Exploring Creativity in Bio-inspired Design

Torbjorn aksdal kautsar anggakara hadianto
supervisor: msoc.sc organisational innovation and entrepreneurship

MASTER's THESIS

how the understanding of creativity can support the application of bio-inspired design

balder onarheim

department of marketing

COPENHAGEN BUSINESS SCHOOL 2013

16 SEPTEMBER 2013

STU: 255,146 (112 PAGES)

Abstract
The growth in the field bio-inspired design has been driven by the acknowledgement that inspiration from nature can serve as a source of innovation. As an emerging approach, there has been a focus on building a principled methodology to address the challenges that arise in the application of the practice. This thesis investigates ways that the understanding of creativity can strategically support the application of bio-inspired design. A central assumption in this thesis is that creativity entails the quest of generating novel and appropriate solutions, which is central to innovation. We use design thinking as a perspective to explore of the bio-inspired design process, as we argue that design thinking is an applied form of creativity. We obtained our empirical data from interviews of practitioners who have the experience in practicing both design thinking and bio-inspired design. Our analysis is based on the inferences from our empirical data and the literature on organizational creativity, design thinking and bio-inspired design. By observing the bio-inspired design approach using a macro-orientational framework of creativity, we identify the role of creativity in and through bio-inspired design, as well as challenges currently faced by the approach in coming up with novel and appropriate solutions. We suggest possible ways to address the aforementioned challenges by applying elements of the process and mindset of design thinking to the bio-inspired approach. The synthesis of our analysis has produced a strategic framework that can support the exploration of the bio-inspired design space. The framework, the

bio-inspired design antenna, is aimed at building an understanding of the interplay between various
elements that has to be in place, to create a condition conducive to the application of bio-inspired design.

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Table of Contents
ABSTRACT .................................................................................................................................................................. 1 1.0 INTRODUCTION & RESEARCH QUESTION ............................................................................................... 4 1.1 THESIS MOTIVATION ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 6 1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENT ...................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 6 1.3 RESEARCH QUESTION ....................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 7 1.3.1 Clarification of Research................................................................................................................................................................................................. 8 1.3.2 Delimitations ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 8 1.4 CLARIFICATION OF CONCEPT ....................................................................................................................................................................................................... 9 1.4.1 Creativity ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 9 1.4.2 Bio-Inspired Design .........................................................................................................................................................................................................10 1.5 READING GUIDE .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 12 2.0 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY ...................................................................................................................... 13 2.1 RESEARCH PHILOSOPHY ................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 14 2.1.1 Modes of Reasoning......................................................................................................................................................................................................... 15 2.2 RESEARCH DESIGN ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 16 2.2.1 Data collection ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 18 2.2.2 Data analysis...................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 20 2.3 THESIS COLLABORATORS ............................................................................................................................................................................................................ 21 2.4 RESEARCH LIMITATIONS .............................................................................................................................................................................................................. 22 2.3.1 Considerations on Reliability ................................................................................................................................................................................... 22 2.3.2 Considerations on Validity ....................................................................................................................................................................................... 23 3.0 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................................................................................................................... 25 3.1 LITERATURE REVIEW PART 1: CREATIVITY ............................................................................................................................................................................26 3.1.1 Organizational Creativity – Looking at Creativity from a Systems Level.............................................................................. 27 3.1.2 Creative Change Model and the Componential Theory of Creativity ..................................................................................... 27 3.1.3 Design Thinking as a Model of Applied Creativity .................................................................................................................................35 3.2 LITERATURE REVIEW PART 2: BIO-INSPIRED DESIGN ................................................................................................................................................... 43 3.2.1 Rising interest in Biological Inspired Design ................................................................................................................................................ 43 3.2.2 Case Examples ................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 43 3.2.3 Bio- Inspired Design Methodologies ................................................................................................................................................................46 3.2.4 Selected Bio-Inspired Design Methodologies ........................................................................................................................................... 47 3.2.5 A Generic Bio- inspired design methodology ...........................................................................................................................................49 3.2.6 Multidisciplinarity in the Bio-Inspired Design Approach ................................................................................................................... 51 3.2.7 The Use of Analogies in Bio-inspired Design ............................................................................................................................................52 3.2.7 Observed challenges to the Bio-inspired Design process...............................................................................................................53 4.0 ANALYSIS PART 1: IDENTIFYING CHALLENGES IN BIO-INSPIRED DESIGN THROUGH THE UNDERSTANDING OF CREATIVITY ................................................................................................................. 56 4.1 BIO-INSPIRED DESIGN FROM THE CONTEXT OF ORGANIZATIONAL CREATIVITY ........................................................................................... 59 4.1.2 The Creative Performance....................................................................................................................................................................................... 59 4.1.3 The Creative Process ....................................................................................................................................................................................................63 4.2 THE ROLE OF CREATIVITY IN BIO-INSPIRED DESIGN .................................................................................................................................................... 70 5.0 ANALYSIS PART 2: APPLYING DESIGN THINKING IN BIO-INSPIRED DESIGN .......................... 75 5.1 COMPARING DESIGN THINKING AND BIO-INSPIRED DESIGN PROCESS ............................................................................................................... 76 Observation 1: The inspiration space and its relation to a better understanding of ill-defined problems............... 77 Observation 2: The ideation space and its relation to a better understanding of design fixation.................................. 78 Observation 3: The implementation space and the importance of bio-inspired design to be part of a bigger design space.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 80 5.2 APPLYING DESIGN THINKING MINDSET IN BIO-INSPIRED DESIGN .......................................................................................................................... 81 Observation 4: Explaining mental models involved in Design Process through ‘Designerly Ways of Knowing’ . 81 Observation 5: Bringing the spirit of collaboration to life .............................................................................................................................. 82 Observation 6. Experimentation and Empathy as a way to dive into the unknown world ..................................................84 SUMMARY OF ANALYSIS SECTION 2 ............................................................................................................................................................................................. 86 6.0 CONCLUSION: A STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK SUPPORTING THE APPLICATION OF BIOINSPIRED DESIGN ................................................................................................................................................. 88

