Ever since I was a child, climbing trees, digging around in the garden with my friends, trying to breed budgies and rabbits, I have been fascinated by nature. Perhaps it’s no surprise that I share my home, Necker Island, with more species than nearly any other place on Earth, from lemurs to flamingos to giant tortoises.
I love seeing these animals thrive and am passionate about protecting them, but I also marvel at how much we can learn from nature. So, I was intrigued to come across Evolutionary Ideas, Sam Tatam’s book highlighting lessons from the natural world that can help to solve tomorrow’s challenges.
Evolutionary Ideas is full of fascinating facts: Did you know that flies perceive time four times slower than humans, while turtles perceive time twice as fast? Remember that next time you’re tempted to swat a fly – or even see a turtle floating along. But it’s also packed with lessons that can apply for pretty much anybody.
Sam points to examples from nature to show how we can be more creative – and that we don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. We may feel that innovations need to be unprecedented, but actually they only need to solve a problem or fulfil a need. He writes:
Despite our fondness for the radical and revolutionary, the answer to your challenge has likely already evolved, somewhere. Just as evolutionary processes have helped to craft the wing and dorsal fin over millions of years, thousands of human problem solvers, engineers, designers, marketers and advertisers have already toiled to solve the problems you’re facing right now – just in slightly different ways.
Speaking of wings, this made me think of how we built Virgin Atlantic. We weren’t the first to launch an airline, but from personal experience I did know the pain points we wanted to solve. We learned from what came before to make our own product better.
Another idea that applies nicely to the airline industry is how the experience of time isn’t universal: “There’s a difference between clock time and brain time.” As Sam is an Aussie, I’ll point to Virgin Australia here. If your flight from Sydney to Perth is dull, with lousy entertainment, bad food, poor service, the flight will drag on and on. If you surprise and delight your passengers and create smart systems to take them from boarding through to landing, their experience will soar.
What’s more, they’ll return again and again. “The way we develop and deliver our products and services can significantly impact our moment-by-moment experience, and, importantly, our longer-lasting memory of it.”
When explaining how everyone can be creative if they give themselves the right framework and learn from what came before, Sam states: “Whoever said innovators always need to sound like Richard Branson?” Well, I certainly didn’t! It reminded me of the recent light-hearted video series we ran where I explained we don’t need any more me’s, but we do need thousands more entrepreneurs.
What are you waiting for?