Using Nature as a Design Guide

BusinessWeek included an article on Janine Benyus and the biomimicry design movement in their Green Design Special Report.  In addition to being called upon to design greener products for companies like General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, IDEO and NASA., the Biomimicry Guild is also helping companies with internal processes that can lead to a 'green company', of which Interface is one of the leading examples.

The article describes a number of commercially-available innovations inspired by nature, including the bullet train nose, advanced wind turbine blades, biodegradable glues and a collision avoidance system developed by Volvo based on how locusts avoid crashing into each other.  IBM is also experimenting with self-assembly techniques for manufacturing processors, based on the way abalone shells grow.

Janine is working on a new book, Nature's 100 Best Technologies, "a compendium of the elegant solutions in nature that answer a lot of questions business people are asking right now".  Many of these innovations are based on organisms that are endangered, encouraging industry to help protect threatened habitats.  Along with a companion website, the book hopes to "radically increase the reach of her thinking and consolidate biomimetic design as a go-to corporate sustainable strategy."

Thanks to Eileen Stephens for the pointer!

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