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Nancy from Boise ID

Nancy's Television Segment

  • Lessons From the African Plains - Nancy's television appearance, during which she discusses lessons that business leaders can learn from the highly competitive African ecosystem.  

Nancy's Radio Podcasts

Cull the weak to save the herd – a buffalo herd, stalked for two days by a pride of lions, eventually gave up one of its own – an older, weak female who was unable to keep up. Sometimes organizations have to do the same – give up a customer, perhaps an employee, for the good of the whole.

Save energy, be opportunistic – it takes a lot of energy to hunt so lions are very careful about saving energy and using it very deliberately when they chase/hunt. Sometimes, they look for opportunities for food – a warthog that stumbles into their area, a baby giraffe that gets lost. Organizations need to be careful about how they use resources and “energy,” such as being careful about pursuing opportunities or ventures that may not payoff.

Communicate, communicate – when elephants lift the soles of their feet, they could be communicating (sub sonic waves); when giraffes each certain trees, the trees release tannins after a short period and that “information” drifts downwind to other trees so they can become less tasty to giraffes – that’s why giraffes will move Upwind, instead of down. Also, birds and other animals will give alarm calls to alert others that a predator is in the area. The lesson: don’t send a lot of “noise,” communicate deliberately!

Stay alert – in the bush ,animals need to stay alert to danger and to opportunity to stay alive. In the business world, this translates to staying in touch with what’s happening and changing in the environment (trends, competitor moves) as well as within the organization itself (shifts in attitudes, satisfaction, performance) to be able to take advantage of it or to change what needs to be changed.

Management in the African bush – Wilderness Safari employees have to be able to do multiple tasks, 24/7 for three months at a time, in locations that are remote, with people they “live” with for days at a time. This means learning how to interact with clients/customers as individuals, within a group, and with multiple groups that may know each other or get along. The tasks are physical (changing tires), psychological (getting along with and understanding clients), and mental (knowing birds, animals, history, geology). Lesson for other organizations? How can organizations train and encourage employees to learn different skills and tasks and be able to switch among them as needed?


 About Nancy

 Nancy Napier (PhD., The Ohio State University) is Executive Director of the Centre for Creativity and Innovation and Professor of International Business in the College of Business and Economics at Boise State University. She has published five books and over 80 articles and has managed projects/grants totaling over $9 million, including a 9-year capacity building project at the National Economics University in Hanoi, Vietnam, funded by the Swedish International Cooperation Development Agency and USAID.

In her most recent work, Nancy has been researching “creativity in unexpected places” – from a sports program to a jail, from a dance company to a software firm. Her latest “find” was the African bush and the lessons for business that come out of it!

Nancy's most recent books are Insight: Encouraging Aha! Moments for Organizational Success and The Creative Discipline: Mastering the Art and Science of Innovation. She is co-creator and host of Idaho Business Matters, a weekday radio program on NPR News 91 and a regular contributor to Channel 7/KTVB’s It’s Your Business noon news program.


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