The Fourth Year of the BID Community

© Don Hammond/Design Pics/CorbisThe BID Community is at a crossroads.  In hindsight, the original concept of creating a "space" where current and aspiring practitioners, facilitators and people knowledge about the human condition could share ideas appears to have been premature.  We have had little success in reaching out to the broader community and BID Community activity has been steadily declining.  It is not clear that we even meet the criteria of a community.  Although the Internet allows us to 'meet' virtually, the energy generated through face-to-face discussions seems to dissipate quickly when we return to our 'day jobs'.  We share an interest in the concepts of biomimicry, biomimetics and bio-inspired design (B3D for short) but adopt a diverse set of approaches in applying these concepts.  This is in itself not an issue but makes it challenging to identify common attitudes, interests and goals.

Although many of us have been involved in spreading the message of B3D, a lot of us have also experienced the challenges of turning theory into practice.  The enthusiastic response from new converts can be very motivating but that enthusiasm is sometimes shallow and not easily converted into meaningful action.  The concepts seem elegant and simple, but 'the devil is in the details'.  We can handle emulation of form, often find emulating process challenging (lack of knowledge or the inertia of current human systems), and struggle with emulating systems due to their inherent complexity.  Yet many of us were drawn to B3D by the promise of changing how we as humans relate to nature, a complex systems challenge by any definition. 

In spite of the increasing media attention to B3D, many of us find it difficult to articulate B3D's value in terms that are relevant to the average listener.  Few case studies have been adequately researched and documented - the emphasis tends to be on the inspiration aspect rather than on the results achieved.  Even documenting the pivotal role of B3D in a specific innovation can be challenging, especially as commercialization of products or services hit challenges that are often quite different from the original problem.  The good news is that the BioM Innovation Database described in this issue is well on the way to collecting and analyzing the information needed to build a library of validated case studies.  This work should encourage greater research into all aspects of B3D.

Lastly, there is a growing recognition that B3D is part of a larger context, expressed in Brett Joseph's interview and the Ethos and (Re)connect article.  B3D is part of a far-reaching shift in thinking that may very well reflect a new paradigm.  Although the reductionist approach has been critical to the success of the human species, the costs are becoming increasingly evident as are the challenges in changing course.  The good news is that B3D is not alone. 

A number of BID Community initiatives have recently been launched that address some of these issues.  The B3D Workshop Initiative is intended to build consensus around what a B3D community might look like and also increase momentum towards establishing B3D as a recognized field or discipline.  The B3D Webinar series is designed to reach a broader audience, encourage dialog on B3D challenges and opportunities, build a library of knowledge and help kick off tangible initiatives.  The first of these is the North America's involvement in the ISO/TC 266 Biomimetic Certification program. 

Stay tuned for more details and keep making a difference!


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