What does the sharing economy have to learn from nature?

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Join us for an online session during the Disruptive Innovation Festival

There has been a shift in how we view our relationship with the natural world. In 1941, a Swiss engineer was one of the first to pay close attention to the burrs his dog picked up whilst walking. Under a microscope, he examined the structure and copying them in the lab developed Velcro (a portmanteau of velours = velvet and crochet = hook).

Seeing what we can learn from nature is not new, what’s changed is the wholesale embrace of this concept as a standalone industry. Biomimicry (Bio = life, mimicry = copy) can be studied in universities, is a recognized subject area for academics and informs a suite of sectors like engineering, architecture and manufacturing.

The sharing economy, whilst not a discipline like Biomimicry, is also having its zeitgeist moment as we live through a perfect storm of natural resource shortages, the digital revolution and re-thinking ownership. This latter concept is brought to life when you consider a washing machine. Do you really want to own a washing machine? Or do you just need clean clothes.

If you mash the sharing economy and eco-systems thinking from Biomimicry together, what do you get? There are interesting examples that already exist like swarm theory and autonomous driving.

We’ll be exploring this concept further in a virtual hack run as part of the Disruptive Innovation Festival. Under the theme of ‘regenerative cities’ we’ll be asking how an economy can be developed which is designed to nourish and support urban communities.

Join us at 10am on 11th November  for a discussion and contribute your ideas!


This blog post has been written by Alex Scott-Tonge who we’ve partnered with to run this event.