Must read – Teeming by Tamsin Woolley-Barker

To stay up to date I read a lot of articles and books, but not very often am I so taken by a book that I feel like publicly praising it. Teeming, written by evolutionary biologist Tamsin Woolley-Barker is a grant exception. The book explains how superorganisms work to build infinite wealth and how organizations can learn from the way superorganisms organize this.

For many years now I have a growing feeling of unease about how organizations are managed. Especially in larger and long existing organizations it seems that the gap between management style, internal processes and the world outside the organization is widening. Reading this book confirmation this feeling. But more important I got a feeling of hope for our future. Despite the fact that the gap between rich and poor is larger than ever we also do have tools to collaborate on a larger scale than ever. Using the collective intellect and bringing ‘scraps’ of information together with the use of interconnecting technology.

What intrigued me, apart from all the wonderful examples from different animal species, was the fact that we are pretty close to a critical tipping point towards large scale collaboration. So here is to all managers worldwide. Read it, study it, discuss it, apply it.

These three approaches for instance:

  • Stop simplifying problems but cut them into little tasks that can be addressed by collaborative teams.
  • Facilitate constant organization wide collaboration and include everyone.
  • Innovation prospers when ideas connect freely and recombine with other ideas.
In the words of Dr. Woolley-Barker:

‘Every problem we face has already been solved for us, and the answers are all around us.
All we have to do is look’.


Dr. Tamsin Woolley-Barker is an evolutionary biologist and pioneer in the emerging discipline of Biomimicry, with an extensive background in corporate leadership, innovation, and sustainability. She provides bio-inspired innovation to a Global 500 clientele. Read more about her book and her work at her website.