Celebrating Earth’s Genius with Janine Benyus

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Happy Earth Day, Homo sapiens! We sat down with our co-founder, Janine Benyus to talk about the most exciting things happening in the growing field of biomimicry — innovation inspired by nature.

We asked her how business can be transformed by looking to ecosystems as their mentor, explored what is (and is not) ‘real’ biomimicry, and finally, heard about people’s “aha” moments when immersed in the natural world— that special moment they realize just how much they can learn from (not just about) the stream, bluebird, mushroom, and maple tree in their backyard.

Here are three of our primary take-aways —

Applying ecosystem principles to social innovation just might be the next “big thing”.

Business can be a force for good. And the emergence of social enterprises paves the path for a whole new species of entrepreneur to emerge. So how do businesses operate more like (life sustaining) ecosystems? How do they give back to the natural environments from which they take, how do they foster cooperation (rather than competition), and embed resilience in their structure?

Nature does not create ‘things’ — nature has things disappear in to systems.

Today, there seem to be more and more innovations being touted as biomimetic, but in actuality, are centered around bio-utilization or only mimicking a natural shape. Real biomimicry mimics not only form, but function — with a sharp focus on the process and the system.

Biomimicry is here to stay — those who experience that shift in worldview are fundamentally changed.

Seeing nature as our mentor, and not as a warehouse of goods can be a life-altering moment. Janine has had the pleasure of watching several of these “ahas”.

The Biomimicry Institute empowers people to create nature-inspired solutions for a healthy planet. www.biomimicry.org

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