It’s amazing to me how many great ideas and approaches are out there when it comes to trying to be more innovative. While we consider ourselves in the beginning stages, it is always helpful to learn from others who have been at this a while. It is also great for us to learn from some of the giant companies out there who can throw millions of dollars at innovation – this way we all win in the end.
I was recently exposed to a concept talked about in Fast Company in their article, “Got an Innovation Challenge? Nature’s Probably Got the Answer.” It was a fascinating article and brief discussion about a new way of approaching innovation – learning from nature and seeing how we can learn from what has been going on for a very long time. They have even coined a phrase around this process called “Bioinspiration” or “Biomimicry”. They define this as “an interdisciplinary process in which biological principle are studied to help inspire and draw analogies that can be applied to human-centered innovation.”
Quite a few complex words that simply mean, “by looking at systems that seem to work in nature, maybe we can learn something from these systems and apply them to our own world – such as how to overcome adversity, how to be more efficient, etc. But the part I found particularly interesting is that there are some great analogies in the areas of how nature survives and thrives when faced with calamity, how nature uses synergy (we call it collaboration) to solve problems and truly leverage their teams or workforce, and how do we eliminate excess activities and resources to become more efficient with both our people and money.
This isn’t new, believe it or not, to some very well-known companies such as IBM, Nike, Proctor & Gamble, Adidas, Yves Saint Laurent, Qualcomm and a host of others – they have been using this for a while now and are coming up with some pretty amazing discoveries. You can read more about these in the Fast Company article but suffice it to say, as they learn, so can all of us. Any of you out there ever hear of this before now? This is pretty mind boggling but like all good innovation, until we can stretch our minds to think well outside of our comfort zone, we won’t be able to create new thinking to help us all grow our own businesses. What do you think? Does this stimulate you to think differently or broader when it comes to innovation? Share your thoughts…