For those of you who haven’t met Alëna, or followed her comments within the blog, I’d just like to point out that she is bloody superb. On her blog there is an excellent overview of “how to read science papers” that is a superb resource. For the most part, I’m probably going to repeat what Alëna already laid out beautifully, but thought I should put it in my own words and lock it in.
How to read a science paper
Continuing on from the my thoughts yesterday, how do you explore design research and biology research in parallel?
Using nature to prove your idea
It is very tempting to look to nature to find “proof” that justifies your pre-existing idea. Often it is easy to find a connection between natural systems and the theoretical best-practices within the fields of urban planning, architecture and industrial design. But if you are already aware of these ideas, has the biology research really helped you? And if these best-practices remain theoretical and mostly unachieved, are you even asking the right questions?
Perhaps in some cases this is all the heart desires, confirmation that you’re exploration is heading in the right direction, and new stories to help convey the thinking to your often unwilling audience.
But biomimicry should be about making “new” insights and observations that shift, challenge and expand how we approach design, business and engineering challenges. In order to achieve this level of insight a completely different mindset is required. The investigation requires ego to be set aside and preconceived wisdom to be parked on the back shelf and freedom to explore some rabbit holes whose end destinations may be unclear.