The Bio-Inspired Design Community

© Don Hammond/Design Pics/CorbisThe Bio-Inspired Design (BID) Community will promote the practical application of bio-inspired design, emphasizing the ‘challenge to biology’ approach.  The objective is to foster more effective and efficient methods for developing solutions based on natural principles.  The goal is to encourage the conscious application of principles that support and promote solutions facilitating sustainable human behavior and leading to successful products, services and systems initiatives.

 

Motivation

Individuals and organizations have a thriving interest in doing pragmatic and relevant design based on principles and solutions learned from nature.  At the same time, the number of active BID practitioners is growing, providing a source of inspiration, moral support and practical guidance to the ‘next wave’.  

A community serving the needs of individuals and organizations using BID as a key problem-solving method will help build bridges between different experience levels and disciplines.  It will be a hub for collecting and broadcasting BID information, knowledge and expertise.  Such a community can explore initiatives in three areas:

  • motivation to apply BID by demonstrating its value in various contexts
  • development of tools, methods and approaches supporting the effective and efficient use of BID
  • expanded opportunities to apply BID through sharing successes, identifying trends and encouraging collaboration

Membership

Current practitioners in the field of bio-inspired design are the cornerstones of the BID community.  They actively share their real-world experiences and insights, coach ‘up and coming’ members of the community, and lead discussions on fundamental issues relating to BID.  In turn, they gain fresh perspectives on advances in BID, access to a more diverse personal network, personal satisfaction at helping others become successful at practicing BID, and community recognition for making a tangible contribution to expanding the field of BID.

Up and coming members (the 'next wave') have a responsibility to apply what they have learned through the community and report their experiences.  As their experience grows, they coach others.  They benefit from an accelerated learning curve through feedback and ideas from the larger community and participating in BID opportunities.  They will also gain greater confidence to try new approaches and take on new challenges.

The BID community needs facilitators who translate between disciplines (science, biology, engineering), organize and synthesize knowledge, develop tools and methods, and ensure community members can effectively use these BID aids.  Facilitators can help identify ways of incorporating the richness, immediacy and credibility of face-to-face meetings into the virtual community.  The community participates in piloting tools and methods that demonstrate tangible improvements and provide widespread value.  Facilitators are recognized for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the community.

Lastly, the BID community needs people knowledgeable in human history, psychology and cognition, helping facilitate the intersection of design and human behavior.  The interdisciplinary nature of BID is a creative act, and understanding how to encourage these efforts may yield techniques to enhance creativity generally as well as promote BID as a way of thinking.  If BID is to succeed as an agent of change, our community must include individuals who are versed in the art of identifying resistance to change and pathways by which change may be effected.  We need think about our relationship with the nature and how our values affect the organization of technology and institutions if humans are to become “honoured as part of the biosphere”.  The community offers opportunities to discuss new ideas and approaches that could lead to expanded efforts in education, research and practical training.

The community will start with roughly 100 ‘charter members’ based on personal recommendations and early newsletter distribution lists.  We will seek to attract participants from diverse backgrounds to expand the areas in which BID is relevant.  Members will be recognized for active participation and helping to grow the community.  We will operate as an informal cooperative with members influencing in how the community will be organized. 

Services

A $15 quarterly membership fee for individuals will support the quarterly newsletter and a dynamic, collaborative website.  In the future, a membership structure for academic institutions, businesses and other organizations will be developed.   

Services provided by the website will include comprehensive user profiles, forums, blogs, event calendars and information libraries.  Members will have the greatest content access and website privileges, as well as access to future services such as customized reports, tools for matching opportunities with capabilities or support for collaborating on specific projects.  The website will also support limited access by visitors and registered users who are not yet paid-up members.  This allows the BID community to reach a wider audience and attract new members.

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