WSU Professor Looks to Ants for Business Lessons in Efficient Communication (Really)
February 1st, 2013, 5:18 PM
It sounds wacky, but this is for real: Ants can teach lessons useful in the business world, says a Wayne State professor of industrial and systems engineering.
Researchers studying ants’ food-foraging behavior have noticed that changes in the pheromone trails left behind by the insects communicate the best ways for those that come after them to proceed. That led to the development of ant colony optimization models, which Yang and his team are using.
Researchers believe their simulation model could . . . lead to best practices that improve critical thinking and remove communication barriers. Such practices can be applied to large-sector manufacturing, health care and service companies, Yang said.
In practical terms, Roush writes in his station's Great Lakes Innovation and Technology Report newsletter, ant colony models could help managers "find just the right balance of time spent in meetings and time performing tasks."
The academic study, commissioned by Siemens North America, is published in the International Journal of Production Research.