Biomimicry is emerging today, NewCorp Conseil has carried out a strategic and conjunctural analysis of the main elements that explain the growth of this approach:
While taking inspiration from nature is probably as old as the hills, biomimicry has had a marketing and conceptual baptism in the United States (as it often does), thanks to biologist Janine Benyus.
The Americans, who are often criticised for their environmental issues, are also often leaders in the emergence of these new trends. Although Janine Benyus did not 'invent' biomimicry, her book, " Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature " published in 1997 (translated into French in 2011) was undoubtedly a trigger and an accelerator.
Although Jacques Livage was already talking about "soft chemistry" in 1977, i.e. 20 years before Benyus, it is this book and its author who have become the reference in the field, who have demonstrated and illustrated the interest of biomimicry in the service of sustainable development, federated its actors, and made emulators.
It is interesting to note that Janine Benyus is both a scientist ... and an entrepreneur through her consultancy activities, which undoubtedly contributed to the effectiveness of the educational work and influence that was carried out.
Energy is and will be increasingly expensive over the long term. Out, nature is extremely energy-efficientBut also in resources of all kinds, which are also becoming scarcer.
Biomimicry is therefore of increasing interest because of its ability to be a source of energy efficiency and therefore of competitiveness. Low environmental impact production objectives often involve low energy cost production, which helps to solve the economic equation.
Moreover, it was already in the wake of the 1974 oil crisis that, a few years later, on 26 October 1977, Jacques DeliveryAs a precursor of sustainable development, he coined the term "soft chemistry" in an article in Le Monde, as a bio-inspired, energy-saving alternative to petrochemical derivatives.
The emergence of awareness of the possible reconciliation between economic development and respect for the environment is another major reason for the emergence of biomimicry.
To stop opposing economy and ecology effectively allows us to get out of the constraint or dogma by revealing the field of possibility.
The bio-inspired economy then becomes reconciling, the modus operandi of the sustainable economy.
Avoiding a dogmatic, and therefore political, approach is another 'quality' of biomimicry, which is based on scientific and rational grounds. It is a scientific, economic (in the financial and resource-saving sense) and pragmatic approach to ecologyThis is good news after so many years of attempted appropriation and political hijacking.
Even though biomimicry has its subtleties, its 'families' and its currents of thought, the approach is intended to be apolitical, undoubtedly considering this non-partisan virtue as a guarantee of success. Therefore, combining respect for the environment, a shared vision of resources, collaborative work, technological innovation, competitiveness and development, biomimicry also undoubtedly achieves a political synthesis on environmental issues.
Biomimicry has long been discussed in scientific and specialist media, but in recent months it has increasingly been included in general media: TF1 8pm newsJDD, La Tribune, M6, ARTE, Paris Match, Le Parisien, France Inter, Europe 1, Stratégies, Les Echos, La Croix, to name but a few. This is both a sign of the emergence of this approach and an accelerator... " the media are talking about it ".
In addition to these forums, conferences on the subject have also multiplied, such as the Maison de la Chimie mid-March 2014 (and Biomim'Expo in preparation). Finally, politicians are also starting to get involved, to talk about it separately, and will probably promote it more and more in the future, given the services that biomimicry can provide to the challenges of energy transition, but also pollution and public health.
Biomimicry is gaining momentum because it is of interest to all sectors of activity. All are concerned by current and potential applications. Aeronautics with the winglets inspired by the wings of birds of prey or projects to reduce fuel consumption by flying in formation like migratory birds; transport and aerodynamics such as the nose of the train Shinkansen optimised by the kingfisher's beak; the self-cleaning windows and paints from the study of lotus or water lily leaves; glues and adhesives that focus on the mussel filamentsgekko or snail slime (!); agriculture via the permaculture, agroforestry and agro-ecology the decontamination soil by fungi; wastewater treatment by phytodepurationthe more resistant materials inspired by the mother-of-pearl shellenergy via the photosynthesis wind turbines with shapes inspired by the wings of dragonflies or the flutes of the fins of humpback whalesor the tidal turbines waving like eels; energy-saving electronic displays inspired by the cuttlefishorgan transplants that are better preserved by studying hibernation champions such as the hedgehog; construction and architecture that look at the structure of our bones or ... the termite mounds; the mist collectors designed thanks to the beetle of the Namib Desert; the bio-cement C02 fixers inspired by coral; bio-textiles developed for example from the chitin of dragonfly wings: thin, solid, elastic, biodegradable... The genius of nature is omnipresent, and so are its applications.
(see the Biomim'review carried out by NewCorp Conseil)
The need to constantly innovate, to break out of silos and preformatted thinking, to find scientific and technological breakthroughs is another explanation for the interest in this approach, which aims to more horizontal than vertical. As the popular saying goes "electricity was not invented by perfecting the candle" ... the world of tomorrow will not be the one of today improved at the margin.
The biomimicry helps to find "other ideasIt's all part of shaping the world of tomorrow, another world. Today, there are no more reserved areas, innovation can come from anywhere and everywhere, from related fields of activity, from cross-fertilisation, from emulation... and all this is happening more and more quickly. Biomimicry is at the service of innovation.
Biomimicry is also accelerating due to a technological leap with nanoscience that allow us to observe and understand at a level never before achieved. Biomimicry is not just about observing structures (it is also about shapes and ecosystems), but we have to recognise that this new ability to observe at the finest level is extraordinarily productive.
After teaching the 'why' of environmental issues, biomimicry teaches the 'how', and that changes everything.
Awareness of environmental issues in recent years has very often been anxiety-provoking, sometimes moralising or incantatory, and rarely demonstrative of solutions. This has resulted in a form of psychological denial, as human nature does not appreciate being confronted with problems without solutions, or with marginal solutions.
Biomimicry is interesting and comforting because it shows the field of possibility rather than a wall of challenges. The biomimicry provides solutionsNature can help us to solve our problems, to optimise our processes, quite simply.
The success of biomimicry is also based on values in resonance with the expectations of our time. Humility, respect, sharing, modesty, simplicity, spirituality, ... biomimicry is perhaps even in response Biomimicry is also the re-enchantment of the child's view of our environment, and no longer a proud vision of a so-called supremacy of man over nature. Biomimicry is also the re-enchantment of the child's view of our environment, and no longer a proud vision of a so-called supremacy of man over nature.
Biomimicry is a fundamentally interdisciplinary, cross-disciplinary and multicultural approach, which values exchanges, telescoping and shared thinking.
Certain ways of thinking (industrial, scientific, political) today lead to dead ends; innovation will come about through the confrontation of points of view and reflexes, through opportunism and curiosity.
While biomimicry proposes to draw inspiration from nature, it also requires knowing how to draw inspiration from others. This is why the "biomimicry sector" is being structured, players are meeting, large groups are emerging, start-ups are emerging, the Ceebios is launched, colloquia and conferences are organised (Biomim'Expo in June 2015 for example) ...
Biomimicry is often a bottom-up approach in organisations,
which starts with of men and womenThis is the result of the work of a number of teams, research, experiments and personal convictions, which are then passed on to the structures.
Here again, it is often not a top-down, imposed approach. Biomimicry is not a communication posture, in the all too often negative sense of this allegation, it is a human, personal, sometimes intimate and spiritual approach, often passionate.
It is all these reasons, social, political, economic and human, that create the convergent and promising beam of the biomimicry approach. A reconciling approach, between ecology and economy, between science and progress, between us and others, ... between our time and the next.
... nature is 3.8 billion years of continuous R&D and optimisation... an inexhaustible and renewable source of inspiration. A source of solutions to our contemporary challenges, of sustainable development, and of economic and ecological survival.