I’m pretty sure that after the completion of the Biomimicry Professional/Master’s program this past winter, my brain was broken. Overloaded after using the biomimicry methodology to do an incredibly deep dive around how nature disrupts systems quickly and therefore how we might too, my brain was deprived of oxygen and needed to breathe. And rewire. For months. Biomimicry isn’t just a cool idea. It’s a new way of thinking.
Biomimicry has gained momentum over the last twenty years under Janine Benyus and Dayna Baumeister’s (and many others) relentless crusade to get the idea into public view. The traction biomimicry has is real. The connection people have with it is instinctual and exciting. The question I always get from people infected with the biomimicry bug is, “How can I do biomimicry?” I wish I had a straightforward response. Because biomimicry can be applied in different ways in basically any industry and at any scale, the answer to what you can do, of course, is that it is, well, up to you. Which is not terribly helpful. In part, this website has grown out of my desire to craft a better response than I’ve mustered in the past!
I was drawn to biomimicry because after having been in the professional sustainability field for years I felt like the conversations and solutions are band-aids on a fatal wound. While conservation of resources is crucial, it’s only part of a much larger story of “sustainability”.
Biomimicry provides a clear methodology to achieve this paradigm shift by getting out of our (cluttered) heads to find proven solutions in the life all around us – the how, the what, the where and the why of living sustainably and resiliently on Earth. We need that guidance. When integrated into the beginning of any “design” process – making sure we are even asking the right questions to begin with – use of the biomimicry methodology will result in widening positive ripple effects throughout human and non-human systems.
The other inspiration for this blog comes from my research on disrupting systems. For starters, we need more people understanding, thinking and practicing biomimicry. Period. These people (including you!) need to be from diverse backgrounds, industries and geographies. Second, we need to capitalize on opportunities for sharing the underlying design principle of biomimetic innovations to spark innovation based on the same design principle in other industries. Adhesion is adhesion is adhesion – just ask all the innovators using the gecko’s feet as inspiration to reinvent adhesion in diverse industries. And third, the more we can partner to elevate our biomimetic discoveries and successes, the more success we will all have. I want to hear your questions, constructive comments, topic requests, and contributions to my resources page. We can build this together.
With that in mind, through this weekly blog I aim to provide perspective on how to shift from liking the idea of biomimicry and reading about cool new technologies emerging out of universities and startups to how to incorporate it into what you do, in your own way. Your use of biomimicry might include taking an online class, attending a workshop, or getting a degree and bringing it to your organization or others. It might include bringing an expert in to teach and advise your team. You might learn about the science behind another biomimetic design and realize it solves a similar challenge in your industry. You might design a new more sustainable and resilient product or service, or revamp your business strategy using biomimicry. Perhaps you will disrupt an entire system, or fund someone who does. Then again, you might just start to use Life’s Principles to think about how you live your life and how you might change what you do to enable you to roll with the unpredictability we face in our daily lives. Or perhaps you will simply go outside more and notice and appreciate the dancing systems of life all around you, and realize that you are part of that dance.
If you do any of these things, we will be one step closer to rewiring our individual and collective brains to create that much needed fundamental shift: from behaving as if we are separate from, and therefore not beholden to, the life that supports us, to understanding our lives depend on the success of all life to create conditions that support us. We therefore need to behave and create in a conscious and responsible way that restores, regenerates and reciprocates by creating conditions that support all life. Thank you for joining me on this journey. Let’s change our story.