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This is a fun one – when a structure gets repurposed or co-opted for a new use. E.g. feathers were developed for warmth and then adapted by evolution for flight. 

In orgs, exaptation is seen often in technological innovation. A technology may have no obvious use until a compelling context is found. The magnetron was used first in radar equipment but a chance observation of its ability to melt a chocolate bar led to the invention of the microwave.

Each organisation’s unique abilities also position it for an exaptive move into new markets. Husqvarna used to make firearms but exapted its factory to produce sewing machines. This led to development of a foundry to make the base frame. That opened the way to producing cookware and stoves. A long chain of exaptation moved the company onward to bicycles, motorbikes, lawnmowers, chainsaws and now a remote-controlled demolition robot! 

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