Corporations are Like Bacteria

Accept change or hide in denial is a basic choice. If we use denial rather than acceptance we still pay the cost of change but lose the advantage of eyed acceptance. Corporations are clearly the second fastest adapters on this planet so let’s take a look at how the fastest ones do it – the ones that outflank Big Pharma, Big Agriculture and Big Oil every day to get what they need – bacteria.

“…like bacteria, their competition is mainly a matter of knowledge, and knowledge need never be lost.” said Vernor Vinge in his 1996 essay “Nature, Bloody in Tooth and Claw?”. His insight that the ability of bacteria to evolve by the incorporation of foreign genetic material is similar to the way corporations evolve leads to the conclusion that success (and no one succeeds that does not survive) is the ability to integrate new memes, techniques and perspectives and use them. I add to this that the reason other types of organization find themselves reacting against or being co-opted by corporations is because they have been slow to accept, integrate and adapt. That sentence could write several books but I will move on. Here are my the best tactics for acceptance, integration and adaptation.

Look for what works and share it.

Prefer good karma over bad dogma.

Enable don’t evangelize.

These three tools for survival are simple but can be painful to apply. They are, however, better than any alternatives I’ve found.

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