Here is Nassim Nicholas Taleb talking about using nature as a model:
The whole talk is well worth watching – it’s one of the best I’ve seen from Taleb. He tends to focus on avoiding negative black swan events (extremely rare events with disproportional impacts), so almost always talks about mitigating risk. When we’re trying to innovate, on the other hand, we’re looking for a positive black swan event if we’re trying to come up with radical innovations. And there is one absolutely essential point for this in Taleb’s talk – to do this effectively, we need slack. We can’t come up with innovations if our organisation is 100% efficient. Some innovations won’t work. This might look like ‘waste’ to some people, but it’s not. It is an investment towards finding the things that will work. We can’t be innovative if we’re fully leveraged.