Human swarming: the mexican wave
Those who don’t believe that humans can swarm and flock must not have been watching the World Cup in Germany. The Mexican Wave, or La Ola, is a spontaneous activity involving very simple individual behaviors which produces an amazing collective result.
Recent research by Hungarian mathematicians reported in Riding the Mexican Wave suggests that you cannot start a wave by yourself no matter how hard you try: the trigger seems to be about 25 people.
A key feature of biological teams is that members have a set of responses which they consistently execute in response to a stimulus.
To see a simulation of the individual behaviors which produce a Mexican wave visit the mathematicians website
In nature these stimuli are typically threats or opportunities.
In organizational teams we can extend swarming response to cover all the key aspects of team member operation and not just the emergencies.
For more on team swarming see Enhance team performance by consistent individual behavior
Bioteams Books Reviews
If you think that there is not much human teams can learn from nature think again! Temple Grandin in her amazing book Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior (p303-307) puts forward the incredible theory that early humans only became today’s successful homo sapiens because they learned to act and think like the wolves they co-habited with.