Bio-What?

This post is an introduction to OPEN Fellow Dr. Taryn Mead’s new book “Bioinspiration In Business And Management: Innovating For Sustainability”.

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“Bio-what?”  It’s been a common question in my career.  As a long time practitioner- turned-scholar of bio-inspired innovation (i.e., biomimicry, biomimetics, circular economy, cradle-to-cradle, industrial ecology, etc.), I’ve adapted my message for a diversity of audiences. My latest adaptation, “Bioinspiration In Business And Management: Innovating For Sustainability” speaks to the business professional who has an interest in the field, but limited technical knowledge and time to dedicate to learning.  While I find the idea of learning from nature to be a seductive one, I strive to avoid this as a primary message in this book.  Several other books on the subject provide excellent nature porn, but my message is more tactical.  This research-guided glimpse into the world of bio-inspired innovation emphasizes the many ways that nature can influence how we view business, innovation, and management for more effective, sustainable solutions.  It also offers guidance for how to leverage our organizations as sources of positive impact on socioecological systems.

For those new to the field, a chapter dedicated to “The Basics” provides an introduction to the theory of bioinspiration, highlighting how 3.8 billion years of evolution can be a source of inspiration for many aspects of our organizations. The remaining chapters specifically focus on innovations for sustainability within management, operations, product development, and the global context.    There is also a section dedicated to the various tools available for those interested in experimenting and how to troubleshoot implementation in various cultures.  With ten years of experience as a bio-inspired innovation consultant, I’ve cut the fluff from the message and what remains is a frank discussion of what works and where the existing tools, practices, and methodologies fall short.  My academic research has focused on biomimicry from the perspective of innovation management and sustainability-oriented innovation and these two bodies of theory are core themes of the book.

This book may interest you if you’re an academic or business professional looking for an accessible read on the subject of bioinspiration.  You could probably get through it with a couple hours on a plane or train.  It’s also an ideal length textbook for a week-long course on the subject and is currently being used as a supplemented text for a longer 10-week master’s level course entitled “Nature-Inspired Innovation and Design” offered through Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, CO.  A preview is available on Google Books: https://books.google.com/books/about/Bioinspiration_in_Business_and_Managemen.html?id=bjpDDwAAQBAJ

More complete and academic findings will also be publicly available in my PhD thesis/dissertation entitled: “Factors Influencing the Adoption of Nature Inspired Innovation in Multinational Corporations” completed at the University of Exeter, UK.

If you have interest in developing a course for your university or would like to discuss the subject of the book, Taryn Mead can be reached at tarynlmead@gmail.com.

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