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Biomimicry Certificate Program
Jeremy Faludi, 2 Dec 07
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Are you fascinated by the potential of biomimicry to change the world? After all, Janine Benyus was named one of TIME Magazine's Heroes of the Environment in 2007. Do you personally want to use biomimicry to redesign the world? Well, there's a new certificate program that may be for you.

For nearly a decade, Janine Benyus and Dayna Baumeister have been teaching and consulting for companies on how to do green innovation through inspiration from nature, through the Biomimicry Guild and the more recent non-profit Biomimicry Institute. They have long offered weekend workshops and a two-week immersive training (usually in Costa Rica, the Galapagos, or other zoologically stunning locations). The programs have been successful enough that many people they have taught now teach biomimicry at universities, primary and secondary schools, and as consultants. The Biomimicry Institute even has some downloadable curricula for K-12 schools on their website, and links to university classes & programs around the world, from Hungary to Singapore. Not all of the college programs listed teach biomimicry for green design--some, like Stanford and Berkeley, use it more in the interests of robotics and medical devices. But most of the schools listed do teach biomimicry specifically to highlight sustainable innovation in materials, engineering, and other fields, because sustainability is a core value of the Institute, and those are the people they are generally connected to. Baumeister herself teaches an online course in the sustainable design certificate program at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Another core offering of the Biomimicry Institute is the Biologist at the Design Table, teaching biologists how to meaningfully contribute to design and innovation processes in companies, either as internal company advisors or external consultants. (Of course, already-trained biologists are available for hire through the Biomimicry Guild.)

Now Baumeister is leading a collection of experts to teach a two-year long certificate program in biomimicry, aimed at turning people into biomimetic innovation consultants, educators, or practitioners within existing companies. Biologists, designers, engineers, chemists, businesspeople, architects, and those from other walks of life who think they can change the world are all welcome. A small group of people will be selected--Baumeister says she wants to find "16 top notch participants who I am confident will head out into the world following this course and devote their careers to biomimicry." Participants will learn how to operate fluently in the field of biology through the lens of functionality, translating between a company's functional specifications of a problem and the survival adaptations found in species around the world. They will gain the ability to research nature's solutions and methodologies, and turn this research into suggestions for product or service innovation within a company. The program will be non-residential, with five week-long trips to the Institute's headquarters in Montana and the bulk of the classes online. Classes start in May, and applications are due in just a couple weeks, at the winter solstice. Details and application forms are on the Institute's website.

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Comments

Such an exciting time we live in -- at the fore front of mainstreaming green design. Just imagine the bright green innovations we'll come up with when we couple this with C2C. And yesterday, my government (finally) signed the Kyoto Protocol! Optimism is back.


Posted by: Angus McLauchlan on 3 Dec 07

It is wonderful when an idea, a design concept etc is taken from one field to another. However, the problem is that the world of science is too complex for one person to get a grasp on.

How about setting up a resource where experts or amateurs in different fields can describe 'clever' designs - could be from the kidney, mosquitos' wings, anything. This resource could be available for anyone who to get ideas...


Posted by: Daniel vS on 4 Dec 07

It is wonderful when an idea, a design concept etc is taken from one field to another. However, the problem is that the world of science is too complex for one person to get a grasp on.

How about setting up a resource where experts or amateurs in different fields can describe 'clever' designs - could be from the kidney, mosquitos' wings, anything. This resource could be available for anyone who to get ideas...


Posted by: Daniel vS on 4 Dec 07

Daniel,

That resource of ideas is in the process of being born!
See the Biomimicry Design Portal at the Biomimicry Institute website:

http://biomimicryinstitute.org/resources/biomimicry-design-portal.html


Posted by: Arnica on 5 Dec 07



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