We are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2016 Challenge, culled from 86 entries from 18 countries. The winners range from high schoolers to professionals, from all kinds of professional backgrounds and geographic locations, but they all share the same drive to reinvent our food system, using blueprints from the living organisms that surround us. We’re so proud of these teams and can’t wait to be a part of their next steps as they work to make their designs a reality.
Biomimicry In Design
Spirals are everywhere in nature because they perform so many functions. It is no wonder, then, that when Carl Hastrich set out to create a design process for biomimicry, he turned to the spiral. That is very fortunate for all of us, because the spiral design process not only allows us to tap into the power of nature, it allows us to tap into the power of our own creativity and imagination — exactly what we need to tackle the tremendous challenges that we face today.
It’s been a busy six months for the 2015 Biomimicry Global Design Challenge finalists. Last October, eight teams from around the world were chosen to be part of the first-ever biomimicry food systems accelerator. After pitching and getting feedback on their design concepts in-person during SXSW Eco in Austin, TX, these intrepid innovators began working furiously to test and prototype their nature-inspired design concepts.
Close calls make for compelling origin stories, but the sheer randomness of this approach to scientific innovation means that we may be missing a lot. It’s discouraging to think that small decisions and chance events have enough sway to knock innovators off course so easily, even with the rigors of the scientific process. So what can we do to strengthen this “fragility of grand discoveries?” We can start by looking in the right places to begin with.
Our cities are constantly growing and an ever-rising number of people live on a very small fraction of the world’s surface area. By 2050, about 70% of the world’s population is expected to live in urban areas. How do we serve people’s needs for mobility while simultaneously sacrificing neither biodiversity and environmental values nor human health and well-being?
In late summer, the ideas started pouring in from every corner of the world.
Thousands of designers, architects, biologists, engineers, students, nature-lovers, and big thinkers had answered the call to completely rethink our food system using design inspiration from nature. The Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, hosted by the Biomimicry Institute and the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, provided a platform for these global innovators to practice biomimicry in action, by applying it to one of the most urgent issues of our time – our broken food chain. It makes perfect sense – how are we going to create a healthier, more equitable, truly regenerative food system without learning from the natural ecosystems and organisms that are an inextricable part of it?