Nature or Nurture? A business lesson from Dunnock Birds (#6)
A business lesson from Dunnock Birds, deals with how we entrepreneurs struggle to choose a right problem to solve. We are all biased by various factors whereas we will soon find out that is not the case in our wildlife with Dunnock birds as case in point.
Nature or Nurture? How do Birds choose where to live? A business lesson from Dunnock Birds
The dunnock, known to some as the hedge sparrow, is a European bird. It has, though, been introduced to New Zealand and has thrived there. It is a well-studied species, and among the facts that have emerged about it is that individual birds do, indeed, have distinct personalities. In particular, some are measurably bolder and more tolerant of potential threats, such as nearby human beings, than others.
The research team from New Zealand did a thorough research about how Dunnock bird chose their living area compared to how close was it to human settlement and human movements and their disturbances. [research published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, Benedikt Holtmann of Otago University, in New Zealand]. They also calculated whether bird’s increase in boldness due to humans approaching and whether it changed over time and over familiarity of humans. But this increase in boldness with age was small compared with the different starting points of bold and timid birds when they first arrived in a territory. They were timid to start with and slowly grew bolder over time and age w.r.t human disturbances as expected did not happen. There way no nurture!!
What really happened is that disturbed territories were being settled by bolder birds while undisturbed territories by shy ones.
In the case of dunnocks, then, nature wins over nurture. Dr Holtmann was able to show that personalities match circumstances, rather than being created by them. Dunnocks can recognize which places suit them best, and choose to settle in them shortly after they fledge.
THE BUSINESS LESSON TO LEARN:
It is the Nature that always wins. I believe same is true even in entrepreneurship too where we pick the problems we want to solve. I have seen people picking up wrong problems to solve highly influenced by the size of the market, by the in-thing today or by the TRP it gets, or by what attracts the investor more, by it’s investment capability, etc. No one actually understand their personalities, does a personality match with the domain/problem they want to solve and see whether there is a fitting and then pick the the problem to solve. Same goes with all business managers or career seekers.
This is not the case in the wildlife as we found out. They actually know their personalities very well, they do a match before actually picking one. [Same applies with many territorial mammals like Tigers & leopards too and that will be another article for another day]
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