Growing a Network

I wanted to take the time this week to briefly reflect on how much Biomimicry has grown as a discipline and give a public service announcement to attest to that fact. Although we are still in the nascent stages of growth when it comes to a discipline, I think it’s impressive to see the scope of just how much Biomimicry has grown. I sometimes think of us as the mighty, yet highly underrated cellular slime mold network: we can impressively exist individually, but working in sync, we form networks with nodes and highly efficient links to form a remarkable superorganism sharing information and resources.

In a regularly cited Biomimicry example, professor Atsushi Tero of Hokkaido University placed oat flakes in the same position as major cities along the Tokyo subway network. Upon placing slime mold onto a flake, the network grew to closely resemble that of the Tokyo subway system. Biomimicry 3.8, in my mind-map, was the first “oat flake” and from this first bit of nourishment, the network has grown to a number of hubs around the world in an extraordinarily short duration of time.

A testament to the reach of whence we first started, is the upcoming SXSWEco event and the 8th annual Biomimicry Education Summit in October, with Biomimicry being a key theme running throughout the conference. There are a remarkable eight panels or talks that specifically focus on Biomimicry. Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Institute of Art’s own Doug Paige will be a co-speaker, and four of us fellows traveling to Austin to attend.   An event like this bringing so many Biomimicry-focused minds together will only serve to strengthen the overall network of the Biomimicry superorganism and make our “oat flake” hubs and resulting connections stronger.

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