Bioteams: Learning from Nature to improve Project Management

Fabio Padilla from Brazil has written a very interesting review of Bioteams for his MBA thesis at the Universidade Católica de Brasilia - Universa. Fabio has very kindly allowed me to republish a summary of his conclusions which he has translated from the original Portuguese.

Bioteams: Learning from Nature

You can download a PDF of the full thesis (Portuguese) from Fabio's website here:

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to present the specific case of Bioteaming, a discipline developed in the United Kingdom and based on social animals behavior, that means, those organized on societies that operate in swarms, herds or groups. When studying this topic, new ideas and solutions are introduced and explained, applied to one of the main projects management areas, which is the human resources management, with a structure, teamwork and leadership scheme that may represent the success factor in a given project.

Taking this discipline as the basis, the research exposed on this paper intends to answer the following question: May projects management be benefited from application of new theories and tools of software and communications based on animal behavior?

Keywords: Biomimicry, Bioteams, Management, Organizational change, work teams, Virtual enterprise networks


Bioteaming is a new discipline that, despite on a development process, already offers a set of tools; cases of success; techniques; rules; and recommendations that are easily applicable to projects, organizations and work teams. It is evident that not every process or methodology is applicable, but it is clear that technology will help to explore many more possibilities for teams optimization with work goals. Meanwhile, having modern technology devices is useless if mental and business models are still based on old-fashioned concepts.

Based on the study presented in this paper, it is possible to conclude that Bioteams offer very interesting possibilities to evaluate and implement in several organizational and Project Management's aspects, especially in terms of: team collaboration and teamwork flows; leadership; communications; basic rules and conflict resolution; and about the intrinsic philosophy of work as a team.

The audio visual resources along with the learning and diagnostic tools made available by the Bioteams are very practical and relatively easy to use. Event though, it is good to mention the tip that Thompson remarks about not to start the process with trainings of specific software or communications systems lessons; "there is no a standard roadmap to apply Bioteams, the best way to use the techniques is the "Just-in-time", in the context of current problems and opportunities of the organization". Ideally, a diagnostic is the starting point from a company to know its vision, current business and work teams characteristics. Only after this initial evaluation it is possible to know if the Bioteams model is recommended and if the structure and resources are appropriate to apply it without disruptions. The successful application of Bioteams is not purely organizational and technological; it must have a strategic and projects management vision supporting its implementation.

Case studies and practical experience show, so far, that the three areas or projects types where Bioteams perform better are: business networks -with remarkable performance on Virtual Enterprise Networks (VEN), briefly described in this paper also- fans/supporters communities and virtual or mobile teams.

Nature is an endless source of ideas, however, not of resources, which are finite and, in several cases, closer to depletion. New disciplines like Biomimicry are a warning call to understand that we cohabit in a planet with limited resources, so we must use our intelligence without arrogance. Human subsistence could be at serious risk if development vision is not changed radically, along with design, products' life cycles and material's sources.

Even if we were able to emulate the smart and unbelievably effective organizational structures of nature, human being has interests and freedom of choice, which is commonly blended with personal desires and beliefs. Hence the importance to develop new models, or at least, to increase the number of tools available for human resources management, beyond the traditional "Command and Control", to create truly commitment among the members of our team, with the projects, the work to be done and the organizations we all belong to.

The world and the current projects, in the midst of knowledge era and information revolution, increasingly require that collective leadership is developing within the organizations. Rigid models, with strong hierarchy and processes hindered by bottlenecks or excessively dependent on a single leader, are not able to survive anymore in the modern times of quick adaptation because additional costs related with those old practices would end up turning unviable, or at least highly inefficient, both the organization and its managers.

The Virtual Enterprise Networks (VEN) represent an example of Bioteam, with a proven success as a business model for small and medium enterprises, giving them virtual scale and operational capabilities similar to those that large companies and multinationals have, but without losing its unique characteristics of quick response; flexibility; and operational low costs.

The study of the Virtual Enterprise Networks is a challenge to take advantage of technology and communications and to effectively implement them in a business area or project. Whether with customers, suppliers, the entire supply chain, a prospect strategic partner or even a competitor, there are many ways to create synergies with all of them and also schemes of collaboration within a win-win frame. The key is the mind-set and the strategic use of resources that, in most cases, have been available for years.

Fabio Padilla is an Engineer, keynote speaker and wheelchair tennis player living in Brasilia, Brazil's Capital. Training and Consulting services on Leadership, Work Safety and Sustainability. Currently enrolled in the Sustainability and Environmental Management Program at HARVARD UNIVERSITY Extension School. Fabio can be contacted at

Tags: , , ,

Comments (0)| Related (3) |

Print this article


Bioteams Books Reviews

Complex adaptive systems and virtual team collaboration

Complex adaptive systems and virtual team collaboration
Leading complexity thinkers apply biological principles to enterprises: The Biology of Business is a set of essays by ten researchers and practitioners in Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS).

Buy it now from:

(2) |

continue reading

Click here to check all Bioteams book reviews

Ken's LinkedIn Profile

Follow Ken's Blogs

NASA Widget2_160x40.jpg


Featured Categories

Trending Topics

agility analytics ants autopoiesis bees biomimicry bioteaming bioteams change management collaboration Collaboration collective intelligence community complex systems dashboards digital dashboards ecosystems excel experiential learning flock games high-performing teams HPT innovation leadership learning meetings messaging mobile phones organizational teams penguins pheromones self-managed teams serious games simulators social media Social Networks social networks social software swarm swarm intelligence swarmteams teams teamwork The Networked Enterprise tit for tat VEN videos virtual communities virtual enterprise virtual enterprise networks virtual teams visualization web2.0 wisdom of crowds

Click for more...

Featured Article

Team joining hands

The secret DNA of high-performing virtual teams

Bioteaming – the secret to high-performing, self-organising, virtually networked teams... more

Locations of visitors to this page

Bioteams iphone app
Bioteams android app


Bioteams Lite


Latest Full Articles

Bioteams Assessor - Instantly check how good your team is?
BioScore Calculator – Instantly see if you need Bioteams
Discover Bioteams principles Yourself via Action Learning

Bioteams Manifesto

Communities and Networks Connection

Bioteams Ice-Breaker Zone

Only Fools and Horses Video Clip Funny Team Collaboration Video Dilbert Mission Statement Generator Ali G Video Funny Red Dwarf Video  FatherTed  Pixar

News Feed

Sign up for RSS   RSS Feed Subscription
        (What's RSS?)

10 Most popular posts

Recent posts


Download Browsealoud