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 seeks sustainable solutions by emulating nature’s designs and processes (for instance, solar cells that mimic leaves).

Since the book’s 1997 release, Janine has evolved the practice of biomimicry, consulting with sustainable 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 organisms whose well-adapted designs have been tested over 3.8 billion years.

In 1998, Janine co-founded the Helena, Montana-based Biomimicry Guild with Dr. Dayna Baumeister. The Guild is an innovation consultancy providing biological consulting and research, workshops and field excursions, and a speakers’ bureau. The Guild helps designers learn from and emulate natural models with the goal of developing products, processes, and policies that create conditions conducive to life.

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In 2005, Janine founded The Biomimicry Institute (TBI), a nonprofit organization based in Missoula, MT.  TBI’s mission is to nurture and grow a global community of people who are learning from, emulating, and conserving life’s genius to create a healthier, more sustainable planet. Programs include the development of biomimicry courses in a range of educational settings from K-12 schools to universities as well as non-formal venues such as zoos, museums and nature centers.  TBI also offers biomimicry workshops for designers (engineers, architects, etc.) as well as biologists through the Biologist-at-the-Design-Table training. TBI’s Innovation for Conservation program uses proceeds from bio-inspired products to conserve the habitat of the mentor organisms.  In 2008, the TBI launchedwww.AskNature.org, an open-source  database of biological literature organized by design and engineering function.  In early 2009, as part of its K-12 educational outreach work, TBI released Ask the Planet, a CD of children’s biomimicry songs, written and composed by Amy Martin featuring numerous celebrity artists including Ani DiFranco, Dar Williams and Bruce Cockburn.

Janine has received several awards including a Time Magazine’s Heroes of the Environment award, the Rachel Carson Environmental Ethics Award, the Lud Browman Award for Science Writing in Society, and the Barrows and Heinz Distinguished Lectureships. In 2009, Janine was honored with a Champion of the Earth award in Science & Innovation from the United Nations Environment Programme. She traveled to Paris to accept the award on Earth Day and then participated in a two-day conference hosted by Business 4 Environment.

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
CEO & Co-Founder

Chris Allen is the CEO 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.

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.