoisier was a businessman rather than a scientist, he would’ve had a role in creating the circular economy. The linear approach to value creation that follows the ‘take-make-dispose’ model is complete nonsense if we look at how Mother Nature works. The ecological principles of cyclically reusing materials and optimizing the allocation of resources are not only for environmentally-conscious managers; they’re a catalyst for free growth.

We’ve applied these principles for ourselves through our work on conceptual footwear brand, Borough. Among other things, Borough is a brand that uses a single material that can be simply repaired or recycled to create endless new shoes, following the latest fashion trends. Not only does this business model vastly reduce waste, it would also imply shorter supply chains and significantly lower operating costs. That’s a transformative lesson from nature that shouldn’t be unlearned.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin

Business is a Darwinian world – brands should constantly evolve to stay up to date. It’s not surprising for a brand consultancy to say that… But how fast companies should adapt to constantly evolving markets is a different question.

With the acceleration of technologies and rapid shift in customers’ expectations, there’s a trend towards valuing speed above anything else. But just like animals developing a new gene, brands must first understand the potential threat of predators and the environment’s dynamic before making any move, and then act fast. Immediacy is not only about speed – it’s about efficiency.

Until the early 2000’s, Lego was trying to stay ahead of the rising competition by launching more products and diversifying its activities. Products including Star Wars and Harry Potter toys proved to be successful in their year of release, but it wasn’t a sustainable strategy – the world was going digital. Now, they’re taking advantage of their in-depth customer understanding via extensive ethnographic research and careful partnership strategy, including branching out into the film industry and beyond, to bridge the gaps between physical and digital experience.

“There is no better designer than nature” Alexander McQueen

There’s a simplicity and efficiency in how nature operates. Sharks, bees, kingfishers and many species of fish are models for product, service and process innovations in any type of sector.

Take ant colonies for instance. Their ability to switch tasks and focus according to the evolving needs of their colony has inspired process optimization and other freight transfers. Without ants, FexEd wouldn’t be the superpower it is today.

Inspiration from nature is endless. Now if there’s a good reason to escape the office…


What are Wild Cards?

The Clearing have been working with The School of Life to develop 100 questions designed to help you see your brand from new perspectives. We think great conversations begin with a great question. Each week, we’ll share another question and our response to it. Email us with your own answers on – we’d love to know what you think.