July 06, 2016
Bees, Bones, & Geckos
What do bees, ants and schools of fish have to do with energy
efficiency? What does bone cell structure have to do with the partitions in your
Airbus A320 plane? What does a gecko (yes, that cute little Geico gecko) have to
do with eliminating toxic fumes in carpet tiles? If you know anything about
Biomimicry, the answer is everything.
Janine Benyus is the co-founder of
Biomimicry 3.8, a design consulting firm, which finds inspiration in
nature to solve business design and strategy problems. In effect, she uses
nature as her metaphor for discovering solutions to serious problems.
answer the opening questions…
ants, and schools of fish communicate in very efficient ways among
themselves. It isn’t too much of a leap to take that concept of internal
communication among all players in the natural world to developing a
technology that also has its parts communicate efficiently with each
company Encycle adapted that communication approach and created a
product called Swarm Logic. It is a system of small wireless controllers
that communicate in bee/ant/fish-like fashion with one another to
monitor building-wide energy usage, making adjustments where and when
turns out that bone growth lends itself to a series of algorithms that
can determine lines of stress. These bone algorithms have direct
application to airplane construction and helped engineers design those
lightweight cabin partitions
Finally, if you have ever walked on attractiv inter-locking carpet
tiles, you may not know this, but at one time the glue that held them
together put out toxic fumes. By studying the way hairs interlock on a
gecko’s foot, Benyus and her team figured out how a different
interlocking system would eliminate the need entirely for that nasty,
Use Biomimicry Thinking to Solve Your Business Challenges
discovered Benyus’s work in a recent
BloombergBusinessWeek article and you can also see and listen to her on
likely, though, you are not designing energy efficiency systems, cabin
partitions, or glue-less carpet tiles, but Janine’s metaphorical thinking is
what caught my attention and has relevance for us. She basically follows the
same 3 step thought process for her clients that you can follow to solve
your problems in your world:
Identify your problem (Dealing with a difficult client; positioning your
product; overcoming a recurring objection; working with a limited
look outside your problem to other worlds (sports, nature, media,
politics, the arts, cooking, your client’s industry, other common life
experiences, etc.) and ask yourself, Where is there an actual or
conceptual parallel situation in that world to your problem?
think how can you adapt or translate that to your immediate problem?
notes, nature has had 3.8 billion years to figure out what works. The answer
to so many design and strategy issues is out there, if we just look for it.
Similarly, the apt metaphor is out there for you in business as well. You
just need to look for it.
Make What You Say Pay! — with Metaphors
Metaphors in the News
- How incredibly stupid was Bill Clinton’s meeting last week with
Attorney General Loretta Lynch? More than one commentator called it an
“unforced error” in a very important game where every move counts. Yes,
columnist writing about Trump’s economic proposals concluded, “Sorry,
but adding a bit of China-bashing to a fundamentally anti-labor agenda
does no more to make you a friend of workers than eating a taco bowl
does to make you a friend of Latinos.”
Build Your Team’s
Creative Thinking Powers
Teach your team to dazzle clients, vaporize objections, close business,
eliminate problems, streamline procedures and power up processes.
Thinking & Other Sales Wizardry,” the workshop that shows how to
generate ideas on a regular basis.
“A plain iron bar is worth $5. If you make horseshoes from it, the value
increases to $10. If you make needles, $3285. If watch springs,$250,000.
Ergo, the difference between $5 and $250,000 is creativity.” Anonymous.
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