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Glenn Murcutt is an Australian architect whose body of work is the expression of the continuity that exists between nature and architecture.

His work does not mimic natural forms, but rather makes use of its lessons, drawing relationships between the principles that govern nature and those that could affect architecture.

In Alex MacLean’s Look at the Land: Aerial Reflections on America, Murcutt comments:  

The morphological modifications of a single plant species in relation to the terrain in which it grows serves as a parable of the need to adapt architectural models to their environment.

— Glenn Murcutt

Murcutt’s work is the point of departure to begin considering the correlations between architecture, nature, and business. 

How does a person with a brilliant idea grow a thought into a successful business or organization?

It starts with knowing yourself and working with the resources around you. Modifications that a plant makes in order to survive in its surroundings is a lesson in growing organically and not overreaching. Technology has enabled virtual roots and stems to develop globally to support an organization and the same lessons apply. Working locally will also contribute to developing a unique company culture. 

Adaptation to one’s environment is seldom a linear process. The exposed roots in the image above highlight how a network can grow, evolve, and develop permanency in connections. How one knows which linkages to make depends on what you are trying to achieve. Stepping away from the root system, one can see the spaces or potential for development. Working at the level of the roots, the larger picture is not as clear.

How does this help a CEO or leader?

The lesson here is that the solution may not be right in front of you and you may need to search it out, like a root searching for water. And it may be hidden from view. How do you know where to go? It depends on the way you see the problem. Design can be a tool to help a leader see all aspects of a problem and help determine the best way for the roots, network, or system to develop to further an organization’s goals.

Glenn Murcutt is unique among architects because he studies his clients’ patterns of living as closely as he studies the natural processes at the site of the potential home: sun shining, water flowing, and wind blowing. With this data, Murcutt is able to design residences for his clients that are closely tied to the environment. I believe the same approach can be used for businesses and organizations that are working to stay relevant to their customers.

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