Defining biomimicry and the role it plays in finding solutions, according to Claire Janisch

Claire Janisch takes to the TEDxCapeTown Intersections of Change stage.

What is Biomimicry? 

If you search for the definition of biomimicry in the dictionary, it is “the design and production of materials, structures and systems that are modeled on biological entities and processes”. But Claire Janisch describes it simply as “a practice which finds solutions by studying and observing the genius of nature”

What is Biomimicry, according to Claire Janisch

Claire Janisch is the founding director of Biomimicry SA and a qualified chemical engineer in industrial ecology. Claire discovered the field of Biomimicry through a TED talk by Janine Benyus, which led to her traveling the world, studying and researching different ecosystems for two years. She also taught within the field and, to her surprise, learnt more from teaching than being a student.

How Claire Janisch discovered Biomimicry

In 2011, Claire was one of the speakers at the first TEDxCapeTown event, where she shared her ideas and observations in "The Genius of Water". Nine years later, she has those ideas being implemented.

“Since 2011 to 2020, almost everyone of those ideas has been seeded like a tree in South Africa and even globally.” 

She now does deep research for companies and organisations to help translate nature’s innovations and sustainability principles, to design new products and systems. 

For instance in 2013, Biomimicry SA worked with Dr. John Todd who is one of the pioneers of ecological design, to create Eco-Machines that purify water that hasn’t been treated in an informal settlement. 

“The quality of your questions determines the quality of your solutions.”

As a certified Biomimicry professional, Claire is always questioning what the possibilities are, rather than just settling for a conclusion. This sentiment, she says, helped her get into the field of Biomimicry. 

Claire Janisch asks: how would our lives change if nature was our mentor?