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6.1 THE ANTENNA OF BIO-INSPIRED DESIGN ........................................................................................................................................................................... 90 6.1.1 The Bio-inspired Design Continuum ................................................................................................................................................................... 91 6.1.2 The Skill and Aim Alignment ..................................................................................................................................................................................92 6.1.3 Aim and Process Alignment ...................................................................................................................................................................................94 6.1.4 Aim, Skills and Environment Alignment ....................................................................................................................................................... 95 6.2 THE BID ANTENNA AS A DYNAMIC FRAMEWORK ......................................................................................................................................................... 96 6.3 LIMITATIONS OF THE FRAMEWORK ........................................................................................................................................................................................ 97 6.4 CONCLUDING REMARKS............................................................................................................................................................................................................... 97 6.5 VISUALIZATION OF FLOW OF INFERENCE IN THIS THESIS ......................................................................................................................................... 99 BIBLIOGRAPHY .................................................................................................................................................... 100 APPENDIX ............................................................................................................................................................... 107

List of Figures
Figure 1: The bipartite research question ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 7 Figure 2: Reading Guide .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 12 Figure 3: The Qualitative Research Process. From Bryman (2012) ..................................................................................................................... 17 Figure 4: Literature Review Framework .....................................................................................................................................................................................26 Figure 5: Creativity: A System Model........................................................................................................................................................................................... 28 Figure 6: The Design Thinking Mindset......................................................................................................................................................................................36 Figure 7: Summary of The Design Thinking Process ..................................................................................................................................................... 40 Figure 8: Design Thinking as an Applied Method of Creativity................................................................................................................................ 42 Figure 9 Biomimicry Core Elements & The Design Lens.............................................................................................................................................48 Figure 10: BioMAPS Search Engine ..............................................................................................................................................................................................49 Figure 11: Summary of The Bio-Inspired Design Process ............................................................................................................................................. 51 Figure 12: Type of similarities between biological phenomena and developed concepts, based on figure in Mak & Shu (2004) .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................55 Figure 13: Perspectives on Creativity in Bio-inspired Design (BID).......................................................................................................................58 Figure 14: Key Findings of important elements on the relationship between Bio-inspired Design and Organizational Creativity .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 71 Figure 15: Overview of the challenges faced in the bio-inspired design process...................................................................................... 73 Figure 16: Comparison of Design Thinking and Bio-inspired Design Process ............................................................................................. 76 Figure 17: How Design Thinking addressed challenges faced by bio-inspired design .......................................................................... 87 Figure 18: The Antenna of Bio-Inspired Design .................................................................................................................................................................. 90 Figure 19: BID Antenna: The predetermined components –aims and skills .................................................................................................. 91 Figure 20: BID Antenna: Skills-Aim alignment ....................................................................................................................................................................93 Figure 21: BID Antenna: The Process Matrix ......................................................................................................................................................................... 95 Figure 22: BID Antenna: The Environment Matrix ............................................................................................................................................................ 96 Figure 23 Visualization of the flow of inference in this thesis ................................................................................................................................. 99

