Ask Nature

In this post I briefly talked about Biomimicry (getting inspired for new technologies, products,… by nature). Today I’ll zoom in on this a little more. If you don’t want to read the entire post, just scroll down and watch the TED-talk on Biomimicry.


Basically Biomimicry is asking yourself: How would nature do this? The core idea is that Nature, imaginative by necessity, has already solved many of the problems we are facing: energy, food production, climate control, non-toxic chemistry, transportation, packaging, and a whole lot more.

This led to a design-method where you try to translate these solutions in a system, product, … .


However interesting this is, why should people bother?

Most (if not all) environmental problems we’re facing today, we’re facing because of our incapability in cycle thinking. In nature everything is connected, waste is food for a next (or even the same) system. If this kind of thinking already exists (and proved its value), it would be a waste of time and money to ignore it.

By copying nature you could find ways to solve problems easily and keep it all sustainable (if you’re able to see the entire picture of what you’re doing that is)!


So, how do you copy nature?

First of all you’ll have to know how nature works. Sometimes looking around is enough to do this, but when you would like to know how to create heat, the vibration of a honeybee might not be the first thing that pops to mind.

This is where AskNature comes in handy. This site is an Open Source platform where experts post how nature solves problems. The main idea as they put it themselves:

Imagine 3.8 billion years of design brilliance available for free, at the moment of creation, to any sustainability innovator in the world.

Imagine nature’s most elegant ideas organized by design and engineering function, so you can enter “filter salt from water” and see how mangroves, penguins, and shorebirds desalinate without fossil fuels.

Now imagine you can meet the people who have studied these organisms, and together you can create the next great bio-inspired solution.

Embedded below is a TED-talk by Janine Benyus on 12 design ideas from nature. Feel free to check out AskNature here.


About leyssensjan

WHY I DO WHAT I DO As a designer and entrepreneur, I want to develop systems that have a strong impact on short term and will guide society towards a more sustainable, social and economically different system in the long term. WHAT I DO I blog about and do projects with people and organisations driven by passion. I'm always on the look for new projects, ideas and people to meet, contact me!
This entry was posted in design, education, inspiration, low impact, research, technology, TED, transition, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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