Authors of RTM's Holland Award discuss their paper, "Biomimicry: Streamlining the Front End of Innovation for Environmentally Sustainable Products."
Biomimicry, defined as innovation through the emulation of biological forms, processes, patterns, and systems, is particularly valuable for its focus on solution discovery, as opposed to solution validation. GOJO Industries, Inc., used biomimicry to drive environmentally sustainable product innovation. The approach proved both efficient and effective: in comparison to a historical new product development project with a similar objective and scope, the biomimicry-driven project produced double the intellectual property and, based on a preliminary assessment of lead product concepts, at least double the energy savings for just one-sixth the resource commitment. Biomimicry also showed potential to increase the overall speed of front-end innovation. This case study suggests that biomimicry may be a highly promising approach for driving innovation, and particularly environmentally sustainable innovation, but further investigation is needed to validate the conclusions of this single case study.