Founders

Janine Benyus
Co-Founder 

Janine Benyus is a biologist, innovation consultant, and author of six books, including Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. In Biomimicry, she names an emerging discipline that emulates nature’s designs and processes (e.g., solar cells that mimic leaves) to create a healthier, more sustainable planet. Since the book’s 1997 release, Janine has evolved the practice of biomimicry, consulting with businesses and conducting seminars about what we can learn from the genius that surrounds us. Her favorite role is Biologist-at-the-Design-Table, introducing innovators to 3.8 billion years of brilliant, time-tested solutions.

In 1998, Janine co-founded the world’s first bio-inspired consultancy, bringing nature’s sustainable designs to 250+ clients including Boeing, Colgate-Palmolive, Nike, General Electric, Herman Miller, HOK architects, IDEO, Interface, Natura, Procter and Gamble, Levi’s, Kohler, and General Mills. As a result of working with Janine’s team, the world’s largest commercial carpet manufacturer (Interface, Inc.) introduced a carpet line inspired by random pattern formation in nature. In record time, Entropy™/I2 rose to become Interface’s top-selling product, and now represents 40% of their carpet tile sales.

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In 2006, Janine co-founded a non-profit institute to embed biomimicry in formal education and informal spaces such as museums and nature centers. Over 100 universities are now part of the Biomimicry Educator’s Network, introducing biology’s lessons to students who will one day design, engineer, and manage our world. In 2008, the institute launched AskNature.org, an award-winning bio-inspiration site for inventors.

In 2010, Janine and her team combined the for-profit and non-profit arms into a single B-Corp called Biomimicry 3.8. Working as a social enterprise, Biomimicry 3.8 is the world’s leader in biomimicry innovation consulting, training for professionals, and curricula development for educators. Its mission is to inspire, educate, and connect the growing community of biomimicry practitioners around the world. Biomimicry 3.8 runs a consulting bureau, a speaker’s bureau, a bio-knowledge subscription service, a K-University educator’s network, a regional network incubator, and a training system for Certified Biomimicry Professionals. Training includes on-line short courses, an 8-month intensive, and a 2-year master’s level program. Graduates from five continents have begun to form regional networks, “swarming” to practice biomimicry in their own biomes. Nurturing and growing this network is the true calling of Biomimicry 3.8.

Over the past 14 years, Janine has personally introduced millions to the meme of biomimicry through two TED talks, hundreds of conference keynotes, and a dozen documentaries such as 11th Hour, Harmony, and The Nature of Things with David Suzuki, which aired in 71 countries. She has received several awards including The Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development 2013, The Heinz Award 2011, Time Magazine’s Hero for the Planet Award 2008, United Nations Environment Programme’s Champion of the Earth for Science and Technology 2009, the Rachel Carson Environmental Ethics Award, the Lud Browman Award for Science Writing in Society, and the Barrows and Heinz Distinguished Lectureships. Her work in biomimicry has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, Esquire, The Economist, Time, Wired, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Nature, and more. In 2010, BusinessWeek named Janine one of the World’s Most Influential Designers. In 2012, she received the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Mind Award, given in recognition of a visionary who has had a profound impact on design theory, practice, or public awareness.

An educator at heart, Janine believes that the more people learn from nature’s mentors, the more they’ll want to protect them. This is why she writes, speaks, and revels in describing the wild teachers in our midst.

Links to hear more from Janine Benyus:

Dayna Baumeister
Keystone & Co-Founder

 

Co-founder and Keystone of Biomimicry 3.8, Dr. Dayna Baumeister’s fascination with the natural world began with daily forays into the woods and mountains of Colorado, her childhood home. As an adult, nature has continued to inform her personal and professional endeavors. Dayna received a BS in marine biology from New College in Sarasota, Florida. After several years exploring the intricate relationships of coral reefs, she turned in her wetsuit and headed back to the mountains.  She earned an MS in resource conservation and a PhD in organismic biology and ecology from The University of Montana in Missoula, specializing in the dynamics of positive interactions among animal and plant life.

