OPEN Fellow – Dr Taryn Mead






First Name



Symbiosis Group

Job Title

Founder & Director


Taryn Mead is an innovation and management scholar whose research focuses on the interface between corporate sustainability strategies and conceptualisations of nature.  This includes subjects such as sustainability-oriented innovation, regenerative innovation, biomimicry, circular economy, the integration of planetary boundaries into corporate strategy, and the role of corporations in sustainable development.  She also has substantial experience in sustainable design and expertise in creativity for sustainability amongst design and engineering professionals in interdisciplinary settings.  With early training as a biologist and post-graduate studies in the social sciences, she has developed an interest in the epistemological underpinnings of transdisciplinary topics and how this influences sustainability narratives across disciplines.

Before pursuing her PhD, Taryn worked as biologist, sustainability strategist and Certified Biomimicry Professional consulting with over 30 corporate, municipal, and non-profit clients using biomimicry as a tool for innovation and sustainability. As a practitioner of biologically-inspired innovation, she has worked on domestic and international projects ranging from new product design to industrial ecosystems to new cities for 2 million inhabitants.  She has also served as the lead facilitator for numerous workshops with corporate clients and blossoming biomimics and lectured for large audiences.

Taryn’s teaching style combines a theoretical and conceptual foundation with practical skills and experiential pedagogical approaches to equip students with tools for systemic solutions.  She has experiences teaching in traditional classrooms, immersive field-based environments, and online to a variety of professional disciplines.

Why am I an OPEN Fellow?

I’d like to develop relationships with other academics who share similar values and pursue opportunities with these colleagues.

Areas of Expertise

Social sustainability issues;Environmental sustainability issues;Corporate sustainability;Strategy;Innovation;Circular economy;Resource management;Business transformation;Systems thinking;Science;Technology;Biomimicry

My expertise in more detail

As a biologist and innovation expert, my skills lie at the interface of these distinctly different fields. I am particularly interested in the application of biological principles to economic models, management strategies, and industrial systems and how this shapes the human relationship to natural systems in the broader context of socio-ecological systems.



• PhD in Management Studies, Biomimicry for Business Management Innovation, School of Business, University of Exeter, UK (ABD)

• Bachelor of Arts, Environmental Biology and Environmental Studies

Cum Laude, Western State Colorado University, Gunnison, CO (2006)


University of Exeter, Marie Curie Early Career Researcher, (6/13-present)

Research interests include the use of biologically-inspired innovation for corporate sustainability at multiple levels of research and development.  Emphasis on processes of sustainability-oriented innovation management and the impacts and effectiveness of corporate sustainability strategies.

Symbiosis, Founder and Innovation Strategist, (6/12-present)

Proprietor of independent bio-inspired consulting, facilitation and education.  Assisting clients with business and organizational strategy, built environment design, product and material development. Emphasis on innovation process and business strategy for sustainability-oriented innovation.

Biomimicry 3.8, Director of Consulting (12/11-5/12)

Support and leadership of consulting projects and staff.  Client relationship management including business negotiation, contracts, billing oversight and ensuring client satisfaction. 

Biomimicry Guild, Biologist at the Design Table, (3/07-7/11)

Translation and application of biological theory and principles to design applications in various industrial sectors. Workshop facilitation for design professionals. Biological literature research and interpretation for product innovation.   

Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies, Student Assistant, (1/03-6/03)

Landscaping and maintenance of 12 acre sustainable community. Emphasis on sustainable and organic techniques. Reforestation of threatened black walnut species:  transplanting, growth charting, etc. Design and construction of edible flower/medicinal herb garden. 


-Mead, T. (2016). Biomimicry as an Approach to Sustainability-Oriented Innovation in Multinational Corporations.  (Roundtable in PDW entitled Innovating for Sustainability: The State of the Art and Beyond). Academy of Management Annual Conference (Anaheim, CA, USA).

Mead, T. (Pending publication 2017). Bioinspiration in Business and Management: Innovating for Sustainability. Business Expert Press.

-Mead, T. and Jeanrenaud, S. (2017). The Elephant in the Room:  Biomimetics and Sustainability? Bioinspired, Biomimetic and Nanobiomaterials.

-Hoeller, N., Farnsworth, M., Jacobs, S., Chirazi, J., Mead, T., Goel, A., & Salustri, F. (2016). A Systems View of Bio-Inspiration: Bridging the Gaps. INSIGHT, 19(1), 36–40.

-Mead, T. (2016). Biomimicry As An Approach To Sustainability-Oriented Innovation In Multinational Corporations. European Meetings on Cybernetics and Systems Research. Proceedings not yet published.

-Mead, T. (2014) Commercialization of Biomimetic Technologies. Asean and EU Science, Technology and Innovation Days: 2014 (Bangkok, Thailand).  Proceedings not published.

