A Biomimicry Manifesto: How we might get it right

By Denny Royal

June 1, 2016

Denny Royal, Azul Seven principal and design practice leader, explains what it means to practice biomimicry.

My vision is to use the power of biomimicry to improve the planet’s condition and the human relationship with it, encouraging all species to thrive uninhibited in their natural environment.

I believe we can do this by being guided by the wisdom of nature and all of her successes and failures, and learning from everything past and present. In other words, finding that which we have lost. We must be mindful of our place as a species and have an awareness of the natural order.

As biomimics we have the responsibility to do the following. We must be brave in our commitment and fearless of our critics. We must be empathetic to all species and curious of all things natural. We must be humble in the face of nature and we must be light in our way of being. This is not a job, but a way of life, a way of being. We must inspire others through this practice. We must teach when asked, and lead when needed. We must design the world that we want rather than criticizing the world we have.

The environmental problem is larger than anything humanity has ever faced. It is larger than global warming, larger than ocean acidification, larger than a mass extinction. It encompasses all. It affects all other problems we have as a species. If we don’t take action now, it is a thousand-year (or more) problem, if we survive. In other words all other problems can wait.

With biomimicry we have the incredible opportunity to reimagine the human-planet relationship. We have a responsibility to follow through on this challenge and do the right thing, and we need to do it now. This isn’t for us, but for future generations.

Values, Beliefs, and Principles:

Nature will impart its wisdom, if we will quiet our minds and take time to observe and listen to it’s lessons.

To be human is to be a part of nature. Therefore we are not outside or above life’s operating conditions and principles.

Nature eventually measures everything, and we must operate within this construct as all other organisms do.

Every species on the planet has value, and the right to exist. We are not special.

We must be empathetic toward all species. We are all in this together.

Everything in the natural world is connected. We should understand this and treat it as such.

We have a responsibility to the planet and its inhabitants to shift our consciousness to promote a regenerative future.

We must live by the same deep patterns that all other life on the planet lives by.

A sustainable economy may not look like the current one. Get over it.

Growth for the sake of growth is a no win concept. We should stop behaving like we can win.

We shouldn’t aim for “less bad.” We should define what good looks like.

Compromise is not an option. We can’t assume everything is a trade off.

Moderate policies will be our undoing. We must reexamine everything and implement real change.

We must say goodbye to our broken past and embrace a radically different future.

We must design with a new level of mindfulness and responsibility to the future.

Remember, we only have one chance to get this right. Don’t fuck it up for future generations.

Want to learn more about design for innovation or biomimicry?

Related Articles

Biomimicry 101: An Interview with Denny Royal, Principal and Head of Design and Biomimicry at Azul Seven

Lesson #2: Adaptation, Not Strength, is Key to Long-Term Success

26 Business Lessons Taken from Nature: Lesson #1, Context Matters

Want to get in touch?