With a background in biology, a devotion to applied natural history, and a passion for sharing the wonders of nature with others, Dayna has worked in the field of biomimicry with business partner Janine Benyus since 1998 as a business catalyst, educator, researcher, and design consultant. Together they founded the Biomimicry Guild consulting practice, The Biomimicry Institute 501c3, and most recently, Biomimicry3.8, a B-Corp social enterprise that trains, certifies, and connects biomimicry professionals worldwide.

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In her role as Biologist at the Design Table, Dayna helped more than 100 companies consult the natural world for elegant and sustainable design solutions, including Nike, Interface, General Mills, Boeing, Herman-Miller, Kohler, Seventh Generation and Procter & Gamble. She is best known for her engaging ability to empower others to incorporate Life’s Principles and strategies into every aspect of their work. Dayna is a natural systems thinker and brings a unique perspective to her work to help others see nature as model, measure, and mentor.

To meet the growing demand for more professional training, in 2008, Dayna designed and taught the world’s first Biomimicry Professional Certification Program, a two-year master-level course for designers, business people, biologists, and engineers with participants from all over the globe, a program which she continues to teach. Graduates are applying biomimicry in their work in different settings and places including Fortune 500 corporations, the EPA, South Africa, Spain, Columbia, Mexico, Turkey, as well as the USA. As senior editor, Dayna compiled a decade of experience in biomimicry into a practical how-to guide Biomimicry Resource Handbook: A Seed Bank of Knowledge and Best Practices (2011). All of this has helped fertilize the movement of biomimicry as a fresh and innovative practice and philosophy to meet the world’s sustainability challenges.

Dayna is adjunct professor at Ontario College of Art and Design, a Dana Meadows Fellow of the Sustainability Institute, and serves on the board of her local science museum, ExplorationWorks! Bringing home the principles of life that she espouses in her work, Dayna finds physical and spiritual sustenance as a gardener, green remodeler, hunter-gatherer, alternative education advocate, and naturalist. Dayna feels fortunate to live with her family in the rugged and ever-inspiring Rocky Mountains of Montana.

 

Chris Allen
Co-Founder

Chris Allen is the Co-Founder of Biomimicry 3.8, the global leader in biomimicry innovation training, consulting services, and education. He is a certified Biomimicry Professional, with an expertise in business strategy and development. Chris represents Biomimicry 3.8 through his firm, Chris Allen + Associates.

Trained in International Business at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas (1985), Chris has over 20 years experience providing strategy and management consulting services related to sustainable development for a variety of private sector clients as well as the US Department of Energy, the National Center for Appropriate Technology, the Northwest Area Foundation, and the United Nations Man and Biosphere Program. His international experience includes work and studies in Europe, Southeast Asia, and Mexico and he serves on the Board of Directors of A World Institute for Sustainable Humanity.

Chris received an award in 2007 from the State of Texas, Department of Parks and Wildlife, for land stewardship achievements at Woodson Place, a conservation development project focused on ecological restoration and green building on his family’s 112 year-old family farm.

Speaking Highlights

  • American Institute of Architects Annual Conference / Montana Chapter—Billings, MT
  • BioInspired Forum 2008—Stockholm, Sweden
  • Biomimicry Conference KTH University—Stockholm, Sweden
  • Business for Social Responsibility 2010 Conference—New York, NY
  • City of Bellevue Leadership Conference—Bellevue, WA
  • City of Spokane—Spokane, WA
  • Cleveland Institute of Art—Cleveland, OH
  • CoreNet Midwest Chapter—Minneapolis, MN
  • Ellen MacArthur Foundation and University of Bradford—Bradford, UK
  • Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction 2009 Forum—Mexico City, MX
  • SXSW 2012—Austin, TX
  • US Green Building Council Conference, Gulf Coast Green Chapter—Houston, TX
  • World Wildlife Fund Leadership Conference—Geneva, Switzerland

Bryony Schwan
Co-Founder & Director of Strategic Partnerships

Bryony works with the Biomimicry 3.8 Institute board of directors to oversee and implement the vision, mission and programs of the Institute and works with the development staff to raise the annual budget.

Before the Institute, Bryony founded Women’s Voices for the Earth and served as its Executive Director and then Program Director for 12 years. During that time she co-founded the national Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and Coming Clean, a national environmental health coalition now comprised of over 200 national and local organizations. Bryony received her MS in environmental studies from the University of Montana and a BA from the University of Natal in South Africa.