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An Ants World: Systems organisation of ants and what we can learn from them

Format: Workshops, RSD12, RSD12 Workshops, RSD12-Ahmedabad: Hopeful futures, Topic: Economics & Orgs, Topic: Methods & Methodology

Tejaswini Nagesh and Pranav Balasubramanian

Ants are social beings who work in cooperation to enable collective action. They have complex systems of organisation and diverse strategies operating from small to large scale, which significantly impact the ecosystems they inhabit. The workshop involves participants through activities that emulate the organisation and functioning of ant systems. Participants explore how ants organise themselves in groups to perform different tasks and solve problems of resource use and shelter problems. The workshop goal is to help participants to get a change in perspective at a systems level, to allow us to draw parallels to systemic issues in the present world and look for inspiration where nature has already solved similar problems. The activities are designed to encourage participants to think beyond the familiar stakeholders and put themselves in the place of different types of ants with roles and objectives. Participants consider how collective action in ants works in relation to the efficiency of their organisational structures to perform tasks with constraints of communication, time and the absence of leadership.

While there is inspiration from nature as biomimicry, the systemic entanglements in nature are far more interesting and complex. Experiencing how a system works from an ant’s perspective enables participants to take a step towards thinking for stakeholders from other species while drawing inspiration from them. This also encourages a non-anthropocentric practice with ways to understand and take inspiration from already optimised natural systems. It helps us derive connections from nature at a systems level and relate them to similar complexities when designing for a relatable/familiar context.

KEYWORDS: biomimicry, collective action, natural systems

Presentation dates

to be announced

Ahmedabad, October 9




Citation Data

Author(s): Tejaswini Nagesh and Pranav Balasubramanian
Year: 2023
Title: An Ants World: Systems organisation of ants and what we can learn from them
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
Host: Georgetown University
Location: Ahmedabad, IND
Symposium Dates: October 6–20, 2023
First published: 3 July 2023
Last update: no update
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404
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