Copyright © 2013 Kautsar Anggakara Hadianto. All rights reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, all images and illustrations on this document are copyrighted by Kautsar Anggakara Hadianto. All rights reserved.

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section 1

introduction & Research question

As the effects of the manufacturing and IT revolution are starting to diminish, people are beginning to look to other areas for the technological breakthroughs that can cater to an increasingly complex world. Parallel to this, there is also a growing awareness of the effects of industrialized production on the environment, particularly as the developing world is starting to catch up with the developed, which has lead to a heightened interest in sustainable technology. Biology has been brought forward as a promising field for new technological innovations. An emerging discipline, Bio- inspired design, seeks to develop a way to systematically transfer knowledge from the biological domain to the technological domain. As the argument goes, nature has upwards of 30 million species with 3.8 billion years of experience in adapting to the environment, creating strategies and ‘technology’ for survival that humankind could and should learn from. Although the concept was first coined several decades ago, only recently has the field gained much momentum, with both academic and business interest on the rise. Papers published on the topic is doubling every 2-3 years, compared to the 13 year doubling rate of other sciences (Lepora, 2013), and the value of bio-inspired design is forecasted to reach USD 1 trillion by 2025 (Fermanian Business & Economic Institute, 2010). One of the biggest challenges in the application of bio-inspired design is the transfer of biological knowledge to the technology domain. Some perceive this step to involve long-term exploration and rigorous scientific experiments. There is also a perception that the “transfer” requires extensive biological knowledge. To address this challenge, much research and development within the discipline has been focusing on building information databases to make biological knowledge more accessible to practitioners. While making information more accessible is an important factor in facilitating the bio-inspired design process, we believe that there is currently a lack of focus on how to work with this biological information to produce novel and useful solutions. That is, the creative process in bio- inspired design is often black-boxed. Creativity has been suggested as an important element in generating innovations (see Sawyer, 2012; Amabile, 1996; Brown, 2009; Bharadwaj and Menon, 2000). Explaining creativity, according to Sawyer (2012), can help us to respond better to the challenges facing modern society. Understanding the role of creativity in a bio-inspired design is thus of particular importance as the process involves new ways of solving problems. The framework of design thinking has been proposed as a way to systematically deliver creative outcomes in a process. In seeing design thinking as an applied form of creativity, we thus seek to explore how the methods and mindset of the design-thinking framework may inform the creative process of bio-inspired design.

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1.1 Thesis Motivation
First, The growing practice of looking to nature to solve human problems was what first motivated us to write this thesis. As innovation is a major part of our master studies, we found it interesting to explore the field of bio-inspired design, which has been suggested as a consistent way of producing innovations. As a growing field, bio-inspired design embeds various challenges and opportunities. Hence, we are interested in observing and offering suggestions on the deployment of the principles of bio-inspired design. Second, we are interested in exploring the role of creativity in the bio-inspired design process. The reason why we choose creativity as the thesis’ point of departure is two-fold: On its most basic level of definition creativity entails novelty and usefulness (Sawyer, 2012) ; and through such definition, creativity thus becomes a greater competitive factor in innovation (ibid.). Third, we would like to utilize our learning that we have obtained through our minor in Design Strategy by using design thinking as an applied form of creativity. We argue in the relevancy of interlinking design thinking and bio-inspired design, as the core objective of both is essentially the same: “to solve problems and create world changing innovation.” To do this, we need to go beneath the surface of what design thinking is, through the investigation of principles and mindset of the discipline.
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1.2 Problem Statement
The field of bio-inspired design put its core tenet on the emulation of nature’s principles and mechanisms. While there exist vast opportunities to look for solutions from nature, its complexity and diversity poses a challenge in emulating its principles, which involves the search for relevant solutions to human problems. The searching and emulating phase is often referred to as the transfer

