Biomimicry @ 20: A conversation with Janine Benyus

Jul 26, 2017 10:00 AM ET

Joel Makower of GreenBiz interviews Janine Benyus 20 years into her Biomimicry journey.


Reprinted from Joel Makower's article on

It's been two decades since the book "Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature," was published, in May 1997. And in the 20 years since, the author, Janine Benyus, has been spearheading a revolution in design thinking, getting companies, cities and others to look to nature and natural systems for answers to questions about how to harness nature's wisdom to create products, buildings, cities and other things that are nontoxic, closed-loop, regenerative and, as she puts it, "conducive to life."

Benyus' journey has taken her inside dozens of companies, including Boeing, Colgate-Palmolive, General Electric, General Mills, Herman Miller, HOK architects, IDEO, Interface, Kohler, Levi’s, Natura, Nike and Procter & Gamble. Surrounding her are an ecosystem of organizations and resources she inspired, including Biomimicry 3.8, her consultancy; the nonprofit Biomimicry Institute (full disclosure: I once served on the Institute's board); and the Global Biomimicry Network, which brings together thousands of students and practitioners working to use nature's teachings to solve design challenges. Along the way, Benyus has garnered two honorary doctorates and a clutch of prestigious awards and honors.

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Valerie Bennett
Ray C. Anderson Foundation
+1 (770) 317-5858