Course Materials

Using Biomimicry for Delivering the Good Life 
[2 min]
by Denise DeLuca, Director of MCAD’s MA in Sustainable Design Program

The Nature of Innovation 
[25 min]
by Jay Harman of Bioneers

The President-CEO of PAX Scientific reveals how scientists and designers are taking cues from nature to find breakthrough solutions. Take sunscreen modeled on hippo sweat. How might we borrow the recipe? It’s time for a fresh look at technology and design, with nature as our mentor.

The Application of Biomimicry to Innovation and Sustainable Design [15 min]
by Stefanie Koehler
What is Sustainable Design? What is Design Thinking?  What is Biomimicry? How do they fit together? Why does it matter? Explore the poster that Stefanie Koehler ’13 created to answer these questions and share lessons learned when she applied biomimicry to innovation and sustainable design.
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Questions for reflection:

Spend some time reflecting on these questions and consider writing about what emerges for you. You can also use these questions to prompt discussions with your colleagues, friends, and family.

  • How might you see your challenges and opportunities differently if you looked through multiple lenses?
  • How might taking cues from nature provide new insights for your organization?

Taking action: How might you use what you learn?

Take these actions to help solidify and make use of what you've just learned. You can also use these questions to prompt discussions with your colleagues, friends, and family.

  • List 3 ways you could integrate biomimicry into your innovation or sustainable design process.

From ambiguous to aspirational: Is your company ready to be bio-inspired? [15 min]
by Dr. Taryn Mead via the Biomimicry Institute
This is the first of a two-part series to introduce Dr. Taryn Mead’s new book Bioinspiration in Business and Management: Innovating for Sustainability.


Implementing Bioinspiration: What matters in multinational corporations? [15 min]
By Dr. Taryn Mead via the Biomimicry Institute
This is the second of a two-part series to introduce Dr. Taryn Mead’s new book Bioinspiration In Business And Management: Innovating For Sustainability.  

If you prefer, you can WATCH Taryn talk about her work in these two videos:


Biomimicry in the "Real World" [10 min]
by Denise DeLuca, excerpted from the course Biomimicry Basics
Most people who learn about biomimicry are overwhelmed with its potential to address our sustainability challenges, as well as being personally inspired. If it—and nature—are so amazing, why don’t we see bio-inspired sustainable designs everywhere?  In this video, DeLuca talks about where biomimicry fits in the “real world”.


Re-Aligning with Nature: A Q&A with author Denise DeLuca [10 min]
By Erin Connelly via the Biomimicry Institute
What if business as usual didn’t have to be so…usual? In Denise DeLuca’s new book, “Re-Aligning With Nature: Ecological Thinking for Radical Transformation,” she explores how true change – on personal, company-wide, and societal levels – can’t happen unless we “realign what we do, how we do it, and why we do it, with nature and with our own human nature.” I had a chance to ask Denise some questions about the book’s premise, the “aha” moments that led to her to write it, and how we can take steps to re-align ourselves with nature in our everyday lives. 

Excerpts from Re-Aligning with Nature: Ecological Thinking for Radical Innovation
In these excerpts you get a glimpse of the ‘conventional paradigm’ underlying the “real world”, the ‘natural paradigm’ followed by nature, and then get a chance to explore how the two play out in your life.
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Questions for reflection:

  • What does The Good Life look like in nature?
  • How does The Good Life compare to the “real world”?

Taking action: How might you use what you learn?

  • List 3 ways that you, or your your organization, could integrate productivity and creativity to help Deliver the Good Life. These can be very small ways that take the form of personal habits, or bigger ways, like setting up “rooms” and processes for your dreamers, planners, and Critics to Deliver the Good Life.
  • List 3 ways that you can shift from the conventional paradigm to the natural paradigm that might help you Deliver the Good Life


Try these 3 bio-inspired tools for Delivering The Good LIfe. One page instructions for these tools are downloadable.

Downloadable "cheat sheets" are available for each of these tools.


Bioinspiration In Business And Management: Innovating For Sustainability
book by Dr. Taryn Mead
Many organizations have found themselves well advanced in their sustainability strategies and reaching the limits of progress made through eco-efficiency measures and regulatory compliance. Looking for novel approaches and solutions, many managers are turning to bioinspiration and related fields such as biomimicry, nature-inspired innovation, circular economy, and cradle to cradle, as tools for sustainability-oriented innovation. This innovation paradigm has been gaining popularity across disciplines in recent decades as the world grapples with the challenge of sustainable development.

This book offers a succinct guide for managers and sustainability professionals who are interested in exploring various aspects of business inspired by nature. With applicability ranging from technological, organizational, and system-building innovations, there is a broad realm of possibilities that suit a manager’s scope of influence regardless of their position within the organization. This book aims to exhibit the applications of business inspired by nature that extend beyond the boundaries of the organization and encourage open innovation with novel partners in unlikely scenarios, with all partners aligned by the principles of natural systems.

Factors Influencing the Adoption of Nature Inspired Innovation for Sustainability in Multinational Corporations
Submitted by Taryn Lee Mead to the University of Exeter as a thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Management Studies, 9 June 2017.
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Re-Aligning with Nature: Ecological Thinking for Radical Transformation
by Denise DeLuca, illustrated by Stefanie Koehler
RE-ALIGNING WITH NATURE takes readers aspiring for radical social and business solutions on a direct and simple path to real change: Nature’s Path.   In this clear, direct, illustration-driven book, DeLuca lays out the core issues of why we are in danger due to being out of alignment with Nature and how re-aligning with Nature can save the planet — and ourselves.

Biomimicry for Creative Innovation
Explore the Blog and Resources 



MCAD’s MA in Sustainable Design Program

Change your perspective. Change your designs. Change our world.

MCAD’s fully online Master of Arts in Sustainable Design program was created for busy working professionals who are passionate about sustainability. The program enlists a global community of students and world-class instructors working together to push the sustainability envelope forward across a variety of disciplines and industries.  

This program is ideal for students who are seeking a deep understanding of the cutting-edge theories, practical applications, and leadership strategies of sustainable design in order to forge new paths in this continually evolving field.

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The MA in Sustainable Design blog page

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