Learn how some of Kew's world-leading plant experts have come together with thought-leaders at Biomimicry for Creative Innovation (BCI) to see if we can help organisations make nature work harder for them.
Around 2,500 years ago Confucius was quoted as saying words along the lines of “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”
Too often, at risk of criticism or failure, we adjust our goals to meet what's possible rather than stick with what we know makes sense. For example, tough sustainability goals are as good as impossible without a change to the way we think - trying to optimise the components of a system without regard to the bigger picture is as effective of pushing water uphill.
But with a change in the way we think, by viewing the systems that interact to create the reality we experience, things can get simpler. Much simpler.
We know that there are connections between quality of food, nutrition, behaviour, health cost, wellbeing, biodiversity and life expectancy. Addressed as individual disciplines, progress is tough at best; addressed systemically, the jigsaw falls into place.
The best way of getting an insight into this whole problem thinking, is to invoke nature’s genius for doing just that. Studying nature in this way is sometimes called biomimetics, or biomimicry – and at its best it can lead to significant new ideas or approaches based on the rigour and knowledge of science.
What is biomimetics?
The word biomimetics was coined from the Greek words bios (life) and mimesis (to imitate) in the mid 1950s by Otto Schmitt. Biomimetics reflects the interest we have in understanding how organisms in nature have used basic elements to design ways to survive, then captured these designs and used them in new ways. More recently the interdisciplinary approaches brought together by biomimetics have evolved into the concepts being explored in biomimicry. In her 1997 book, Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, Janine Benyus defined biomimicry as a "new science that studies nature's models and then imitates or takes inspiration from these designs and processes to solve human problems."
Kew has been applying biomimetics for literally centuries in the development of products for human use. But it is clear that we can also use the knowledge of Kew’s botanists and mycologists to offer new ways of conceiving and planning business processes – ‘Business Shaped By Nature’.
To evaluate this aim, we’ve brought together some of Kew's world-leading plant experts with thought-leaders at Biomimicry for Creative Innovation (BCI) to see if we can help organisations make nature work harder for them.
In this blog, we’ll keep you up to date with our progress, but we also welcome ideas, stories, experiences and discussions from people who've worked with this project - or know people involved through other connections.
Most of all, we welcome ideas about how your businesses can benefit from being shaped by nature. Join us.
About this blog
'Business Inspired by Nature' is an emergent, resilient, dynamic new collective of individuals with a unique combination of skills, experiences and insights. We have a common goal of creating a healthy vibrant world by bridging business and biology, in other words, ecological thinking for radical transformation. We aim to transform industrial supply chains into business ecosystems, and to merge business ecosystems into natural ecosystems.
'Business Inspired by Nature's' collaboration of professional change agents, biologists and design professionals work with clients to apply nature's principles to business products, processes and systems.
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