Biomimicry looks to nature for innovation

Courtesy: Wikicommons

I’ve been spending a lot of time in San Diego lately, doing some teaching as well as learning! San Diego is known for many things: Beautiful weather, its biotechnology industry and of course the San Diego Zoo. As the keeper of the world’s largest collection of plants and animals, San Diego Zoo is working to develop collaborative efforts with national companies and organizations.

These days the city of San Diego is partnering with its zoo to see how they can stimulate an industry many Americans are just now hearing about: Biomimicry.

Biomimicry or biomimetics is the examination of nature, its models, systems, processes, and elements to emulate or take inspiration from in order to solve human problems. The term biomimicry is from the Greek words bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate. San Diego is trying to become a center for biomimicry by stimulating the industry and creating a hub for biomimicry research.

This makes an incredible amount of sense to those of us in the innovation industry. Innovative ideas have long been inspired by what we observe in nature, and I believe that what we can observe from animals in particular can give us insight into brand new inventions and technology.

The San Diego Zoo is bringing the 2011 Biomimicry Conference to its city in two weeks, and will offer the opportunity for attendees to consider how nature can play a huge part in innovation, and how biomimicry will transform many industries.

Interestingly, the two-day event is presented by mirasol®, a display innovation by Qualcomm. The local wireless giant recently commercialized a new type of display technology based the reflective properties of Morpho butterflies! The displays consume less battery power and makes it easy to see in daylight—just like the vibrant butterflies that inspired the innovation.

Check out the details of the conference here. I think biomimicry has the potential to be a key driver of innovation as well as an economic game-changer.

One Response to “Biomimicry looks to nature for innovation”

  1. mforthofer #

    Hi Cheryl,
    I enjoyed reading you blog on biomimicry. I am excited about the possibilities the discipline holds for innovation and sustainability. I am one of a handful of people formally studying to become a biomimic through the Biomimicry Institute’s 2 year program, founded by Janine Benyus. I would enjoy speaking with you some time about biomimicry and sharing thoughts about it.
    Best Regards,
    Marsha Forthofer

    June 29, 2011 at 5:42 pm

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