Top teams know how to swarm

In a previous article, Seven 'model behaviours' for bioteam members, I discussed the work of Craig Reynolds and the three critical autonomous behaviours which enable birds to flock. Here I propose that human bioteam members need just seven autonomous behaviours to enable them to swarm.


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O-R-G-A-N-I-C team behaviours

I proposed the following seven model bioteam member behaviours:

  1. Outgoing - get to know all your team colleagues
  2. Recruit - look out for new external partners to strengthen the team’s network
  3. Go! - network widely outside the team
  4. Ask - constantly ask for and offer help to other team members
  5. Note - keep aware/abreast of issues of ‘team intelligence’
  6. Investigate - when you see something interesting investigate it for the team
  7. Collaborate - join at least one team workgroup as an active member - don’t just be a "reviewer"

One of the most important of the seven bioteam behaviours is general curiosity - the willingness to take an interest in things beyond a team member’s direct functional area of responsibility.

This behaviour enables team members to spot ‘team intelligence’ such as threats or opportunities which the whole team need to know about as soon as possible - a kind of team early warning system.


Learning from robo-pups

An article, Robo-pups created with curiosity in mind, in the New Scientist News Service, discusses Sony’s experiences in attempting to build ‘playful curiosity’ in its Aibo robot puppies - it even includes a short video clip of the robo-pups in action.

Some researchers belivbe that ‘playful curiosity’ is absolutely fundamental to learning in many animals.

“Robotic experts agree that it may be necessary to learn from biological organisms in order to make robots smarter and more adaptive”.

The hope is that “Robots driven by curiosity" may be able to become self-managed and autonomous and not require programming or supervision.

However before we get too excited the article ends by admitting that it is unlikely we may ever be able to map curiosity onto an algorithm (computer or behavioural).


Recapture that ‘sense of wonder’ in teams

So if you want your team to have a highly effective early warning system and to be able to learn exceptionally rapidly then, just like Sony’s robo-pups, you will need to start nurturing ‘playful team-member curiosity’.



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