Project Possibilities: Mapping a Company's Organism Lifecycle Stages

biomimicry practitioner Jul 02, 2024

"About 90% of startups fail."

There was a collective wince. Then, a moment of held breath, as we each peered at the statistics, assessing our own personal level of risk. Some nervous laughs. Some uncomfortable shifting in seats. Nadezhda pressed on with her final presentation. 

Business is messy, and being the custodian of an organisation’s survival (i.e. “Founders, business owners and organizational leaders”) is not an easy task. Knowing what to do when, can be almost impossible. 

This is where organizational life cycles come into play. From infancy through to maturity – just like the humans that run them – each organization progresses through a series of growth phases, each of which has specific needs.  And this is where Nadezhda comes in to play.

Organizational lifecycles: from infancy to adolescence, organisms and organizations grow... though it's never linear. We see this in every Biomimicry Practitioner too... there learning journey isn't linear, and each of the 6 sprints are a continuum. 

Nadezhda brings organisations to life, and Life to organisations. It’s not often that startup employees are very seriously given the title of “principal mitochondrion” or “head ribosome”, but those who are lucky enough to work with Nadezhda, are. And it turns out, they take these roles very seriously. Through her past experience, Nadezhda knew that using strategies and structures from nature elicited a more resilient and responsive approach in organizations, but she wanted to dig deeper. Her challenge:

Business leaders of emerging enterprises, expanding ventures and scale-ups need a way to sustainably guide their companies towards the highest potential by selecting effective and efficient strategies to integrate development with growth. However, typically the context and the needs of each organizational lifecycle stage call for a significantly different approach to the development of the required organizational capabilities. Organizational leaders want to learn how to more intentionally and deliberately design and evolve their organizations to be responsive, adaptive and resilient at any time in a constantly changing environment.”

Her first step: Map out the necessary key capabilities of each phase, and in turn the functions (think – verbs or actions) that enable these.

Here are selected snippets of her biomimicry project:



From ecosystems, we learn that we need to “Start with a solid foundation, recognizing that initial stages may lack necessary resources. Embrace succession as a series of progressive changes over time to facilitate organizational development and growth. Encourage innovative and pioneering individuals or teams to initiate transformative actions within the organization. +”


Lessons from the cactus wren: 

“ Engage dynamic duo of partners (visionary/initiator + collaborator/producer) with complimentary and overlapping skills. Create multiple options/bets with every iteration. Make use of accessible existing resources, maximizing their impact by strategic placement/allocation based on the market conditions. Re-use/re-purpose created assets. +”


From our own immune systems: “Embrace diversity as an asset to drive innovation and maintain a competitive edge. Promote the generation of diverse ideas, perspectives, and skill sets through rearrangement and combination of different talents and expertise to foster a wide array of impactful solutions. +”

Beautiful. Profound. Insightful.

The hitch? Making these strategies accessible to business leaders. People who are reliably stressed, busy and not exactly open to digesting complex diagrams just for fun. Nadezhda’s solution was to create Coaching Cards, which are easy to use and convey key strategies that business leaders can start implementing right away. (Plus, they’re also fun.)

The ever-changing demands of a growing business is a challenge for leaders, both internally as well as on a larger, macro scale. Luckily for us, Nadezhda understands this, and is now skilled in helping us to not only overcome growing pains, but also move deliberately towards thriving in this wildly dynamic context.  “The Biomimicry Practitioner Programme has equipped me with fresh insights into adaptability and integrating the unexpected, vital qualities in today's ever-changing business landscape. I'm excited to explore how biomimicry can be further woven into business agility transformations, helping organizations not just survive but thrive in harmony with the natural world. Organizations are living systems, and life creates conditions conducive to life.” 

Are we in the 10% of those businesses who make it past the 10 year mark? With help from Nadezhda’s project as an evolutionary advantage, we’re confident that we’ll make it. 

You can find out more about Nadezhda here:

Nadezhda's LinkedIn
Nadezhda's consultancy: Evolneo

You can see Nadezhda's full presentation below


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