If you could design from scratch, how would it be different from what you have today?
This is what we ask ourselves everyday as Bioversum – Nature Inspired Systems. We look to biology, because the most elegantly refined solutions have already been designed by nature. Biomimicry, Circular Economy and Circular Design represent a rich and under-explored source of ideas to address many of the challenges in the world today.
The idea of Biomimicry was first published by Janine Benyus in 1996, while the Biomimicry framework and practice was co-developed by Janine Benyus and Dayna Baumeister, co-founders of Biomimicry 3.8 organization, as an innovation process that takes inspiration from nature’s patterns and strategies, and applies them to human systems. The main goal is to develop life-affirming sustainable products, services, processes and whole systems.
In Biomimicry success in life means the continuity of Life. All organisms alive today have learned to create conditions that are conducive to Life. There are various life’s principles—patterns in nature—used by organisms to achieve this circular way of living. Biological design is resilient, adaptable, multifunctional, regenerative and produces no waste. Biological systems therefore have developed adaptation strategies and offer us the proven blueprints for water harvesting, carbon sequestration, storage of energy, and so more.
To begin the Biomimicry Thinking Innovation Process, you define a specific function a design should fulfill at a technical, social, or systemic level. And from there, all you have to do is find biological strategies for addressing your defined design challenge.
Circular Economy and Circular Design
Most products are not designed for reuse or high quality recycling. This creates a non-stop destructive impact on the environment. In addition, long-term supply of resources is one of the top issues in Europe today and threatens the longevity of many companies. In short, many of our our current business models produce enormous amounts of waste and are not sustainable.
To stop this development and to reduce dependencies on scarce natural resources, the EU released a Circular Economy Package in 2015 (released 2.12.2015). The goal: to design out waste. It is not simply about recycling; it is about designing products for cycles.
As an example, biogenic materials-such as wood-are to be used in a way that the product can be safely cycled through its biological lifecycle. For this reason, the only added material my be compostable or fermentable. In this way, at the end of use, all materials return safely to the soil. Products designed for a technical metabolism made out of non-renewable or recycled resources must be reusable, easily repairable, or capable of being broken apart. And toxic substances will no longer be part of the system because they are designed out completely to ensure they do not pollute the cycle.
This new, circular economy designs out waste and pollution, keeps products and materials in use, and regenerates natural systems. By following these principles, we can design today for the continuous tomorrows to come.
Nature Rewards Cooperation
Nature provides guidance, models, and metrics for how to be generous and resilient, and we want to share our expertise with you. Look to us if you would like to learn how to use these techniques, collaborate on research, or develop a project inspired by nature’s principles.