Recent findings from a Cal Tech research study, published in the journal Current Biology, and reported today by the BBC, reveals interesting parallels between the neurological make-up of houseflies and effective competitive strategy.
According to the BBC report, researchers think that the fly's ability to avoid being hit by a flyswatter is due to its fast acting brain and an ability to plan ahead. High speed, high resolution video recordings showed that the insects quickly work out where a threat is coming from and prepare an escape route.
"Most people will have experienced the frustrating experience of carefully attempting to swat a fly, only to swing and miss while the intrepid insect buzzes off to safety. The research suggests that the best way of swatting a fly is to creep up slowly and aim ahead of its location," the BBC reports.
The article goes on to note that over the years there have been different theories put forward to explain the fly's uncanny ability to outwit human attempts to swat them, but the research says it is about quick-fire intelligence and good planning. Specifically, the researchers discovered that, long before the fly leaps, it calculates the location of the threat and comes up with an escape plan.
Any strategic planner frustrated at his or her company's inability to best a nimble competitor can empathize with unsuccessful human efforts to swat flies. What sets leading companies apart? A fast-acting, nimble nature, sound planning, and an uncanny ability to spot threats before they impact their interests. As with the fly, quick-fire intelligence and good planning are required if any company is to develop keen instincts and an uncanny ability to avoid threats and leap to a new, safe position.