Hierarchy of Biomimicry Innovation

I'm really not sure what these levels should be, this is the first pass... looking forward to hearing any thoughts.

This post builds on my current obsession of taking other people’s diagrams and reinterpreting them through the lens of biomimicry. The “biomimicry ladder” above was drawn in my notebook after rediscovering the diagram below used to frame design in the broader context of innovation.

The design ladder is a useful 4-step model for grouping companies' design maturity on the basis of their attitudes towards design - from the Swedish Industrial Design Foundation.

Stages of the Biomimicry Journey?

The Swedish Industrial Design Foundation has a very clear outline of what each of the four levels are, visit the site here to go through in detail. It made me think of my previous post about innovation as a journey or a destination. When making my diagram I thought it might start a conversation about the stages of the “journey”… but I’m not so sure now.

Do we need a road map? Are there clear levels? Even in the design ladder, I feel some of the differences could be perceived as a little forced.

I thought it might be an interesting debate to throw out there;

Is “innovation” higher than “inspiration?

What is the ultimate “goal” within the biomimicry vision?What is the role of metrics, ie having something to measure and compare specifically to nature, within deep biomimicry?

Food for thought before I climb into bed…

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One Comment on “Hierarchy of Biomimicry Innovation”

  1. Tim McGee says:

    I thought one of the levels was “Biomimicry as Pleasure”… somewhat disappointed it is ‘measure’.

    In the past we have found that a useful mental model is to consider what people are approaching biomimicry for:

    1. For Bio-Inspiration
    2. For Reconnecting to the Natural World
    3. For Strategies that achieve sustainability

    We have avoided a hierarchy as it implies a certain importance or trending, when in fact we have seen people move into a more holistic understanding of biomimicry regardless of what they come for.

    I have seen died in the wool environmentalists who come to biomimicry because it is a strategy that helps achieve sustainability, become engaged in bio-inspired projects because they see how that can help change the world, and mental mind-sets.

    I have also been the guy who comes in just looking for bio-inspired innovation and walks away with a fuller sense of reconnecting to the natural world as an important value of biomimicry.

    Rather, than a hierarchy I think one of the values is that it is neutral ground on many levels and engages people to consider a broader perspective. Thus, I wonder if there are multiple pathways, or many hierarchies where the center is keeping them all in consideration?


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