ABSTRACT: Biomimicry: Lightweighting Inspired by Nature
Cheetahs, falcons, hummingbirds, and dragonflies long ago took the sustainability challenge and won. Nature’s champions sip energy, shave material use, eschew toxins, and their ultralight materials perform, adapt, and self-repair in ways that inspire envy and emulation. Janine Benyus is the author of Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature and founder of Biomimicry 3.8, a biological intelligence firm that brings nature’s best ideas to engineering and design tables worldwide. At Converge, she’ll explore the nexus of lightweighting and climate solutions, and reveal a new generation of biomimetic algorithms to build on Optistruct’s bone-inspired success.
Janine Benyus is the Co-‐founder of Biomimicry 3.8. She is a biologist, innovation consultant, and author of six books, including Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. Since the book’s 1997 release, Janine has evolved the practice of biomimicry, consulting with businesses and conducting seminars about what can be learned from the genius of nature.
She has personally introduced millions to the meme of biomimicry through two TED talks, hundreds of conference keynote presentations, and a dozen documentaries such as Biomimicry, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Tree Media, 11th Hour, Harmony, and The Nature of Things with David Suzuki, which aired in 71 countries. Most recently, Janine has been a featured speaker at Sustainable Brands 2016 and at Bloomberg BusinessWeek Design 2016.
However, Janine’s favorite role is biologist at the design table, where she introduces innovators to 3.8 billion years worth of brilliant, time-‐tested solutions through her work at Biomimicry 3.8.
In 1998, Janine co-‐founded the Biomimicry Guild with Dr. Dayna Baumeister. That consultancy morphed into Biomimicry 3.8, a B-‐Corp social enterprise providing biomimicry consulting services to clients like Boeing, Colgate-‐Palmolive, Nike, General Electric, Herman Miller, HOK architects, IDEO, Natura, Procter and Gamble, Levi’s, Kohler, and General Mills. As a result of working with Janine’s team, the world’s largest commercial carpet manufacturer, Interface, Inc., introduced a carpet line inspired by random pattern formation in nature. In record time, Entropy™/I2 rose to become Interface’s top-‐selling product, representing 40% of its carpet tile sales.
In 2006, Janine co-‐founded The Biomimicry Institute, a non-‐profit institute to embed biomimicry in formal education and informal spaces such as museums and nature centers. Over 4,000 educators are now part of the Biomimicry Education Network, introducing biology’s lessons to students who will one day design, engineer, and manage our world. In 2008, the institute launched AskNature.org, an award-‐winning bio-‐inspiration site for inventors.
Among various other roles, Janine serves on the U.S. Green Building Council Board of Directors, the advisory board for the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, the advisory board for Project Drawdown and is an affiliate faculty member at The Biomimicry Center at Arizona State University.
Janine has received numerous awards including an Edward O. Wilson Biodiversity Technology Pioneer Award in 2015, The Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development 2013, The Heinz Award 2011, Time Magazine’s Hero for the Planet Award 2008, United Nations Environment Programme’s Champion of the Earth for Science and Technology 2009, the Rachel Carson Environmental Ethics Award, the Lud Browman Award for Science Writing in Society, and the Barrows and Heinz Distinguished Lectureships. In 2010, BusinessWeek named Janine one of the World’s Most Influential Designers. In 2012, she received the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-‐Hewitt National Design Mind Award, given in recognition of a visionary who has had a profound impact on design theory, practice, or public awareness.
Her work in biomimicry has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, Esquire, The Economist, Time Magazine, Wired, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, Nature, the BBC and more.
An educator at heart, Janine believes that the more people learn from nature’s mentors, the more they’ll want to protect them. This is why she writes, speaks, and revels in describing the wild teachers in our midst.