Making Biom* Real

One of the initiatives that I want to focus on in 2016 is 'making biom* real'.  The sixteenth issue of Zygote Quarterly ​includes three articles in this area. 

An issue with many biom* case studies is that they focus on the natural inspiration and the technological product but rarely discuss the 'secret sauce' in between.  Putting the Nosecone to Work describes the 'messy design process' required to develop a product that improves wind turbine efficiency, from understanding business trends and needs, identifying sources of inspiration, developing/testing solutions, and building partnerships among key stakeholders. 

The interview with Peter Niewiarowski describes how the University of Akron and Great Lakes Biomimicry were able to attract local industry and non-profits to support the Biomimicry Research and Innovation Center and its Biomimicry Fellows, not only financially but also by engaging the Fellows in real-life challenges.  Peter emphasizes the importance of collaboration to "create a ‘space’ that encompasses the important knowledge fields and ideally enhances all of them."

Expanding on Peter's comment,  Innovation Through Transdisciplinary Training ​contrasts intradisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary teamwork.  The article describes a novel approach to teaching transdisciplinary collaboration that culminates in the students solving a specific business problem.  Rather than teaching students to work across disciplines, the course emphasizes the skills required to be effective in transdisciplinary teams.

The BID Community Think Tank will shortly be tackling tangible initiatives around 'making biom* real'.  If you have any ideas, please let me know.

Thanks, Norbert

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