The Monkey Experiment That Will Teach You How The World Works

Do you adapt easily to things or you question them first? Are you prepared to struggle and get creative to find new solutions to a problem? Challenge yourself, and never take things for granted.

Business educator Eddie Obeng, in one of his talks, mentioned a fable, known as The Monkey experiment, that taught many a valuable lesson:

His intention was to explain the state of things in most organizations and to teach us that we can always make things better.

Yet, this story is said not to be based on a real experiment, and it seems to have first appeared in a book called “Competing For The Future” by Gary Hamel and C. K. Prahalad.

However, its moral is strong, as it remind us to oppose views like “we’ve always done it this way” when things don’t feel right.

Just because someone does something, doesn’t mean that it is right.


“Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.”-  Saint Augustine

The metaphor related to work is clear. Even though employees are always told to get creative and collaborative, they often receive cold water when they try something new, different from the routine.

Every organization has its traditions, but they can sometimes be detrimental to progress within the workplace, especially when new employees are discouraged to pursue their new ideas.

If we remain focused on the way things have always been done, we can never bring changes, new and easier strategies, and improvements.

Therefore, branch out in new directions. If you want that “banana”, you might need to find a better way to get it.

Watch the video version of the story: