For an evolutionary system, continuing development is needed just in order to maintain its fitness relative to the systems it is co-evolving with.

The Red Queen as a principle was proposed by the evolutionary biologist L. van Valen in 1973 and is based on the observation to Alice by the Red Queen in Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass".

Since every improvement in one species will lead to a selective advantage for that species, variation will normally continuously lead to increases in fitness in one species or another. However, since in general different species are coevolving, improvement in one species implies that it will get a competitive advantage on the other species, and thus be able to capture a larger share of the resources available to all. This means that fitness increase in one evolutionary system will tend to lead to fitness decrease in another system. The only way that a species involved in a competition can maintain its fitness relative to the others is by in turn improving its design.

To use Wharton professor Adam Grant's estimates, about 35% of the business workforce is comprised of takers. These are folks who are out for their own interest. Among their numbers are leaders who are driven more by ego than empathy. Some are self-promoters who are quick to take credit for the work of others, who twist reality to suit their interests, and who care about power more than people.

The vast majority of "customer-focused" initiatives reek of a taker mindset. Most of them are nothing more than thinly-veiled efforts to boost sales and/or automate marketing. They do not think of customers' interests first. They do not give major new benefits or services to customers. They seek to take more money out of people's wallets.

To illustrate, imagine that you’re escorted to an office. You sit down, and you learn that you and a partner will need to complete ten tasks. Since your partner is running late, it’s up to you to pick five tasks for yourself. You get to delegate the other five tasks to your partner. Some of the tasks are very short. Others will require much more time. Will you act like a taker, claiming the short tasks for yourself and leaving your partner stuck with the long ones? Or will you be a giver, doing the time-consuming work and letting your partner off the hook?