Last month I indicated companies no longer innovate, they implement disruptive innovation. Has the use of the term disruptive innovation become over employed? Presently, the best innovation I am witnessing has been conceived by individuals applying biomimicry.
“Biomimicry is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies.” – Biomimicry Institute
Bottomline: Mother Nature is the consummate engineer/designer. Animals, plants and microbes have continually adapted to new ways of living throughout earth’s changing history. Consequently, leaders in the field of innovation benchmark Mother Nature to develop new products, processes and policies. Recently, engineers at the University of California Irvine derived inspiration from the skin of stealthy sea creatures – various species of squids, octopuses and cuttlefish. Their skin cells (chromatophores) respond instantly to the different temperatures of aquatic environments. When it is cold the cells close up to retain heat; when it is warm the cells open up to release heat. Currently, the only application has been applied to space blankets utilized by marathon runners, but UC Irvine predicts the bio-inspired material will be applicable to various sports apparel. Coincidentally, Under Armour is in a long-term partnership (10 years) with another major California university, UC Berkeley.
“I think the biggest innovations of the 21st century will be at the intersection of biology and technology. A new era is beginning” – Steve Jobs