Biomimicry — A Growing Movement in the Marketplace


Biomimicry — A Growing Movement in the Marketplace

Learn more about our bioinspired innovation work and services by emailing us at [email protected] and reading our report, Tapping into Nature. Follow the conversation on twitter: @TerrapinBG | #TapNature.

This blog was originally posted a guest blog for SXSW Eco‘s News and Updates. See the original post here.

Biomimicry is a hot topic right now — especially with the emergence of academic programs like Arizona State University’s biomimicry masters degree, centers like the Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, and now a biomimicry track at SXSW Eco. We have seen many innovative, environmentally-friendly technologies emerge from this process of translating natural strategies into engineered solutions. From disruptive products like Regen’s Swarm Energy Management™ that reduces building energy demand between 15-30% to Sharklet™ surfaces that inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria by up to 90% without the use of biocidal chemicals, biomimicry provides breakthrough, sustainable solutions at a time when our world desperately needs them.

What is even more promising is the shear number of bioinspired technologies just on the horizon. We have compiled these emerging innovations along with existing bioinspired products into an interactive graphic (explore it here) where individual technologies and cross-sector topics can be toggled to illustrate their connections to various industries. The graphic can also be used to display the technologies’ market readiness, ranging from early concepts to profitable commercial products. This tool identifies over 100 bioinspired technologies with connections to 36 industries such as agriculture, building systems, textiles, chemical manufacturing, transportation, healthcare, software, and water treatment. Biomimicry has evolved far beyond a source of initial inspiration to a widely-recognized, comprehensive methodology for innovation.

With this increasing focus on looking to nature for technology and design solutions, companies are particularly interested in how they can use this methodology. Terrapin is working with them to apply biomimcry to their R&D efforts. Our experience has shown that, like any other innovation process, translating life’s designs into commercially successful products, services, and systems still requires a strong entrepreneurial team, insightful strategy, market demand, and even a bit of serendipity. However, unlike other sources of innovation, biomimicry provides an unparalleled opportunity for forward-thinking companies to create groundbreaking, sustainable products and processes that are inspired by proven designs.

Hear more about the biomimetic process and opportunities at the session “Tools to Bridge Science, Design & Discovery,” where my colleague Cas Smith will be co-presenting with Marjan Eggermont of the University of Calgary.


*Header and feature image copyright NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr


Allison Bernett is an associate project manager and the public relations coordinator for Terrapin Bright Green. She graduated summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis with a double major in architecture and biology. Allison’s interests focus on architecture, sustainability, and bioinspired innovation.