Mimicking Nature’s Design from Products to Leadership

“The next big idea in sustainability is probably a million years old.”

“Humans are clever, but without intending to, we have created massive sustainability problems for future generations. Fortunately, solutions to these global challenges are all around us.

Biomimicry is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. The goal is to create products, processes, and policies—new ways of living—that are well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul.

The core idea is that nature has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with. Animals, plants, and microbes are the consummate engineers. After billions of years of research and development, failures are fossils, and what surrounds us is the secret to survival.”

– from The Biomimicry Institute

Biomimicry (mimicking biology, or the science of life) is the core metaphor for Great Transition Stories. Everything we see around us that is alive is a success story. After billions of years of experimenting, life knows how to continue life. We posit that our future depends upon us–as humanity–aligning with Life’s principles, or stories as we call them here, to sustain our species through tumultuous times. All we need to do is look around us and see how Life does it.

When Biomimicry as a discipline started, it was mainly concerned with the design of things. To make a better wing for an airplane or a more aerodynamic train, look to the birds. To make a building that heats and cools itself, look at the structure of termite mounds. To make a more efficient rudder for a ship, look at whale fins.

Over time, the concept of mimicking nature has moved into the field of social innovation. How do we help get our organizations, businesses, and social movements to behave more like ecosystems? By learning from nature how to be more adaptive, collaborative, resilient and networked.

Great Transition Stories takes this one level further to suss out the processes inherent in nature that name how things change and transform. These are essentially “stories” that we all know, like Growing Up. We’ve seen it over and over again. We actually know what works to create healthy children. We know as the children what helped us and harmed us, what had us expand and what had us contract.

We can see the beginning and the end stage of the caterpillar to the butterfly, so if we sense we are in a similar process in our psychological growth, we have a pattern to follow that hold us through the stages of change. The “stories’ throughout this site are all about following the patterns of life to take us through to a successful, sustainable, thriving future.