Innovation - an Age old Technique - Kiran Kumar Guduguntla 1
Innovation: An Age old Technique
Kiran Kumar Guduguntla PMP, ...
Innovation - an Age old Technique - Kiran Kumar Guduguntla 2
Nature presents the best example about solving complex proble...
Innovation - an Age old Technique - Kiran Kumar Guduguntla 3
(BID) provides a useful context from which to practice innova...
Innovation - an Age old Technique - Kiran Kumar Guduguntla 4
Internet and using this as a source of information problem of...
Innovation - an Age old Technique - Kiran Kumar Guduguntla 5
1. Identify
Identify the Engineering problem to be resolved.
...
Innovation - an Age old Technique - Kiran Kumar Guduguntla 6
i-Fabric project broadly used Biomimicry thinking approach in...
Innovation - an Age old Technique - Kiran Kumar Guduguntla 7
[3] Janine M. Benyus, Biomimicry 3.8: A Biomimicry Primer
[4]...
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  1. 1. Innovation - an Age old Technique - Kiran Kumar Guduguntla 1 Innovation: An Age old Technique Kiran Kumar Guduguntla PMP, CSM Program Manager Honeywell Technology Solutions, Bangalore, India Abstract: Innovation comes from the inner urge to solve a problem either individual or customer is facing. It could be a simple differentiated feature or complex and integrated approach but for sure it is to solve a particular problem. Innovation has become integral part of daily business survival. In this competitive world, differentiating a product either with innovative feature or innovative product is the only way to win or compete. Current economic crisis is posing challenges to the cost in terms of serving, selling and manufacturing and demanding more productivity. Companies are investing lot of time and money to innovate products either to reduce the costs and/or to increase the productivity or efficiency. There are different approaches currently companies are adopting for innovation. One such highly successful approach is biologically inspired approach. Looking at nature, understanding and analyzing and applying to our real world problems is an old technique but highly successful technique. This paper explains about the methodical approach one should adapt in order to reap the benefits using this age old technique. Keywords: Biologically Inspired Design, Innovation, Nature 1. Introduction Creating breakthrough innovations with a clear differentiation is a key strategy for almost all companies in the current economic scenario and in the increasingly tight competition. A breakthrough innovation is a substantial innovation with a vital improvement in an existing system. An important pre-requisite for the development of substantially new products is the identification of breakthrough ideas quickly and more reliably for problem solutions in the front end of the innovation process. A new and creative solution usually results either from the fusion of pieces of knowledge that have not been connected before or completely radical thinking like relating nature for the solving the human problems. Biological knowledge is exploding year after year and providing lot of insights about the environment, how it protects and adapts to various conditions. Utilizing this information for new product innovation is key in the 21 st century to come out with better and environmental friendly products. Biologically Inspired Design (BID) is gaining momentum and being looked more frequently for solving engineering problems. This paper first explains the Nature and its ability of self innovation, then bring out the Biologically Inspired Design (BID) methodology and some of the product examples developed using biologically inspired design. Further it highlights out the difference between traditional and biologically inspired innovation approach. It also highlights Biomimicry and Biomimicry thinking, which is a methodical approach for innovating new ideas and products. 2. Nature as a model, measure, and mentor
  2. 2. Innovation - an Age old Technique - Kiran Kumar Guduguntla 2 Nature presents the best example about solving complex problems efficiently and effectively. Emulating Nature make sense as it has billions of years of experimentation and adaption and is continually evolving the fittest design for cooperating with the environment, while being clean, green and sustainable. The core idea is to leverage the nature’s approach in relating and solving many problems that we are currently dealing with. So the next question comes… How does nature teach? How does nature learn? How does nature heal? How does nature communicate? Janine Benyus, biologist, innovation consultant, and author of six books, rightly said in her interview … “Quieting human cleverness is the first step. Next comes listening, then trying to echo what we hear. This emulating is hard and humbling work. When what we learn improves how we live, we grow grateful, and that leads to the last step in the path: stewardship and caretaking, a practical thanksgiving for what we've learned”. Doing it nature's way has the potential to question the current harvesting methods used for growing our food and materials manufacturing process. It teaches various energy harvesting techniques, self healing techniques, information storage, and in conducting business successfully. In each case, nature would be model, measure, and mentor. Nature as model, would manufacture the way animals and plants do, using sun and simple compounds to produce totally biodegradable fibers, ceramics, plastics, and chemicals. Besides providing the model, nature would also provide the measure-we would look to nature as a standard against which to judge the "rightness" of our innovations. Finally, our relationship with nature would also change. Instead of seeing nature as a source of raw materials, we would see nature as a source of ideas and as a mentor. Biological knowledge is doubling every five years and this knowledge is available to the entire world over internet. For the first time in history, instruments like scopes and satellites developed to observe the minute level i.e. how neuron in thought or watch in color as a star is born. When we combine this enormous and exploded information with scientific knowledge, we suddenly have the capacity to understand the nature like never before. 3. Innovative and novel products using Biologically Inspired Design (BID) Biologically inspired design (BID) is a science that studies nature's best ideas and tries to mock these designs and processes to solve human problems. It is definitely a rapidly growing area for innovating new products. Biologically inspired as an approach to innovation is not new idea, this was present in the early stages of our scientific development such as telephone, airplane etc. By definition, Biologically Inspired Design (BID) is based on cross-domain analogies; further, biologically-inspired approaches to design have a certain degree of openness to innovation. Biologically Inspired Design
