Business and NGOs: interdependence?

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Every so often, the standard terminology of the natural and business worlds coincide - or perhaps more accurately, borrow from each other. Books like Biomimicry ('Innovation Inspired by Nature') and Natural Capitalism are well known examples - but I came across another while preparing for a panel session on partnerships at today's conference on Business, NGOs and Development.

This month's Harvard Business Review carries a piece by Insead's Ron Adner on “How to Match Your Innovation Strategy to Your Innovation Ecosystem”. He reminds us that in complex ecosystems (natural or commercial), interdependency is the determining factor. I particularly like the example on calculating the true probability of an event taking place. If you have four managers in a room and each 90% confident, what's the likelihood of achieving your goal? If you're as statistically challenged as me, go to the article to find out.

It's a number that I will use when talking about partnerships today - a subject we covered in IFC’s Guide to Biodiversity for the Private Sector, another example where business and biology terminology coincide.

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