Teeming is a smart, funny, erudite guide to what makes superorganisms so extraordinary. It's astonishing and practical, packed with simple rules for teams, for companies, for communities who want to coalesce effortlessly around a shared purpose. Organizations working for a just and sustainable world? Please devour this book. It's a vital slice of biological intelligence, served with scientific candor, grace, and wit.
—Janine Benyus, Co-Founder Biomimicry 3.8 and Biomimicry Insitute; Author Biomimicry
With millions of species and time-tested strategies to draw from, biomimicry offers endless creative potential. Ensuring we get nature’s lessons right requires being true to the science, translating nature’s design principles with integrity, and making that wisdom accessible to those who put it in practice. Woolley-Barker gracefully does all three––honoring the science, teasing out the deep patterns, and spinning a compelling vision of a better future. This is a rich resource, and one worth taking the time to enjoy. The principles are easy to apply, and it’s not far-fetched to say your organization will thrive like the ants and fungus if you do. Teeming is your go-to resource for making that happen.
—Dayna Baumeister, PhD. Principal Biomimicry 3.8; co-Director Biomimicry Center at Arizona State University
Teeming is clearly a labor of love, with a lifetime of research, experience, and thought poured into it. These are not facile sound bites, and they deserve a good read. You will certainly get your money’s worth. Start reading, and go about your business—Dr. Woolley-Barker’s superorganisms will jump out at you everywhere you go—at work, at home, and even on the evening news. Working together can work a whole lot better, if we learn from nature. Not just that, but there is a real person inside these pages—one we’d like to know. Tamsin weaves a rich conversation full of entertaining adventure— a journey of the mind and spirit, and one you won't forget.
—Jay Harman, CEO PAX Scientific and Author The Shark’s Paintbrush
Evolutionary biologist Woolley-Barker draws on the ancient R&D of living systems to show how nature can help us challenge Silicon Valley's vertical hierarchies and billion dollar unicorns with self-organized systems that are functional, flat, agile, adaptive and resilient. Teeming is a timely, insightful, inspiring and enjoyable exploration of one of the deepest challenges facing not only the sustainable movement but all modern organizations—how to ensure the adaptive benefits of emergent coordination without the deadening impacts of command and control.
—Gil Friend, Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Palo Alto; Founder, Natural Logic, Inc.
Teeming’s fantastic premise alone makes it a must-read; that we should look to nature to find new and innovative business insights is an idea whose time has come. What might have been merely an “interesting” book by lesser writer becomes a riveting page-turner that you won’t be able to put down in the hands of author Tamsin Woolley-Barker. With surprisingly captivating biology stories (backed up by her own rigorous field research), interwoven with humorous personal anecdotes, Woolley-Barker explains her bio-inspired ideas clearly and compellingly. Teeming is both a scientific treatise and a management guide, but ultimately it is a book that anyone from a school kid to CEO will find fascinating, accessible and inspiring.
—Jill Fehrenbacher, Founder, CEO, Publisher & Editor-in-chief Inhabitat.com
An easy-to-digest book with profound implications for the future of our social systems, Teeming overflows with poetic and scientific insight. It is also an entertaining read. This timely book explores how competition and cooperation play out in all social systems. With gracious ease Dr. Woolley-Barker blends her passion and expertise for sociobiology, facilitation, ecology and systems thinking to provide the theoretical insight and practical application we sorely need in redesigning our organizational systems to flourish far into the future. Diverse, self-organizing, collaborative, and purposeful superorganisms provide powerful insight into how the firms of the future can adapt and thrive in these transformative times, while creating the conditions conducive for life to flourish. A must read for those with an eye on what our future could hold.
—Giles Hutchins, Author, Future Fit and The Nature of Business
Truly a fascinating and inspiring read! Using the principles of Biomimicry, Sociobiology, and Evolution, Dr. Woolley-Barker shows how to transform your own company by emulating nature’s most efficient natural models and systems—all forged over billions of years of trial and error. Only the winningest systems have survived—why reinvent the wheel when you can take advantage of 3.8 billion years of optimization driven by natural selection? Teeming goes even further. By demonstrating that humans are an evolutionary novelty—“ant-like apes” with deeply biological adaptations for ensuring equity, fairness, and cooperation—Teeming makes the case that termite mounds and slime molds have something uniquely relevant to teach us about doing business. This “Stone Soup” cookbook will entertain you and blow your mind, while tangibly showing how to tailor your own superorganism for sustainable success.
—Paul T. Telfer, Ph.D, Managing Director, Congo Conservation Company and Sabine Plattner African Charities
What might be possible if we could lead our organizations to become thriving interconnected networks of collaboration, ingenuity, and self-organized wealth accumulation? If we could transform our society and economies into structures that embody and contribute to the evolutionary power of life itself? In this critical time, Tamsin Woolley-Barker peers into nature’s enduring intelligence to show us how we might do it. This book is a great read, and a must for any leader curious about the simple rules that can lead us to a better future, together.
—Toby Herzlich, Founder, Biomimicry for Social Innovation and Senior Trainer, Rockwood Leadership Institute
Teeming is of great value to anyone interested in self-organization in nature and how we can apply our understanding of it to human organizations. We know how the cells in our bodies work together, but we know so little about what drives us as individuals within our larger groups. Woolley-Barker describes powerful principles we can borrow from nature's societies to help our own organizations evolve to cope with rapid change. For me, as an expert in system theory and sociobiology, this book is now a permanent resident on my desk.
—Olga Bogatyreva, PhD, DSc, Director of BioTRIZ Ltd, and Author, Inventor’s Manual and Biomimetic Management
I read this the second I received it, and found it incredibly inspirational. Congratulations are in order to Dr. Woolley-Barker for taking on such a momentous mission – transforming business, presenting this information for non-biologists like myself, and making it so fun to read – and succeeding! Biomimicry’s power is not limited to product design. Processes and systems can also be reshaped with nature’s strategies, culminating in business approaches that succeed in a turbulent world and respect life. Dr. Woolley-Barker inspires us with a fresh perspective and actionable approach for building efficient teams, purposeful organizations, collaborative networks, and more. Teeming is a mind-opening guide with huge potential for everyone involved in business!
—Zeynep Arhon, Founder, Trenddesk; Faculty Associate, Arizona State University