An insight about insights from Darwin?


One can draw lots of parallels between business success and the theory of Evolution, not the least of which is the concept of survival of the fittest, ie the entity that is best adapted to the environment (market) will succeed better than the less adapted.

Good news is we in business don’t have to wait for random mutation, we can get on with our own DIY adjustments.

The key additional insight I wanted to draw out (and relevant in particular for researchers) is that its not necessarily about coming up with the single “big thing”, the one major idea that allows you to leapfrog the competition. That’s not how evolution works.  The wonderful complexity of the eye did not come about in a single jump, it resulted from a myriad of tiny enhancements. It ended up with an eye, but did not need to create it in one step.

So what’s my point? Its this. Every small piece of learning, every insight, each additional point of news allows an organisation to fine tune its plans and ideas a little bit more. As you do this you become “fitter” than the competition, you get better than the others. And if you have better information (even if its in small pieces) and use it more wisely, that’s part of this process.

Sometimes we look for the big “a ha”; the research project that  tells us where the golden goose is (or finding an “eye” if we stick to the analogy). Maybe that’s the wrong thing to expect. Maybe what we should look for is a systematic way to build smaller learnings one on top of another, so we adjust our business in hundreds of small but positive ways, becoming the dominant player in our market?