This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. (July 2018)
The Biomimicry Institute is non-profit organization based in Missoula, Montana, United States. It was founded in 2006 by Bryony Schwan and Janine Benyus; a natural sciences writer, innovation consultant, and author of six books, including Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature.
Biomimicry is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature's patterns and strategies. The goal is to create products, processes, and policies that are better adapted to life on earth over the long term. While humans have long looked to nature for inspiration, biomimicry encourages design that functions like living organisms do, creating materials, products, and solutions that can be applied to a wide variety of human systems including energy, architecture, transportation, medicine, communication, and agriculture. As humans face growing threats from climate change, population growth, and resource depletion, biomimicry offers a key approach to increasing the sustainability of local and global communities.
The Biomimicry Institute empowers people to create nature-inspired solutions for a healthy planet. Within the larger field of biomimicry the Institute has three primary objectives: 1) Increase access to high quality materials and services for learning, teaching, and practicing biomimicry. 2) Develop the proficiency and practice of next generation innovators so that they have the orientation, skills, and support necessary to use biomimicry to tackle pressing sustainability challenges. 3) Shift the design culture so that biomimicry is widely recognized and used as a tool to advance sustainable and restorative innovation.
The Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge (YDC) is a hands-on, project-based learning experience that provides classroom and informal educators with an engaging framework to introduce bio-inspired design and an interdisciplinary lens on science, engineering, and environmental literacy. It gives middle and high school students a unique STEM experience and empowers them to envision solutions to social and environmental challenges resulting from climate change.
The Biomimicry Global Design Challenge (BGDC) is an annual program that gives universities and professionals the opportunity to learn biomimicry while applying it to create solutions to climate change. Whether emulating the functions of leaf litter to support cost-effective reforestation or developing an electricity-free refrigeration technology modeled on elephants, the design challenge teams produce impactful solutions inherently based on environmental sustainability. Participants have access to training, mentoring, and resources like our Toolbox and AskNature. Finalists are invited to join the Biomimicry Launchpad to get support to bring their design to market.
The Biomimicry Launchpad is the world's only accelerator program that supports early-stage entrepreneurs working to bring nature-inspired innovations to market. The Launchpad provides entrepreneurs and changemakers with the resources they need to launch and grow successful biomimicry businesses, accelerates the development and commercialization of biomimicry innovations, and helps create the next generation of sustainability entrepreneurs. Each year, Launchpad teams are eligible to compete for the $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize®, sponsored by the Ray C. Anderson Foundation.
AskNature is the world's most accessible and comprehensive online bridge to nature's solutions for innovation professionals, students, and educators. Launched in 2008, this free service features nearly 1,700 articles describing how living systems have adapted to thrive amongst a myriad of conditions and challenges. It also features a catalog of bio-inspired inventions and research projects, and a resource library for people learning about and teaching bio-inspired design. Each year over half a million people visited AskNature to conduct research, teach biomimicry and inspire innovation.