Biomimicry: Business solutions from nature Premium

To read the article in full, become Privileged Subscriber or log in

Resilience, adaptability, unprecedented agility, and higher quality for less cost: these are the buzzwords surrounding the revolutionary design and leadership discipline known as biomimicry. Find out how companies are looking to nature for answers to their most challenging product, strategy, and structural design problems.

Biomimicry is a way of looking at 3.8 years of good ideas to allow us to leapfrog ahead without having to go through all those years of evolution. We’re able to benefit by emulating the organisms that have already gone through the trial-and-error process and come up with amazing solutions.*

Who is using biomimicry… and for what?
Companies such as Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, and S.C. Johnson are increasingly bringing biologists to the design table to find inspired solutions for problems as varied as how nature would structure a company, organize talent management, or design a line of formaldehyde-free glues.

Biomimicry offers solutions for an array of challenges:
• Strategy: By basing corporate strategies on the Darwinian theory of evolution, business leaders will make their organizations more diverse, creative, and innovative and thereby enhance agility and adaptability.
• Organizational structure: Teams at the United States Green Building Council learned new ways to put an end to the hierarchical pyramid, broaden decision-making processes, and keep employees motivated by considering the symbiotic relationship between mycorrhiza fungi and trees, the reproductive strategies of the octopi, and the migratory patterns of birds in nature!
• Innovation: Biomimetic product design solutions use more sustainable and economical tactics than traditional human processes, which is why many today say the future of manufacturing lies in nature’s self-assembly methods. For example, the self-assembly of the abalone shell requires only minimal amounts of energy, produces nearly zero waste, and, perhaps most convincing of all, results in a better, tougher product than industrial ceramics.

* “Janine Benyus: Biomimicry is Innovation Inspired by Nature,” by Earthsky.org (Fast Company).

Read our Focus
Biomimicry: Business solutions from nature

Business Digest no. 221, November 2011.

Based on “Vu d’en haut – Pascal Picq,” (Le Nouvel Economiste, October 2011); “Biomimicry Challenge” by Alissa Walker (Fast Company, May 2010); “Biomimicry explained” (Center for Biologically Inspired Design, October 2011).