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When business leaders meet botanists

Mike Saunders
6 July 2010

Find out what happened when we decided to invite a diverse group of business leaders to Kew for the day – mixing business people with botanists.

The idea of products or buildings being inspired by nature is well established – you need think no further than Sydney Opera House or cat’s eyes for a couple of examples. But it’s not so easy to think of businesses that have been shaped by nature.

Because we believe in the huge potential of businesses being shaped by nature, we decided to invite a diverse group of business leaders to Kew for the day – to see what happens when you mix business people with botanists.

The results were exciting, stimulating and quite different from anything tried before. As well as having one of the world’s top plant scientists explain how different plants have developed resilience to their surroundings, the attendees worked in teams with plant experts, using individual plant species as an inspiration for new approaches to business.

Business leaders and botanists outside the Alpine House at Kew

Some of the inspiring plant stories that were discussed by the groups were the Livingstone potato (Plectranthus esculentus), Aloe vera, a mushroom and the Callicarpa pentandra tree. Summary notes from these discussions, and slides from the day are available here for download.

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