I had to the opportunity to meet with Fleishman Hillard's EMEA leadership team this week in Dublin, where we talked about growth as an enabler for delivering great career opportunities for our people, consistently excellent work for clients and, ultimately better business results for the agency.
My small contribution was a brief talk on how cities might serve as a model or metaphor for agency growth, an idea based largely on the work of the scientist interviewed here, Geoffrey West.
Cities tend to grow in ways that increase productivity and deliver efficiencies in ways that other scalable systems simply cannot. They are largely unbounded by the constraints confining organic life, and agile in their capacity to recruit and extend human capital through formal and informal systems.
Most businesses - all, he would say - have followed the paths of biology: birth, growth and ultimately death. Cities, many at least, seem able to avoid this.
Can the study of urban growth be applied to a business? Seems worth a shot to me.
Are corporations more like animals or more like cities? They want to be like cities, with ever increasing productivity as they grow and potentially unbounded lifespans.