Ted Radio Hour: Getting Organized

. On this week's show, TED speakers explore the inner architecture of living systems, from ant colonies to corporations to social movements.

The world's largest ant colony stretches over 3,700 miles. It succeeds, biologist Deborah Gordon says, because no one is in charge. Instead, ants communicate with each each other and use algorithmic patterns to survive and thrive.

 When a rare tornado hit the town of Munson, Massachusetts, Morgan O'Neill and her sister accidentally became leaders of the town's recovery -- despite being only 20 years old.

These days, all it takes to start a protest is a cell phone, says professor Zeynep Tufecki. But does the ease of social media impede social movements from making big gains.

 Ricardo Semler was in his early 20s when he became the CEO of his father's small manufacturing company in Sao Paolo, Brazil. He reorganized the company from the top town, believing less management and more flexibility meant a better workplace and bigger profit

Parents help their kids manage their lives. But according to Bruce Feiler, it can work the other way around, too. It just takes a little insight, drawn from Japanese computer programming principles.