The miracle of nature is that whenever there has been a challenge, there is an organism that has found a way to conquer it. There are an estimated 30 million plants and animals on Earth which are essentially individual science experiments, perpetually testing out new ways of doing things in order to find a better way.
After 4.8 billion years of natural capital accumulation, nature has come up with some ingenious ways to deal with some of life’s most pressing challenges. Since humans live under the same laws of nature and under the same conditions, it makes sense that we learn from the inner workings of the natural world.
In order to be truly innovative, we must look beyond our limited understanding of the world around us. If we lack the fundamental understanding of the natural world, we will never see the opportunities that nature has to offer. However, in order to be open to the possibilities that nature provides and begin to build a new sustainable world, we must not lose sight of the following:
- We share the Earth with other animals and plants.
- We are part of the natural scheme of things.
- We are subject to the natural laws and principles of nature.
- We are totally reliant on nature for our existence.
- Nature works in systems rather than units.
- Nature is impartial, and neither good nor bad.
The focus on Nature as a source of innovation has been formalised through the practice of biomimicry and the science of biotechnology. There is no doubt that we have much to learn from this 4.8 billion year old jigsaw puzzle that is the world we live in today.
Biomimicry and biotechnology promise to solve some of our greatest problems. However, we have to change the way we identify value in the world in order to see the unlimited possibilities that are all around us. Ironically, it is often the most unlikely animals and plants that have provided us with the greatest technological breakthroughs.