  3. 3. Innovation - an Age old Technique - Kiran Kumar Guduguntla 3 (BID) provides a useful context from which to practice innovative design. By adapting principles from these natural solutions, engineers have realized many innovative and novel products, including Velcro based on the hooked seeds of the burdock plant, dry reusable tape based on Gecko feet, self- cleaning paint based on the leaves of the Lotus plant, and a better solar cell based on leaf. This is what we call it as "innovation inspired by nature". Some more products inspired by Biologically Inspired Design (BID) are highlighted below: a. Self–cleaning paints Let me elaborate more about the innovation related to self–cleaning paints. Atlanta based company, by name Sto Corp., developed self cleaning paints inspired by lotus leaves about how they remain spotless without a bar of soap. The secret lies in the fine microstructure of the leaf, which induces water to form tiny beads that roll off the surface taking dirt along with it. We could use this technique in order to avoid spending large amount of money for keeping things clean. It would also avoid the usage of harmful chemicals, detergents, liquids and soaps for keeping things clean. It would also avoid the development and usage of such materials which intern save lot of time, money and especially the environment. b. Bug Eye Another recent example is BAE Systems’ ‘Bug Eye’ technology. When out in the field at night, soldiers need the ability to see and have a wide field of vision. Night vision cameras typically don’t have a wide field of vision, and current fish eye lenses often used to solve this problem also distort images and are problematic for monitoring and tracking. Alex Parfitt’s team at BAE Systems took inspiration from a 4mm bug – the Xenos peckii – which have 50 separate lenses each creating a separate image that are stitched together to give a single, large panoramic view. c. Bio-inspired brain Bio-inspired brain to help robots think for themselves, Engineers at NUI Galway and the University of Ulster are developing bio-inspired integrated circuit technology which mimics the neuron structure and operation of the brain and will help robots to think for themselves in search-and-rescue operations and space exploration There are many other areas where Biologically Inspired Design (BID) is being used - Biological and artificial neural networks, Bio systems, cognitive models and computational tools, biological sensors and biological materials to name few. Really, an explosion happened in this area and evolution is faster than the previous years. 4. Approach for Biologically-inspired innovation There are a numerous examples of Biologically Inspired Designs today, but the adoption seems to be very low. Common reasons for this low adoption are due to its interdisciplinary nature, particularly at the professional level and availability of relevant information. Bio-technologists or interdisciplinary groups with technologists and biologists are another way to attack the problem of interdisciplinary. With booming
  4. 4. Innovation - an Age old Technique - Kiran Kumar Guduguntla 4 Internet and using this as a source of information problem of availability of relevant information is getting resolved. Another way to increase this adoption is by combining Art and Design. Art and design can play a crucial role in bridging the disciplines, notes visual artist Rob Kesseler, a former NESTA–Fellow, and Professor of Ceramic Art & Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design. “There’s an awareness that common ground is an increasingly important place to be.” Perhaps more so now than ever, design inspiration lies beyond the naked eye. Rob collaborates with scientists to visualize some of the hidden structures in Nature such as pollen grains. Often asked how this might benefit science, Rob replies that it’s about exposing the territory in an engaging way: “Scientists desperately need to get their images out there for communication – communication follows through to promotion, which follows through to funding.” Biology hasn’t traditionally been considered to be an important source of knowledge for designers. Designer in any profession while designing something new, be it components, products, buildings, or systems, Nature should be considered as a design Source book. This consideration should get in to the innovation process. Several academics and organizations have grasped this and are developing different approaches to this problem. There are multiple approaches available in order to use Biologically-inspired design (BID) for effective innovation. Biomimicry is one of the well known, popular and highly successful methodical approach. a. Biomimicry Biomimicry (from bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate) is a new science that studies nature's best ideas and then try to replicate these designs and processes to solve our day to day human problems. Simple example is studying a leaf to invent a solar cell which can take more solar energy and store it. Nature which consists of Animals, plants and micro species solved these problems billions of years ago and still trying to solve and adapt to the current environment. We are revealing the nature’s secrets with constant research and study which intern helps us in better imitation. Scientists are studying plants, leaves, insets, microbes, forests, minute neurons and cells for new innovative products and in order to make the current engineered solutions more clean and green. Biomimicry thinking shown in Fig 1, an innovation process model proposed by the Biomimicry 3.8 Institute, evolved over the years in order to come up with better Biologically Inspired Design (BID) approach. This step by step methodical process is explained below:
  5. 5. Innovation - an Age old Technique - Kiran Kumar Guduguntla 5 1. Identify Identify the Engineering problem to be resolved. 2. Integrate Relate this problem to the nature and ask does this exist in nature, if so, how does it react and solve this problem. Basically integrate life problem to the nature. 3. Discover Look for biologists who is in this field and start interacting with them for sharing the interdisciplinary perspectives and models already evolved. 4. Abstract Figure out the strategies nature follows and how does it react to it multiple times and understand the process with which it does consistently and repeatedly. 5. Brainstorm Deliberate this between interdisciplinary groups about bringing this to our artificial world. Does these related materials and processes are already available with us or not. 6. Emulate Start developing ideas and methods to emulate these and see how does the end solution looks like. 7. Measure Measure it with nature and life’s principles. Fig 1. Biommicry Thinking Innovation Model Source: Biommiciry.net This approach can be used at different levels: On the one hand it can serve as an idea-stimulation tool in a creativity workshop, on the other hand, deep and long-term research is performed. Biomimicry is an interdisciplinary approach. To adapt this approach biologist with additional technical knowledge are needed as well as engineers with some biological background and knowledge. Knowledge of this interdisciplinary team can be enhanced by providing access to all the biological information and processes, catalogues, databases, research advancements. One main principle of biological solutions is to achieve a maximum effort with minimal resources.
  6. 6. Innovation - an Age old Technique - Kiran Kumar Guduguntla 6 i-Fabric project broadly used Biomimicry thinking approach in order to solve the problem of coming out with thermally responsive and adaptive fabric that can be made into clothing in order to provide thermoregulation for the user in extreme temperature environments. This was integrated with life’s principles, to figure out how organisms in nature capable of maintaining consistent body temperatures using least amount of energy. Then designers discovered six different sources of biological inspiration, including: penguins, wood storks, arctic wolves, beehives, Kenyan chameleons, and humans. Each source was brainstormed, and an initial solution was selected based on the beehive, which uses the phase transition properties of a paraffin wax, called octadecane to store and release heat to moderate the temperature of the hive. The core principle which octadecane uses is a phase transition technique. Emulation of the phase transition material with heat conducting fibers that could manage heat distribution from one location of the body to another was developed. 5. Traditional Vs Biologically Inspired Innovation Idea generated by traditional innovation doesn’t need to be socio benefit able. As it doesn’t mimic nature, so it can’t be measured with nature as a reference. This is really causing a lot of harm to our environment. This harm is being heavily noticeable and scientists are looking for alternatives, better and different ways to solve the same problem without harming the environment. Unlike traditional method, Biologically inspired innovation, keeps that simplicity required for the development of the new products right from the beginning. Neither it uses lot of energy to produce the products nor does it release toxic chemicals as byproducts. If we draw an example of traditional manufacturing of Kevlar high-tech material, we use concentrated sulfuric acid and boil it at very high temperatures and force fibers to align by using high pressurizing techniques. This traditional method uses lot of energy and releases high toxic byproducts which cause lot of harm to the nature and human kind. Contrary to this, Biologically inspired innovative approach has been used to mimic spider which produces waterproof silk that beats Kevlar for toughness and elasticity. Spider manufactures it using water at room temperature. It takes flies and crickets at one end and produces this miracle material. 6. Conclusion We began to use artificially available petrochemical products for our products and thought those were the superior ways to synthesize and build our products. Then we suddenly started realizing that emergency sires were blowing everywhere and nature is getting destroyed and giving threat to all the species on the earth. So we are forced and pushed towards finding more sustainable ways to live on the earth and especially development of eco-friendly products. Equally Biomimicry, which is our knowledge how natural world works is growing, and it is getting possible to come up with a better ways to live and come out with more sustainable products. In order to do this, Biomimicry thinking, a methodical approach for innovation is required for today’s engineers to solve the real world problems. References [1] Brent Nelson, Jamal Wilson, Jeannette Yen (2009) A Study of Biologically-Inspired Design as a Context for Enhancing Student Innovation [2] Janine M. Benyus. (1997) Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired By Nature: William Morrow;
  7. 7. Innovation - an Age old Technique - Kiran Kumar Guduguntla 7 [3] Janine M. Benyus, Biomimicry 3.8: A Biomimicry Primer [4] Michael E. Helms, Swaroop S. Vattam, Ashok K. Goel (2007) Problem-Driven and Solution-Based design: Twin Processes of Biologically Inspired Design [5] Michael Helms, Swaroop S. Vattam and Ashok K. Goel (2009) Biologically inspired design: process and products [6] Marc Weissburg, Craig Tovey, Jeannette Yen (2010) Enhancing Innovation Through Biologically Inspired Design [7] Swaroop Vattam, Michael Helms, and Ashok K. Goel (2007) Biologically-Inspired Innovation in Engineering Design: A Cognitive Study Kiran Kumar Guduguntla is a Program Manager at Honeywell Technology solutions, Bangalore, India. He received B.E. (Computer Science) from Vellore Institue of Technology, Vellore, India and an M.S. (Software Engineering) from Illinois of Institute of Technolgy, Chicago, USA. He is a Project Management Professional (PMP) from PMI and a Certified Scrum Master. He is a green belt certified. His areas of interests are Strategy, Emotional Intelligence, Customer Relationship Management, and Transformational Leadership.

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