Wal-Mart thrives, Apple Computer stumbles, and the start-up Netscape emerges out of nowhere to threaten to eat Microsoft's lunch on the World Wide Web. Business puzzles--or predictable biological outcomes?
"Think biologically," advises James Moore, author of The Death of Competition (HarperCollins). "The key to success in today's business environment is co-evolution--that is, building links with others so that we all evolve and get stronger."
According to Moore, this growth strategy is one that companies as diverse as Wal-Mart and Netscape are illustrative of, and to which they owe their success. "When we don't sustain the growth of the links, however, we falter, as Apple has done," adds Moore. "Biology can be a key tool in understanding--and shaping--the business context."
Radical as Moore's thinking is, businesses--including giants like AT&T--are flocking to his Geo-Partners research firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for a dose of his biologically based strategic thinking. The reason: "There's a growing awareness that competition as we have known it, the head-to-head conflicts of the past, is no longer the way to build a business," says Moore. But businesses that nurture their "ecosystems"--of suppliers, customers and so forth--will prosper, says Moore.
"We need to think differently, more collaboratively. That's how successes are created today," says Moore, who elaborates on his innova-tive views of business strategy in this exclusive interview.