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Janine Benyus

Janine Benyus

Biomimicry 3.8 Co-founder

Janine Benyus is the Co-founder of Biomimicry 3.8. She is a biologist, innovation consultant, and author of six books, including Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. Since the book’s 1997 release, Janine’s work as a global thought leader has evolved the practice of biomimicry from a meme to a movement, inspiring clients and innovators around the world to learn from the genius of nature.

She has personally introduced millions to biomimicry through two TED talks, hundreds of conference keynote presentations, and a dozen documentaries such as Biomimicry, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Tree Media, 11th Hour, Harmony, and The Nature of Things with David Suzuki, which aired in 71 countries. Most recently, Janine has been a featured speaker at Bioneers 2016, Sustainable Brands 2016, and Bloomberg BusinessWeek Design 2016.

However, Janine’s favorite role is biologist at the design table, where she introduces innovators to 3.8 billion years worth of brilliant, time-tested solutions through her work at Biomimicry 3.8.

In 1998, Janine co-founded the Biomimicry Guild with Dr. Dayna Baumeister. That consultancy morphed into Biomimicry 3.8, a B-Corp social enterprise providing biomimicry consulting services to clients like Boeing, Colgate-Palmolive, Nike, General Electric, Herman Miller, HOK architects, IDEO, 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, representing 40% of its carpet tile sales.

In 2006, Janine co-founded The Biomimicry Institute, a non-profit institute to embed biomimicry in formal education and informal spaces such as museums and nature centers. Over 11,000 members are now part of the Biomimicry Global Network, working to practice, teach, and spread biomimicry in their region. In 2008, the institute launched AskNature.org, an award-winning bio-inspiration site for inventors.

Among various other roles, Janine serves on the U.S. Green Building Council Board of Directors, the advisory board for the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, the advisory board for Project Drawdown and is an affiliate faculty member at The Biomimicry Center at Arizona State University.

Janine has received numerous awards including the 2016 Feinstone Environmental Award, an Edward O. Wilson Biodiversity Technology Pioneer Award in 2015, 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. 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.

Her work in biomimicry has been featured in on NPR’s TED Radio hour, Bloomberg, Huffington Post, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, Esquire, The Economist, Time Magazine, Wired, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, Nature, the BBC and more.

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.


Janine's Recent Speaking Engagements

  • SHINE Summit at Harvard 2017
  • Bioneers 2016
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  • Sustainable Brands 2016
  • Bloomberg Businessweek Design 2016
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  • Buildwell 2016
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  • Dubai Sustainable Cities Summit 2015
  • SXSW Eco 2015 (Janine Benyus)
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  • Living Futures Conference 2015
  • TED Active 2014
  • Verge 2014
  • Peter M. Wege Lecture on Sustainability at the University of Michigan 2014
  • GreenBuild Canada 2014
  • Agri-Dragon Biotech Conference, Taipei 2014
  • Circular Economy 100 Annual Summit 2013
  • Omega, Where Do We Go From Here, 2013
  • Schmidt-MacArthur Fellowship, London, 2013
  • MIT, 2013
  • World50, 2013
  • International Biomimicry Conference, 2013
  • Bioneers, 2013
  • San Diego Zoo Conference, 2013
  • Hawaii Executive Conference, 2012
  • MIT Goldstein Lectures, 2012
  • Lipscomb University sustainability and economics forum, 2012
  • Global Competitiveness Conference, 2011
  • 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium on Global Sustainability, Stockholm, Sweden, 2011
  • Siemens Inc., 2011
  • Green Media IdeaLab, 2011
  • Green Chemistry Conference, 2011
  • B4E conference London, 2011
  • Clinton Global Initiative, 2011
  • Council on Scientific Presidents, 2010
  • Google Atmosphere, 2010
  • TED Talk: Biomimicry in Action, 2009
  • IUCN World Conservation Congress, 2008
  • TED Talk: Biomimicry’s Surprising Lessons from Nature’s Engineers, 2005
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  • Heinz Distinguished Lecturer, 2002

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