-Mead, T. (2014) Biologically-Inspired Management Innovations. Presented at XXV ISPIM Innovation Conference – Innovation for Sustainable Economy & Society (Dublin, Ireland). Available on

-Mead, T. (2014). Biologically-inspired innovation in large companies: A path for corporate participation in biophysical systems? International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics, 9(3) 216-29.

-Mead, T., & Hoeller, N. (2014). The ISO/TC 266 Biomimetics Standard Initiative. Zygote Quarterly, 10, 72-85, from


Academic Settings

Adjunct Faculty, Western State Colorado University      

Adjunct Faculty, Minneapolis College of Art and Design                       

Environmental Studies 100, Environmental Ethics 410 – Guest Lecturer (Western State Colorado University)

Biomimicry and Business Module – Lecturer: 2016, One Planet MBA (University of Exeter)

Innovation and Sustainability Module – Lecturer: 2016, One Planet MBA (University of Exeter)

Business and Society Module – Lecturer: 2016 (University of Exeter)

Biomimicry in the Built Environment Workshop – Facilitator: 2013 Savannah College of Art and Design (Atlanta, GA)

Dammam University Sustainability Through Biomimicry Conference – Invited Speaker: 2012 (Dammam, Saudi Arabia)

University of Brunei Darussalam – Invited Speaker: 2010 (Brunei)

University of Missouri-Columbia School of Architecture – Invited Speaker: 2009 (Missouri, USA)

School of the Art Institute of Chicago – Invited Speaker: Fall Lecture Series 2008 (Illinois, USA)

Western State Colorado University – Teaching Assistant: Environmental Applications 2005 (Colorado, USA)

Practical Settings

SW@6 Series, University of Exeter: 2016 (Exeter, UK)

Urban Ecology Center: 2014 (Milwaukee, WI)

Forum Studios Lunch and Learn Series: 2014 (St. Louis, MO)

American Society for Landscape Architects Central States Conference: 2013 (Kansas City, MO)

Plain Green Conference: 2012 (Sioux Falls, SD)

Biomimicry Specialist Certification: 2012 9-Month Program (Arizona, USA)

Ball State University: School of Architecture: 2011 (Indiana, USA)

USGBC Greenbuild LDB Project Presentation: 2011 (Toronto, Canada)

Cannon Design: Environmental Awareness Week Series: 2011 (Los Angeles, CA)

Hitachi Environmental Conference: 2011 (Singapore)

HOK St. Louis, Chicago, New York City and Hong Kong Offices: Lunch and Learn Series: 2009-11

Corenet Global Conference: 2010 (New Orleans, Phoenix)

Helena Audubon Society: 2010 (Montana, USA)

AIA-COTE Biomimicry and Design Workshop: 2007-09 (Houston, Seattle, San Jose, CA, Atlanta, NYC)

Biomimicry Workshop for Lavasa Employees: 2009 (Lavasa, India)

Biomimicry Workshop for HOK Sustainable Design: 2009 (Arizona, USA)

Biologist at the Design Table Workshop: 2009 (Montana, USA)

Northern Rockies Bioneers Biomimicry Workshop: 2008 (Montana, USA)

Biomimicry and Design Workshop: 2007 (La Cusinga, Costa Rica)


Editorial Board Member: Journal of Biomimetics in Engineering (2016-present)

Journal of Biomimetic, Bio-inspired and Nanobiomaterials: Reviewer (2016-present)

Academy of Management: Member and Reviewer (2016-present)

International Society for Industrial Ecology: Member (2009-2010)


Kraft Foods: Package Design Ideation

Kohler Co: Biomimicry Product Innovation

Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center, Armagosa Valley, NV: Site Plan Design

Khed Special Economic Zone, Maharashtra, India: Concept Master Plan Design

Lavasa, India: Landscape Master Plan

San Luis National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center, Los Banos, CA: Building Design

Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei: Development Master Plan

Chicago O’Hare Airport, Chicago, IL: Terminal Design Visioning Series

Natura: Biomimicry Innovation in the Cosmetics Industry; New Product Development

Levi’s Strauss:  Biomimicry Product Innovation

HOK: Creation of FIT (Fully Integrated Thinking) Planning and Building Framework

Seek Research: Biomimicry Design Research for Multi-national Consumer Products Company

Forum Studios: Hospital Campus Design


NVivo Qualitative Data Analysis: ESPCR Summer School

Interview Techniques:  ESPCR Summer School

Biomimicry Certified Professional from Biomimicry 3.8 (Grandfathered)

Biologist at the Design Table training with Biomimicry Institute

Experience with field and laboratory based biological research techniques

Moderate Portuguese and Spanish language proficiency


Teaching, Consulting, Faculty Development, and Curriculum Development.  I have developed short courses related to sustainability-oriented innovation, resilience, biomimicry, circular economy, and regenerative innovation.  Consulting approaches and services can be found at (update in progress).

COURSE: Introduction to Management for Global Sustainability

COURSE: Sustainability-Driven Innovation

COURSE: Nature Inspired Innovation and Design





%d bloggers like this: