Janine Benyus shares nature’s designs Video on TED.com

This video is worth watching as an introduction to biomimicry, a doorway to innovation which we can help all of us human engineers to leverage millions of years of evolutionary adaptations which allow natural organisms to survive and thrive on planet Earth.

While we talk about innovation ALL the time in business, and certainly within IBM, and with our IBM clients, I believe too often we human beings are still taking a fairly siloed, stilted approach. Not only do we need to look outside our own companies and industries for innovation, we need to look at different disciplines like art and music, and nature. This video is focused on leveraging and learning from nature. We need to look at natural systems, which tend to be self-replenishing, and organisms as part of those natural systems. A simple example that Janine Benyus shares in this video is the ability of 80 million locusts in a square kilometer to navigate without colliding – they have a very large “sense and respond” neuron, and now a researcher at Newcastle University is designing a collision avoidance circuitry based on this natural capability of locusts.

Three questions Janine asks us to consider as we design for the future:
1. How does life make things? (Without heat, beat and treat – and lots of waste?)
2. How does life make the most of things?
3. How does life make things disappear into systems?

Of course, the bottom line is that we need to be able to create in a way that is not destructive and wasteful, and toxic… In many ways, biomimicry complements the “Cradle to Cradle” concepts of William McDonough and Michael Braungart, and along with emerging disciplines like green chemistry, sustainable design and industrial ecology, help form the basis of a new era of industrial design that provides a path forward into a more sustainable world economy.