Sun 15 Jan 2012
Frog design predicts that biomimicry (the same design approach I called biomimetics in my 2004 dissertation) will finally have its breakthrough in 2012:
In 2012, we’ll see increasing numbers of scientists, technologists, architects, corporations, and even governments looking to biomimicry—designing objects and systems based on or inspired by patterns in nature—as an efficient innovation strategy. Why? Often, nature can provide examples of energy-saving, environmentally-friendly solutions to a variety of technological challenges. These solutions have also been “tested” via billions of years of informal R&D—by animals, plants, insects, and other participants in the natural world who have come up with ways of harvesting water from fog, for example, or possess sleek forms that are more aerodynamic than traditional man-made ones. While bio-mimicry has been an emerging field for some time, in 2012 influential thinkers will begin to apply biomimetic principles on a larger scale, including the planning of new cities and the updating of urban infrastructures. In addition, experts will also begin exploring the pitfalls of biomimicry and will also share best practices, as more case studies are available. Frog Design
Well, I would surely hope so. I don’t know what ‘influential thinkers’ they are referring to but it sure sounds exiting. But unfortunately I have seen the same predictions for 2011, 2010 and probably before that. And when I investigated the state of biomimetic thinking in the summer 2010 (with the vague intention of turning my research into a more popular management book) I found that not much had happened since I left the research field in 2004. Examples are still primarily ‘structural’ – e.g. mimicking a butterfly’s wing or the lotus leaf’s repellant surface – not the vastly more interesting processual capacities of complex adaptive systems: intelligence, adaptivity, immune effects and self-healing, energy conservatism, cyclic resource circuits etc. This 2010 example from IBM is a little more interessting:
But I will definitely not abandon the subject and sooner or later I will write that general introduction to biomimetic innovation strategies.