Flora and fauna are, in some respects, the first home of strategy. Nature displays an enormous range of strategies that have been selected over time for fitness under different circumstances, long before humans walked the earth, let alone articulated the concept of strategy or competitive advantage. Biology illustrates the need for different strategic approaches under varying circumstances and provides a rich source of inspiration for understanding the range of possible approaches.
Consider the variety of strategies employed by plant species in a forest: some exploit a narrow or temporary niche, others enter into symbiotic or parasitic relationships with other species, and yet others dominate once the ecosystem of the forest has reached a steady state.
Nature’s repository of examples and analogies can help broaden our understanding of strategizing in diverse environments beyond the classical planning-oriented perspective. We drew inspiration for the strategy palette by considering this variety of natural strategies, and we explore biological analogies for each cell in the palette.