Biomimetics or biomimicry is the imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems. Biomimicry is taking a design challenge and then finding an ecosystem that has already solved that challenge and trying to emulate what you learn.
3 types of biomimicry
There are three types of biomimicry. One is copying form and shape. Another is copying a process, like photosynthesis in a leaf. The third is mimicking at the ecosystem’s level, like building a nature-inspired city.
Strategy and biology
What would happen when you apply biomimicry to designing your strategy? The first thing you will learn is that everything is connected. That counts for your business too. There is nothing linear about your organisation. Control is an illusion too. That is why you should study emergence.
Emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions. Emergence notices the way small actions and connections create complex systems, patterns that become ecosystems and societies. In the framework of emergence, the whole is a mirror of the parts. Existence is fractal. The health of the cell is the health of the species and the planet.
What can you learn from collaborative species such as for example, birds? Birds don’t make a plan to migrate, raising resources to fund their way, packing for scarce times, mapping out their pit stops. They feel a call in their bodies that they must go, and they follow it, responding to each other, each bringing their adaptations. There is an art to flocking: staying separate enough not to crowd each other, aligned enough to maintain a shared direction, and cohesive enough to always move towards each starling. The synchronised movement patterns of a starling flock is also known as a murmuration.
- Dandelions don’t know whether they are a weed or a brilliance. But each seed can create a field of dandelions.
- Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centred around simulating or directly utilising the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems.
- Mycelium is the part of the fungus that grows underground in thread-like formations. It connects roots to one another and breaks down plant material to create healthier ecosystems. Mycelium is the largest organism on earth.
- Ant societies function through individual ants acting collectively in accord with simple, local information to carry on all of their survival activities.
- The Wavicle, or wave-particle duality, suggests that all objects exhibit both wave and partical properties.
- Ferns are a form of fractal. Fractal is a never-ending pattern. Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales.
- Mushrooms detox the soil around them, not just removing the toxins, but transforming toxic content into nourishment.
- Somatics talks about the body as three billion years of evolutionary wisdom.
- The wings of a butterfly are already inside the caterpillar.
- Trees weather all storms because they are rooted.
- The skunk asks us to defend ourselves effectively, without causing further conflict.
- From starfish, you can learn that if we keep your core intact, you can regenerate.
When you observe the natural world, you will find that there is a structural echo that suggests two things: one, that there are shapes and patterns fundamental to our universe, and two, that what we practice at a small scale can reverberate to the largest scale.
When we think about snowflakes, grains of sand, waves in water, stars, there is evidence that many possibilities exist for how we manifest inside our potential. Then there are wavicles. Entities that are simultaneously waves and particles. Then there is quantum mechanics, which examines the smallest units of our universe and shows that everything we think of as solid and singular is actually fluid and multitudes.
Back to nature
Matter doesn’t disappear, it transforms. Energy is the same way. The earth is layer upon layer of all that has existed, remembered by the dirt. It is time to turn capitalism into a fossil, time to turn the soil, turn to the horizon together. Time to go back to nature/
Principles of emergent strategy
- Small is good, small is all.
- The large is a reflection of the small.
- Change is constant.
- It is about fluid adaptability.
- Be like water. Water is versatile. It can be big and powerful, it can quench thirst, it can be healing, it can drown us. It finds its own level, always. That is, water is always seeking balance and has a place it has to go.
- Diversity is absolutely necessary for survival.
- Tolerate messiness
- Walk on many paths all at once.
- Accept multitudes.
- Trust the people. If you trust the people, they become trustworthy
- Earth teaches us that everything is connected.
- The multiverse (or meta-universe) is the hypothetical set of finite and infinite possible universes, including the universe in which we live.
A book about self-transformation, curiosity, reflection, presence, patterns. quantum, somatics and vision. Also very difficult to read. It rambles on a bit. However, the message stands. We can learn and should learn a lot more from nature. Expect a lot more books in this space.