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An award-winning team of journalists, designers, and videographers who tell brand stories through Fast Company's distinctive lens. Leaders who are shaping the future of business in creative ways. New workplaces, new food sources, new medicine--even an entirely new economic system. Janine Benyus helped bring the word biomimicry into 21st century vocabularies in her book on the subject. Her company, The Biomimicry Group, encourages biologists at the design table to ask: how would nature design this?
She says our human society will create a more sustainable world in part by emulating the natural organisms all around us, which have already gone through billions of years of trial and error to find elegant and amazing solutions to process and design problems.
Biomimicry is innovation inspired by nature. Biomimicry has been going on for a long time. Think about the Wright brothers looking at turkey vultures to learn about drag and lift in flight. Now biomimicry is becoming one of the ways that engineers, product designers, and architects do their work.
Organisms know how to do these things. After 3. For instance, take a peacock feather. If we were to make it, we would use chemicals and pigments. But actually, the only pigment is brown. When light reflects back to us through the layers, it creates the color blue or green or gold to your eye. It needs no backlighting, because it uses layers and the ambient light to create the different color pixels to your eye.
If you think of things like leaves, that need to stay clean. How do they keep the dust off of them? The famous example is the lotus leaf. The way it keeps itself clean is it has bumps on its surface. When rainwater comes, it balls up. Dirt particles teeter on those bumps. The rainwater balls them away, pearls them away. The dry paint has that bumpy structure.
And rainwater cleans the building, instead of sandblasting or detergents. In biomimicry, we bring in biologists to the design table. And when a company is trying to develop, for example, a new way to package, we ask, how does nature contains liquids? How does nature repel water? How does nature filter? How does nature resist impacts?
We look through the biological literature. Very often they look at them say, wow,this is an amazingly simple and beautiful way to solve this problem. For businesses, biomimicry is about bringing a new discipline—biology—to the design table. What businesses are finding is that the ideas from the natural world actually reduce risk because they use fewer toxins. Companies not only get a breakthrough product or process, but they wind up saving money.
And they wind up being a lot more sustainable, which is what customers are looking for these days. Biomimicry is a way of looking at 3. Businesses also use biomimicry to re-imagine their whole company. The vast majority of organisms run on sunlight, for example. They do their chemistry in water. They use a small subset of the periodic table. They shop locally. The watchword right now is resilience in the face of change. And the companies that are truly learning companies, truly adaptive, truly resilient, truly diverse, and decentralized and network-based—like ecosystems—are the ones that are going to survive and thrive.
There are a lot of roles for everybody in biomimicry. Go to biomimicry. Again, go to biomimicry. More and more universities are teaching biology to non-biology majors. You can find out about that at The Biomimicry Institute , which is our non-profit arm. Or go on asknature. Become a curator of one of the pages.
Events Innovation Festival The Grill. Follow us:. By EarthSky. What are some of the best examples of biomimicry? How do businesses learn and apply ideas from nature? How can people get involved in biomimicry? Design Co. Design Uniqlo is making masks out of its underwear fabric Co.
Design You can now buy used clothes online from Walmart Co. Work Life Work Life Managers, think twice before you send that 2 a.
Biomimicry : Innovation Inspired By Nature
Anyone interested in the people and ideas that are shaping our future must read this book to know where the most exciting revelations lie -- -literally all around us. Benyus is criticized for not getting all the technical details right as she Janine M. She is a graduate of Rutgers with degrees in forestry and writing and has lectured widely on science topics. She lives in Stevensville, Montana.
Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature
Janine M. Benyus born in New Jersey is an American natural sciences writer, innovation consultant, and author. Benyus teaches interpretive writing, lectures at the University of Montana , and works towards restoring and protecting wild lands. She serves on a number of land use committees in her rural county, and is president of Living Education, a nonprofit dedicated to place-based living and learning. Benyus lives in Stevensville, Montana. Benyus has authored six books on biomimicry , including Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature.
Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired By Nature