Professor of Biology, Princeton University and Academic Fellow, BCG Henderson Institute
Simon Levin is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor at Princeton University, working with BHI as an Academic Fellow on translating biological models to business strategy. Simon’s research interests have been in complexity—and in understanding how macroscopic patterns and processes are maintained at the level of ecosystems and the biosphere, in terms of ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that operate primarily at the level of organisms.
In recent years, he has turned his attention to the parallels between ecological systems and financial and economic systems, particularly with regard to what makes them vulnerable to collapse, and to the evolution and development of structure and organization. Much of his ecological research is concerned with the evolution of diversification, the mechanisms sustaining biological diversity in natural systems, and the implications for ecosystem structure and functioning.
Multilevel resilience is built upon the relationship between organizational and personal resilience, an optimal level of stress, and the right approach to change.
Instead of defaulting to the standard change management methods, leaders should adopt strategies of change that respond appropriately to the specific characteristics of their change context.
Organizational change does not follow a linear path but rather moves across a landscape—the topography of which is always shifting.
Companies are failing faster than ever before. Biology and computer science offer hints on how to invest in new ideas before it’s too late.
We want order and control, but those are increasingly hard to find in business. Look to biological systems for lessons on how to master complexity and—even more important—how to think about it.
Unprecedented levels of uncertainty threaten the architecture of many global firms. Six principles of biological systems can help companies address the unknown and the unknowable.