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What can Neanderthals teach us about business?


Research published recently highlights one reason why Neadnerthals may have died out before humans.

Neanderthal skeletons have been found to have larger eye sockets than their human counterparts. The suggestion is that this means they migrated away from the African plains earlier than humans, and as a result developed a larger visual capacity to deal with the shorter, darker, European days.  This would have meant that more of their brain capacity would be dedicated to processing the images captured by their larger eyes and consequently less of the brain was available for higher level thinking, including the ability to form the large, collaborative networks that humans could.  

So, in business terms, we know that business strategy is all about matching capability with opportunity.  Particularly if you run a small business, one way to compete like a highly developed human rather than a Neanderthal is to seek out strategic partnerships with other firms that help you to develop your capability.  By working in close partnership to a set of shared, high level objectives, you will be better able to cover off opportunities that arise in your marketplace, because you will more easily be able to access the competitive advantage that your parter’s offering brings, as well as your own.  Those who do not collaborate and choose to compete alone will spend greater resource on doing business, as they only have their own capability to draw on.
Now doesn’t that sound like the type of approach a higher level primate would adopt, rather than a low-level member of the animal kingdom?