Learning from ants (biomimetics)
Biomimetics is the study of how nature solves its design challenges, and what we can learn to solve our own problems using nature's methods.
This is an article I wrote back in 2005 and it seems even more relevant now than ever. Biomimetics is the study of how nature solves its design challenges, and how we can learn and be inspired to solve our own problems using nature's methods.
'...all the ants on the planet, taken together, have a biomass greater than that of humans. Human industry has been in full swing for little over a century, yet it has brought about a decline in almost every ecosystem on the planet.' *
So what can we learn from ants?
Food crisis – Ants move forward and harvest food, then retreat leaving the area to grow, then move left and retreat and so on, creating a Maltese cross pattern before returning to their starting point. (By this time, food has regrown in the first space, ready for harvesting again.)
Job security – Ants work together, in teams and are not concerned about individual status but rather the good for the colony. (Everyone has a job and purpose, if an ant becomes too old for its task, it does another)
Water shortage – 'ants have been incredibly industrious for millions of years, yet their productiveness nourishes plants, animals, and soil.' * (No water shortage)
Design and branding is not just about the end result, but how you get there and what is learnt along the way. If you are not learning anything about your organisation during the design process, challenge or change it.
* Source: ‘Cradle to Cradle’, William McDonough & Michael Braungart.