Title: Biomimicry and cradle to cradle in product design: an analysis of current design practice

Authors: Erik Tempelman; Ingrid C. De Pauw; Bram Van der Grinten; Ernst-Jan Mul; Karlijn Grevers

Addresses: Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Landbergstraat 15, 2628 CE Delft, The Netherlands ' Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Landbergstraat 15, 2628 CE Delft, The Netherlands ' Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Landbergstraat 15, 2628 CE Delft, The Netherlands ' Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Landbergstraat 15, 2628 CE Delft, The Netherlands ' Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Landbergstraat 15, 2628 CE Delft, The Netherlands

Abstract: In the field of sustainable product design, the use of nature-inspired design (NID) strategies such as biomimicry and cradle to cradle has become more widespread, resulting in a variety of nature-inspired products. Research so far has studied NID on the basis of individual, key design cases and student projects. This paper assesses the state of NID at nine companies that have applied either biomimicry or cradle to cradle in product design. NID comes to the forefront as a promising but challenging new design paradigm. Analysis of best practice reveals that companies that applied a top-down approach, invested in training and/or external NID-experts, set positive and ambitious design targets, and included value chain partners early on in their projects were generally successful in removing barriers towards project success.

Keywords: nature-inspired design; NID; biomimicry; cradle to cradle; design methodology; sustainable product design; design research; sustainability.

DOI: 10.1504/JDR.2015.074151

Journal of Design Research, 2015 Vol.13 No.4, pp.326 - 344

Received: 20 Oct 2014
Accepted: 25 Jan 2015

Published online: 13 Jan 2016 *

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