A few life lessons from the science of life

Isn’t it amazing that we start working even before we are born?

“To become an embryo, you had to build yourself from a single cell. You had to respire before you had lungs, digest before you had a gut, build bones when you were pulpy, and form orderly arrays of neurons before you knew how to think.”

We are born before we are fully developed, and that’s the reason we need years of intensive care before we can fend for ourselves.

Tadpoles are ready to swim, find food and evade predators the moment they are born.

But, we are humans, not tadpoles.

Don’t treat an organisation like a tadpole, treat it as a human being

Give the organisation enough time to find food, fight predators, and learn swimming.

What degree of complexity an organism or an organisation can withstand?

A reasonable guiding factor could be that the system must be stable and persistent, i.e., it must be able to survive. Survival should, thus, dictate the level of complexity an organism or an organisation can withstand.

What is better – a smarter group or a diverse group?

In a diverse group, each person brings a unique combination of needs, experiences and attributes. Limited diversity is good to boost the self-efficacy of the collaboration.

Too much diversity inflicts conflicts to disturb the collaboration.

Too much diversity costs too much.

Collaboration/Coalition is like a microbial community of multiple species.

In collaboration/coalition we want only positive interactions but that is too much expectation.

One big problem is the presence of unreasonably flexible, highly demanding, and generally ‘uncultivable’ special species.

Then there are ‘stressor species’; they get stressed at the smallest pretext.

It is important to keep them off-stress, but that is not always possible.

Moreover, disease causing microbes, even if small in number, can’t be ignored.

Though desirable, it is not easy to create a minimal genome, like common minimum program.

Even slight genetic alterations can have far-reaching, unintended consequences.

Like life, human organisation has a ‘designed’ as well as an ‘emergent’ structure.

Designed structure is created for a specific purpose.

Emergent structure is created by its informal networks and communities.

Human organisations have the right balance between the ‘creativity of emergence’ and the ‘stability of design’.

A human organisation understands that the right to exist is not perpetual, but has to be continually earned.

It recognises that growth will eventually stop if it has confused and impaired vision.

An organisation dies when its sense of the self becomes meaningless.

Life promotes the philosophy of ‘constructive destruction’

If something or someone has outlived its utility, destroy it.

It is a hard moral question.

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© 2017 by Dr Purnendu Ghosh