We've compiled the following resources to help guide you through the Discovery process and the creation of a Biomimicry Chicago BioBrainstorm card. If you have any questions, please post to your Slack working group page! If you are looking for more general biomimicry resource, visit our site's Resources page.
Working Group Training Materials
If you have attended a working group training and want a copy of the slides and/or materials provided in the training, please find links to the below documents.
Discovering Natural Models
- Biomimicry Institute's AskNature.org. (TIP: If you're having trouble finding what you are looking for and revise your search criteria, be sure to clear your old search criteria first or your results may be extremely narrow!)
- Go outside! Check out how to do this and examples from our summer iSite series.
- Nature documentaries and magazines
- Talk to a local naturalist, ecologist or biologist!
- Google search
Finding information on your Natural Model
When you are ready to dive deep into your chosen natural model, searching and reading scientific research articles/papers (primary literature) will provide the best information. When relying on primary literature, check the following to make sure the information your are gathering is accurate:
- Does the article come from a well-established scientific journal?
- Has the articled been cited many times?
- How new is the research, and if it is old, has new research changed our understanding of the natural model since then?
Good places to search for scientific research articles are:
- Google Scholar - Google Scholar can be hit or miss depending on how well you've decided upon the right search terms. If you don't see what you're looking for, revise your phrasing and/or words to see if you get better results.
- Check out your local library to see if they have access to scientific journals and online databases like the Web of Life.
- Universities maintain access to online databases that provide access to scientific articles otherwise behind a paywall. If you still have access to your university library resources through alumni benefits, definitely do research this way!
NOTE: If you find a research paper online that has what you're looking for but have no way to get a copy of it without paying, please reach out to us as we may be able to get a copy for you (journals often only provide access to summaries, but require payment to see the entire paper).
biobrainstorm card Template
BioBrainstorm Card Template - Please download this BioBrainstorm card template to create your own BioBrainstorm card using the information you've put together for your natural model. Your BioBrainstorm card will have the following pieces of information:
- Organism (or system) name - both common and Latin
- Photo of your organism (or system) - Be sure to include a source link (in the Slide comments section) to the photo if you find it online! (i.e., if it's not yours!)
- Brief summary of biological strategy (1-2 paragraphs) - Be sure to include a list of your references in the Slide comments section
- Biological Design Principle
- Abstracted Design Principle
- Abstracted Design Principle Drawing
Generating Design Principles
Examples of Biological and Abstracted Design Principles
- Why is it doing it (what challenge is it trying to solve)? (function)
- What is the organism doing to solve for the challenge? (strategy)
- And how is it achieving the strategy? (mechanism)
In each of the examples below, the function, strategy and mechanism are highlighted by color to give you an idea of how to structure the information in your design principle. As you'll notice, depending on how detailed you want the design principle to be, sometimes just the function and strategy are used, while other times all three are included.
Click on links to the Think Biomimicry Blog to see additional information on each, including the biological design principles, drawings and biological summaries:
Employ a variety of rapid, flexible and reversible resource management methods that activate or deactivate in response to short-term variations in resource availability enabling survival during periods of scarcity and exploitation of resources during periods of abundance.
Modify structural, chemical and growth mechanisms in response to energy intensity levels to optimize access to and use of available energy resources across a wide variety of systems.
Maximize resource utilization by adjusting growth patterns, vital functional processes and allocation of resources to optimally maintain function in response to unpredictable resource availability, enabling survival under severe resource scarcity.
Local entities adapted to resource-limited environments increase success by developing more expansive symbiotic local resource uptake networks and exchange nodes specifically designed to maximize access to and availability of the local resource(s) most limiting to growth.
Secure increasingly scarce resources by creating a closed-loop resource cycling system in which progressively complex interdependent system components that increasingly minimize resource outflow and incorporate resources into system component materials that do not leave the system.
You can also check out the following several online Genius of Place reports which each include many examples. Challenge yourself to see if you can identify the function, strategy and mechanism for each!
- Seedkit: Design Concepts Learned from Pacific Northwest Forests (Urban Greenprint)
- Genius of Biome, Temperate Forests (HOK & Biomimicry 3.8)
- Genius of Place: Nature’s Strategies for Managing Stormwater in the Willamette Valley, Oregon(Biomimicry Oregon)
- Genius of Place (Open Space and Mountain Parks, City of Boulder, Colorado)