“We’re awake now, and the question is how do we stay awake to the living world?  How do we make the act of asking nature’s advice a normal part of everyday inventing?”

– Janine Benyus

Janine Benyus

Co-founder, Biomimicry Institute

Janine is a biologist, author, innovation consultant, and self proclaimed “nature nerd.” She may not have coined the term biomimicry, but she certainly popularized it in her 1997 book Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature.

Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature
First published in 1997, this profound and accessible book details how science is studying nature’s best ideas to solve our toughest 21st-century problems.
Read the First Chapter

In Biomimicry, she names an emerging discipline that emulates nature’s designs and processes (e.g., solar cells that mimic leaves) to create a healthier, more sustainable planet. Since the book’s 1997 release, Janine has evolved the practice of biomimicry, speaking around the world about what we can learn from the genius that surrounds us.

In 1998, Janine co-founded the world’s first bio-inspired consultancy, Biomimicry 3.8 (formerly the Biomimicry Guild), bringing nature’s sustainable designs to 250+ clients including Boeing, Colgate-Palmolive, Nike, General Electric, Herman Miller, HOK architects, IDEO, Interface, Natura, Procter and Gamble, Levi’s, Kohler, and General Mills.

In 2006, she co-founded the Biomimicry Institute, a non-profit dedicated to making biology a natural part of the design process. The Institute hosts annual global biomimicry design challenges on massive sustainability problems, mobilizing tens of thousands of students and practitioners through the Global Biomimicry Network to solve those challenges, and providing those practitioners with the world’s most comprehensive biomimicry inspiration database, AskNature, to use as a starting place.

“Learning about the natural world is one thing. Learning from the natural world—that’s the switch. That’s the profound switch.”

-Janine Benyus

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Janine has personally introduced millions to the meme of biomimicry through two TED talks, hundreds of conference keynotes, and a dozen documentaries such as 11th Hour, Harmony, Second Nature: The Biomimicry Evolution, and The Nature of Things with David Suzuki, which aired in 71 countries. She has received several awards including The Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development 2013, The Heinz Award 2011, TIME magazine’s Hero of the Environment award 2008, United Nations Environment Programme’s Champion of the Earth for Science and Technology 2009, the Rachel Carson Environmental Ethics Award, the Lud Browman Award for Science Writing in Society, and the Barrows and Heinz Distinguished Lectureships. Her work in biomimicry has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, Esquire, The Economist, Time, Wired, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Nature, and more. In 2010, BusinessWeek named Janine one of the World’s Most Influential Designers. In 2012, she received the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Mind Award, given in recognition of a visionary who has had a profound impact on design theory, practice, or public awareness.

An educator at heart, Janine believes that the more people learn from nature’s mentors, the more they’ll want to protect them. This is why she writes, speaks, and revels in describing the wild teachers in our midst.

Speaking Highlights

Janine is available for a wide variety of speaking engagements via Biomimicry 3.8. Learn more >

2014 VERGE, San Francisco, California

2014 Canada Green Building Council  – Ontario, Canada

2014 TEDActive – Whistler, Canada

2013 Omega Institute, Where Do We Go From Here – Rhinebeck, New York

2013 Schmidt-MacArthur Fellowship – London, England

2013 World 50 – Atlanta, Georgia

2013, MIT – Boston, Massachusetts

2012 Hawaii Executive Conference – Honolulu, Hawaii

2011 Global Competitiveness Conference – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

2011 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium on Global Sustainability – Stockholm, Sweden

2011 Siemens Inc. ­– Berlin, Germany

2011, Dassault – Paris, France

2010 Council on Scientific Presidents – Washington D.C.

 

Honors/Awards

2014 The Top 100 Global Thought Leaders

2013 Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development

2013 Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters – Arizona State University

2012 Cooper-Hewitt Design Mind Award – The National Design Awards, Smithsonian Institute

2011 Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters – University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

2011 Heinz Award, Heinz Family Foundation

2010 Businessweek, World’s Most Influential Designers

2009 UNEP Champion of the Earth Award (Science and Innovation) – United Nations Programme

 

Join us, wherever you are:

We believe that the widespread adoption of nature-inspired solutions will catalyze a new era in design and business that benefits both people and the planet. Let’s make the act of asking nature’s advice a normal part of everyday inventing. We hope you will join us.
Sources
Chameleon image via Shutterstock.

Header image of Janine © Marla Aufmuth