Biomimicry as Innovation: A Systematic Review
Authors: Imani, Marzieh; Donn, Michael; Vale, Brenda
Systematic literature reviews originated in biomedical science. They are methods to
systematically identify, select and critically appraise evidence. They form the foundation of the process
reported here which has investigated whether there is any evidence in the literature showing that
biomimicry might be a generalizable principle that could assist designers to improve the thermal
performance of buildings. In its defining papers biomimetic design is argued to be an applied science that
derives inspiration from the natural world and opens avenues for technological/sustainable design and
innovation. It suggests that study of nature can reveal more sustainable solutions in terms of efficient
processes, functions, systems and materials. For example, thermal adaptation of natural organisms to
extreme conditions takes place through behavioural, morphological and physiological mechanisms.
However, the literature review has revealed that there is no publication outlining a systematised
procedure to attribute thermal issues to corresponding natural adaptation strategies applied by specific
organisms. Biomimetic design concepts often seem to be written about with very specific examples which
seem more to be about the metaphorical use of one‐off examples of nature‐inspired design than about a
general approach to the mining of biological information systems for design inspiration.