How would you deal with a complex challenge? You might just think of a solution, leave it the way it is or ask somebody for help. But did you ever consider how a snail overcomes its obstacles? Or how a slime mold would approach your challenge? And what could you learn from the strategies of a tropical rain forest? This just might be the inspiration you need to solve your problem. Nature has about 3.8 billion years of experience in solving complex challenges and through time, many existing processes and strategies have been optimised for survival. Imagine what the world would look like if we could use all this knowledge to build a sustainable future together.
That’s why more and more people all over the world are looking into biomimicry: innovation inspired by nature. There are already many bio-inspired products, even in your surroundings. Velcro tape for example, is inspired by burrs sticking to the dogs fur of a scientist. He discovered little needles at the surface and translated that into a design. Now the question is if we could also learn from nature within organisations. Understanding in what way our challenges relate to nature around us it might open our eyes to solutions that we might not have seen before.
Logistics lessons from Temnothorax Ants
Organisations working with changes in production demand don’t always have the same amount of workload, so do not always need the same amount of staff. To formulate this challenge differently, we could ask ourselves: How does nature deal with changing numbers in workload, food available or group size? When looking for the answer to this question, you don’t have to seek too far: Temnothorax ants adjust their nest size according to colony changes. This is calculated on the current number of ants, history and the most ideal colony size. Do you think that you could do something with this principle?
Be like a bee: efficient decision taking
Honeybees are best at making group decisions. Although a colony can contain more than 4,000 workers, together they are able to find a new nest site. Scouts coming back from their visit show the place and it’s worth. Other bees go take a look and when more than 15 choose a certain place, the decision has been taken. The underlying principles are pretty straight forward: finding suitable alternatives, let these compete with each other and reduce the options through simple, effective rules to make a choice. What could your organisation learn from these bees when group decisions have to be made?
Take your next step into Biomimicry
The Biomimicry Action Kit helps you to bring nature into innovation. The kit guides you through the process of learning from nature and helps to transform her solutions into usable ideas for your challenge. Want to learn more about Biomimicry? For more background and inspiration check out these website: asknature.org, biomimicry.net and genius of biome.