Learning from nature — translating the science and art of murmurations into corporate culture

Patti Mancini
February 21, 2023

Growing up in the Midwest, I often found myself a spectator to one of nature's most unique and beautiful encounters — the murmuration of a flock of birds. From far away, you'd see one flock in cohesive movement, creating swells and ripples as they flew. 

The real beauty of a murmuration, however, is in the science that happens inside the flock.

It’s not about following a lead duck, instead they coordinate by observing the birds around them and making the adjustments needed to keep the flock together. A sense of safety is present when so many eyes can watch for danger. The birds' synchronized movement warms the group in the cold winter months and attracts more birds to join in their flight. 

As I reminisced on this nostalgia, it came to mind that our company values reflect the science behind a murmuration because the murmuration's purpose is to foster the well-being of the flock. Ultimately, a company's core values should do the same for its employees.

'Many times, I've asked the question, "What makes me show up to work every day?" My answer shifts, but it always centers around those I work with. Zest AI has proven to me that belonging doesn't fall on an individual but instead is the work of a group to always advocate for greater inclusion. This culture is made possible when employees see their company and decision-makers living out the cultural values daily.

Our five core values of Heart, Collaboration, Bias-for-action, Communication, and Customer-centricity have created a safety net for our employees and encouraged the desire for a deeper understanding of ourselves, each other, and the world around us.

This company functions much like a murmuration. If you follow my simile, in our flock, we move in tandem, allowing space for each other's individual expression and growth while also recognizing that we all must grow together to remain whole. So we watch out for each other. We find harmony within the shifts and movements of our company. No one is left alone, and everyone authentically fits — we accept every kind of bird here! No need for a peacock to dress its plumage as a pelican or a starling as a bluejay. 

We can learn a lot from nature. We can see how to care for each other and extend protection as a community. We can find ways to promote each other's wellness by offering a soft place to land. We see that by working as a unit, we can create harmony and beauty in the world around us. 

So why will I continue to show up to Zest AI? 

The people. As they are. Their whole selves. Every one.

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