Working groups will go through a 6-week process focused around their category of functions (water, biodiversity, community connections, materials or carbon & climate) that includes the following:
- Free biomimicry Discovery methodology training
- Discovery research and abstracting of nature-based design principles to create a BioBrainstorm card
- Share findings and inspire creative solutions at a Design Jam! event
Explore each of these activities below, including an estimated timeline for when each group will be active.
At the beginning of each working group's process, Biomimicry Chicago leaders will provide a free 2-hour training on biomimicry, with a specific focus on the Discovery phase.
During the training, we'll cover the basics of biomimicry and the process you'll go through to create a BioBrainstorm card - a process aptly known as the Discovery phase of the biomimicry methodology. This process will teach you how to search for, research and distill nature-based design principles that will enable the next (and we think the most fun!) phase of the biomimicry methodology - Create.
Develop a BioBrainstorm Card
Each member of a working group has the opportunity to practice what they learned at the training by developing a least one Biomimicry Chicago BioBrainstorm card that provides a nature-based solution to an ecosystem function challenge. Each Working Group Member will be requested to:
- Select an ecosystem function to explore
- Research a natural champion that accomplishes the ecosystem function selected, and compile research to create a BioBrainstorm card (template included in Slack). The template is provided in powerpoint format to make it accessible to all. Information should include:
- Natural strategy and mechanism to accomplish function
- Creative commons image of champion
- Original diagram of how this is accomplished (work with project lead if you do not feel comfortable drawing)
- Biomimicry design principle
- Design inspiration ideas
To accomplish the above, we've included some reminders below. If you feel you need additional guidance, visit our Resources page or reach out to your Category Leader for help!
- Practice framing your challenge in terms of function by “biologizing” the question. Ask, “how would nature [solve this challenge - a verb]?” Don’t forget to incorporate context and constraints, such as “how would nature [solve this challenge(verb)] given [this context] and [this constraint]?” or asking the question “what would nature NOT do?”
- Use this biologized question, along with the biomimicry taxonomy, asknature.org, and your outdoor observations, to discover at least three (3) potential strategies that could help you address your functional challenge. The emphasis in the discovery phase is quantity over quality, so let yourself explore even the craziest solution – you never know what will stick!
- With each natural champion you find,
- identify the strategy and/or mechanism the organism uses to perform the function - remember the strategy is how and organism performs its function;
- practice abstracting the design principle from the strategy by removing all biological language; and
- think of relevant Life’s Principles based on our discussion in-session.
- Repeat this exercise as many times as you have time for, but you should explore at least three (3) strategies for each function to be reasonably confident you know enough to inform the design process.
- Pick your favorite strategy and document what you learn in the form of a BioBrainstorm card to be used by participants during our Design Jam. To date, Biomimicry Chicago has a stack of over fifty (50) brainstorming cards for many different contexts. Add your ideas to this growing deck and contribute to our Deep Roots initiative!
Host a Design Jam! Event
After the working groups complete their work, they will host an event called a Design Jam! to give network participants the opportunity to learn about the natural strategies the working group discovered and use their design skills and creativity to discover new ways of thinking about challenges in the built environment. Visit our Design Jam! site for more information.
Timeline of Events
Check out our estimated timeline for our working groups and overall Deep Roots Initiative.
We anticipate the following 6-week schedule for each working group.
- 4-6 weeks before Design Jam!: Biomimicry Training
- 2-3 weeks before Design Jam!: Working group members submit their draft BioBrainstorm card(s) to the Category Leader. Category Leader and Mentor will provide feedback.
- 1 week before Design Jam!: Format and print cards
- Design Jam!: Working groups hosts Design Jam! event!
- After Design Jam!: Submit cards and ideas generated at the Design Jam! for upload to the beta tool.