Biomimicry: A New Design Model

The next time you send a meeting invite for a brainstorming session about a new product or service, consider inviting a biologist. At least, that’s what Janine Benyus, biologist, science writer and author of Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, would recommend.

Benyus and her team of biologists work with designers, inventors and architects to solve real-world problems by looking at nature to understand how it does things.

“…[I]f a company wanted to invent a new glue, we would tell them how geckos adhere to walls and how mussels glue themselves to rocks under water—examples of nature’s nontoxic ways of adhering,” Benyus told David Kupfer in a Sun Magazine interview.

“Biomimicry is not about harvesting nature’s resources but about sitting at her feet as students,” she added.

In effect, it is about collaborating with nature, rather than competing with her and in so doing, changing one aspect of the larger social story.

Benyus compares the emergence of this new design model as “…seedlings in the understory, waiting for the overstory—the old paradigm—to fall and allow light through…, she told Kupfer.


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