Biomimicry, simply stated, is innovation inspired by nature. According to Biomimicry 3.8 (more below), “Biomimicry is an innovation method that seeks sustainable solutions by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies, e.g., a solar cell inspired by a leaf. The goal is to create products, processes, and policies—new ways of living—that are well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul.”
This emerging discipline, which leverages 3.8 billion years of R&D insights and utilizes rigorous methodologies including Biomimicry Thinking (similar to Design Thinking, and often integrated), is one of Colin’s most distinct interests, passions, and applicable skills. As it relates to the field of biomimicry, Colin is:
– A Certified Biomimicry Specialist (8-month immersive program)
– The Founder of Biomimicry LA, a regional network of multidisciplinary professionals and educators
– An Associate and Business Catalyst for Biomimicry 3.8 and its Institute
– The former acting Chief Marketing Officer for Biomimicry 3.8 and its Institute (12-month engagement)
He applies Biomimicry Thinking in his consulting practice with Biological Group, an innovation marketing and impact entrepreneurship consultancy based in Los Angeles and operating internationally. One project involves looking into natural systems for functional strategies that might inform improving the efficacy of humanitarian aid and development missions in emerging and post-conflict economies.
He is a frequent speaker and facilitator on biomimicry, bioinspiration, and related topics, with engagements including:
– TEDx Venice Beach (2015) | Watch Video Here
– BIL Conference (2015)
– Sustainatopia 2015 | Day 2 Plenary on “Smart Cities” plus panel on biomimicry
– The Impact Conference 2013, Miami, FL (also the 2012 conference)
– San Diego Zoo Global Center for Bioinspiration, in conjunction with the Learning Forum (Foresight Council); full-day workshop (March 2013)
– Global LAVA (Los Angeles Venture Association), relative to Impact Investing and social capital
– Bay Area Biomimicry Swarm, with Bryony Schwan (Executive Director, Biomimicry 3.8 Institute)
– Faurecia Westworks Innovation Center, Holland, MI (October 2012); full-day workshop
– Biomimicry LA Regional Meetup (November 2012, March 2013, May 2013)
– One Spark Academy, Thousand Oaks, CA, introduced 6th thru 8th graders to biomimicry (June 2013)
– Biomimicry Global Summit 2013, Boston, MA (June 2013)
– Sustainable Building Advisor Institute, Los Angeles, CA (July 2013), six-hour introductory workshop
He has recently been an advisor on both a thesis and dissertation focused on biomimicry for students in Lucerne, Switzerland and Copenhagen, Denmark.
Colin also writes about biomimicry, most recently for Medical Design magazine (cover story; sharks inspiring solutions for preventing hospital associated infections; read here). He has also begun researching and writing a book that ties biomimicry strategies together with entrepreneurial business development best practices. The book and his unique approach to “assembling” it will be announced on June 21, 2013, to coincide with the Biomimicry Global Summit in Boston, MA, June 21-23, 2013.
To speak with Colin about bringing biomimicry into your organization, ranging from a speaking engagement introduction to a deep-dive comprehensive initiative in conjunction with Biomimicry LA and/or Biomimicry 3.8 professionals, please email him at colin.mangham(at)biomimicryla.org.
MORE ON BIOMIMICRY, FROM BIOMIMICRY 3.8 (www.Biomimicry.net)
What is biomimicry?
Biomimicry is an innovation method that seeks sustainable solutions by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies, e.g., a solar cell inspired by a leaf. The goal is to create products, processes, and policies—new ways of living—that are well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul. Read “A Biomimicry Primer” by Janine Benyus. Biomimicry thinking helps create products and processes that:
Are sustainable | Biomimicry follows Life’s Principles. Life’s Principles instruct us to build from the bottom up, self-assemble, optimize rather than maximize, use free energy, cross-pollinate, embrace diversity, adapt and evolve, and use life-friendly materials and processes, engage in symbiotic relationships, and enhance the bio-sphere. By following the principles life uses, you can create products and processes that are well adapted to life on earth.
Perform well | In nature, if a design strategy is not effective, its carrier dies. Nature has been vetting strategies for 3.8 billion years. Biomimicry helps you study the successful strategies of the survivors, so you can thrive in your marketplace, just as these strategies have thrived in their habitat.
Save energy | Energy in the natural world is even more expensive than in the human world. Plants have to trap and convert it from sunlight and predators have to hunt and catch it. As a result of the scarcity of energy, life tends to organize extremely energy efficient designs and systems, optimizing energy use at every turn. Emulating these efficiency strategies can dramatically reduce the energy use of your company. Greater efficiency translates to energy cost savings and greater profitability.
Cut material costs | Nature builds to shape, because shape is cheap and material is expensive. By studying the shapes of nature’s strategies and how they are built, biomimicry can help you minimize the amount your company spends on materials while maximizing the effectiveness of your products patterns and forms to achieve their desired functions.
Redefine and eliminate “waste” | By mimicking how nature transitions materials and nutrients within a habitat, your company can set up its various units and systems to optimally use resources and eliminate unnecessary redundancies. Organizing your company’s habitat flows more similarly to nature’s, will drive profitability through cost savings and/or the creation of new profit centers focused on selling your waste to companies who desire your “waste” as a feedstock.
Heighten existing product categories | Biomimicry helps you see stale product categories in a radically different light. This new sight creates an opportunity for innovation.
Define new product categories and industries | Biomimicry can help you create disruptive technologies, that transform your industry or help you build entirely new industries.
Drive revenue | Biomimicry can help you create whole new growth areas, reignite stale product categories and attract both customers who care about innovation and sustainability.
Build your brand | Creating biomimetic products and processes will help your company become known as both innovative and proactive about the environment.