Who’s In Your Hive? The Power of Bees
By: Rachel Long
*Warning: this article may contain puns
We have all heard the buzzword “collaboration,” but how can we address that within our work? I came across an article this week from Schoology, that I thought asked a very important question, “Who’s in your hive?” (2019). While addressed to education, I think that this question can be applied anywhere as collaboration is a skill being called for in all places and spaces.
To first embrace the hive, I must identify the hive that is around me (2019). This is an important first step towards “building an engaged support system” around your work community so that “hive members understand their roles and connections” to the overall success of the hive (2019). In the busyness of today’s work environments, I find it easy to get caught up in my own snapshots of the hive from my perspective, but the power of bees is that they thrive on collaboration, and with so many of them all working together, that is an important skill to master. Consider your own hive. I would bet that you have ten or more members that support your hive system, and engaging each member is important to ensuring long-term success. So how can one go about supporting the whole hive through collaboration?
I went about exploring the nature of bees and how I can work to “bee” more collaborative. That brought me to an article from the Smithsonian on “swarm intelligence,” and I found three takeaways from bees that I think we can be considered within our own hives:
Enthusiasm: when a bee scout finds a spot it would love to build a hive in, it comes back dancing to get the attention of the hive that it has a cool site to check out. How can we best share our enthusiasm and passion in the design ideas that we have with others? (2012)
Flexibility: do you know that the scout, once it finds a place, does not just dance once to convince the hive to move? Actually it will go back and forth multiple times, and if the site is not that good, eventually it will stop dancing all together. How cool is that? No one is stubborn saying that they have found the best spot, but they review it over and over again, letting the swarm decide which dance would lead to the best site for a new hive. How can this mentality of flexibility for finding the best hive be seen in our own workplaces? Is there a way to ensure that good ideas don’t lose out because they were not the first ones given? How about the evaluation of ideas to flexibly change postures, depending on what the design is calling for?
Solution-mentality: Do you know that once scouts have decided on locations they start to head butt each other? Like a debate, they are trying to get the dancing in one direction so that the collective can begin to swarm to the new hive. This act is “not about destroying the enemy, but about finding a solution for everyone” which fits the collective’s needs and goals. In what ways can our own systems be about finding solutions, instead of knocking down ideas?
My friends, may you seize the swarm this week in your work and find the joy in the collective around you. Oh, and sorry about all the bee puns, I know they can really sting (last one, I promise).
Larson, J. (2019). The secret to successful students: who’s in your hive. Retrieved from
https://www.schoology.com/blog/secret-to-successful-students on 6/21/19.
Zimmer, C. (2012). The secret life of bees. Retrieved from
The following post was taken from the ChangeMakers for Impact network, a part of Incubate to Innovate, a company that provides educators with best practices, tools, and an online collaborative network to transform teaching and learning experiences and environments using innovation to prepare students with 21st-century skills. To learn more, please click here.