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Nature-Inspired Business Practices

biomimicry

What is Biomimicry? Biomimicry (from bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate) is a design discipline that seeks sustainable solutions by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies, e.g., a solar cell inspired by a leaf.  The core idea is that Nature, imaginative by necessity, has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with: energy, food production, climate control, non-toxic chemistry, transportation, packaging, and a whole lot more.

Animals, plants, and microbes are the consummate engineers. They have found what works, what is appropriate, and most importantly, what lasts here on Earth. Instead of harvesting organisms, or domesticating them to accomplish a function for us, biomimicry differs from other "bio-approaches" by consulting organisms and ecosystems and applying the underlying design principles to our innovations. This approach introduces an entirely new realm for entrepreneurship that can contribute not only innovative designs and solutions to our problems but also to awakening people to the importance of conserving the biodiversity on Earth that has so much yet to teach us.

A global conversation on how biomimicry will shape innovation and education in the years to come.
Education Summit and Global Conference

Looking at Nature as Model, Measure, and Mentor

Consciously emulating Nature's genius means viewing and valuing the natural world differently. In biomimicry, we look at Nature as model, mentor, and measure.

Model:  Biomimicry is a new science that studies Nature’s models and then emulates these forms, processes, systems, and strategies to solve human problems – sustainably.

Mentor:  Biomimicry is a new way of viewing and valuing nature. It introduces an era based not on what we can extract from the natural world, but what we can learn from it.

Measure:  Biomimicry uses an ecological standard to judge the sustainability of our innovations. After 3.8 billion years of evolution, Nature has learned what works and what lasts.

Often people associate biomimetic design with products, e.g., self-cleaning fabrics, anti-fouling surfaces, carbon-sequestering cement. Biomimicry and Life's Principles can also be applied at the systems level, and one such system is how we run our business.

Erin Leitch, Certified Biomimicry Professional and Biomimicry 3.8 staff person, foraged through AskNature in search of nature's strategies that could be applied to businesses to help them get through a down economy. Check out the slide show on GreenBiz to find out more about the strategies that inspired these seven lessons:

  • Develop a tailored strategy to create an affinity with the resources you need to attract.
  • Timing is everything.
  • Manage stocks and flows through a linked professional network.  Acknowledge the importance of collaborators to growing and thriving with you and build resilience as a community through cooperative resource management.
  • Partner with a complementary product or service for your business instead of expanding beyond your core competency or acquiring such businesses.
  • Don’t lose track of the good ideas and relationships that you still haven't been able to put into action.
  • Take low value or off-the-shelf assets and rearrange them is such a way that the emergent outcome is of higher value.
  • Find opportunities to piggyback on other efforts.

www.biomimicry.net/news

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