Company life spans are shrinking because firms are not adapting to business environment complexity. Strategic planning too often emphasizes short-term gain rather than long-term growth and sustainability. However, firms, like biological species, are complex adaptive systems that evolve. Six factors drawn from biological complex adaptive systems can improve a firm's robustness. These are: preserving heterogeneity of ideas, endeavors, and people; adhering to a modular structure; anticipating surprise but decreasing uncertainty; maintaining component redundancy; developing adaptive mechanisms and feedback loops; and creating reciprocity and trust.
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