Monday 21 November 2011

How to gather insights from nature


Biomimicry insights walk:

walk framed as a problem-solving exercise inspired by Biomimicry – nature’s best ideas and then imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems.
Biomimicry follows Life’s Principles and observes natural forms, processes, and ecosystems to inspire the design of more sustainable human technologies and lifestyles.

our exercise was presented in such a way that it could generate insights for the resolution of non-technical problems as well. It is from this non-technical perspective that I took the nature walk.

The exercise was framed as a way to force us to slow down and to carefully and intentionally observe nature and reflect on nature principles.

Step One: Identify problem

Identify a particularly difficult problem/issue that you are currently dealing with. e.g. deep transition in life.

Step Two: Observe nature-precisely

Take a walk and identify and observe nature. Select plants, animals, objects, situations, or nature’s dynamics (movement of tides, wind through the trees), etc., and observe them “precisely.”

Make a list of the items you observe.

e.g. spider at the center of her net. It was quite windy that day, and the net was moving back and forth with strength. There was an interesting contrast between the movement of the net from the wind and the seemingly static position of the spider. It felt to me like if the spider had to really hold on to her spot, as she seemed fragile under the influence of the elements. She did not seem to be able to do anything else besides hold on. Yet, as I looked more closely, she was, in fact, working on her thread as though nothing could disturb her process.

when the body and the mind are connected, increased awareness arises.

Step Three: Natures principles

When you return,

  • Try to identify one or more principles from nature embodied in the thing you observed. Look for ways to transfer nature’s principles embodied in the thing you observed to your subject.


  • Make as many metaphors as you can between your list and your subject (problem). Look for similarities and similar circumstances.

(Metaphor: The application of a word or phrase to an object or concept that it doesn’t literally denote. Connections between two ideas/things through some similarity they share.)

  • Ask self what new insights the principles from nature or metaphors provide help as to how to solve the problem.

Step Four: Share Insights

Share your problems and insights with other people and begin a group discussion/dialogue.

Problem Solving Using Insights from Nature « beatrice benne

Kyle V. Davy developed the insight walk

About Kyle Page - Kyle V. Davy - Consulting, Leadership and Management Development

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