process, which involves transfer from one or more biological examples to a technical or human
domain. Attempts have been made to minimize the complexity of the transfer process, mainly by structuring the natural examples in databases. However, we argue that a technical structuring may not be enough to ensure a successful implementation, without the understanding of the mindset involved in applying the process. A principal argument in this thesis is that creativity is essential to innovation. A creative solution cannot only be novel/original, but it also has to be relevant to its intended user. A creative mindset can better facilitate the identification of challenges that may arise in the process of
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See literature review on creativity Tim McGee, eco-interface.com

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developing novel and useful outcomes. In addition, in the context of bio-inspired design, the extraction of nature’s principles into a human and technology context often requires a series of cognitive processes that are closely related to creativity. Thus, as an initial departure for our thesis, we argue that the understanding of creativity is essential to construct the practitioner’s mindset in applying bio-inspired design. Creativity is, however, a holistic term and what constitutes as “creative” may vary depending on the individual social and cultural context. Thus, to ensure thoroughness in the analysis, we use an applied, practical approach to creativity. As mentioned in our motivation, we will use design thinking as an applied method of creativity. Design thinking proponents have long champion creativity as an essential part of the design thinker’s capability (Brown, 2009; Lockwood, 2010; Cross, 2007). In addition, the widespread use and practice of design thinking has made it possible to establish a series of commonly accepted mindsets and principles, that can be used as an angle to analyze bioinspired process.

1.3 Research Question
The following research question guides our thesis:

RQ: How can the understanding of creativity support the application of the bioinspired design process?
This perspective gives rise to a two-fold sub-question to be explored: SQ.1 How does the understanding of organizational creativity aid the identification of the challenges currently faced by bio-inspired design? SQ. 2 In what ways can design thinking, as an applied method of creativity, influence the quest for novel and appropriate solutions in bio-inspired design?

SQ1

creativity

desi nn desi thinkin thinkin
SQ2

bio-inspired desi n

Figure 1: The bipartite research question

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1.3.1 Clarification of Research
Sub-Question 1: We examine the process of bio-inspired design using the framework of organizational creativity. Specifically, we are looking at how the understanding of organizational creativity can identify some of the challenges faced in bio-inspired design. Our initial point of departure in the analysis is the belief that the bio-inspired approach intersects with creativity. Thus, by looking at the bio-inspired approach through the lens of organizational creativity, we aim to identify the gap in the current practice of the approach that might limit its ability to produce novel and useful solutions. In the process of identifying the challenges, we also aim at elaborating on how creativity plays a role in bio-inspired design process, as well as how bio-inspired approach can be an avenue through which creativity emerge. The notion of “understanding of organizational creativity” involves the observation of creativity using a macro-orientational framework that gives rise to a holistic understanding of creativity, encompassing not only creative processes, but also the understanding of the individuals and the environment supporting the process. Sub-Question 2: we explore the practical application of creativity in the bio-inspired design process. We do this by exploring the interlink of bio-inspired design and design thinking. In developing an understanding of this aspect, we can identify design thinking ways of working that may help address some of the challenges faced by bio-inspired design. Specifically, we are a looking at the elements of design thinking that can be used as a model of shared understanding, to give ways for novel and useful solutions to better emerge in a bio-inspired design process.

1.3.2 Delimitations
This thesis explores the relationship between three discourses: bio-inspired design, creativity and design thinking. As our observation subject is mainly context-dependent, any practical use of the recommendations provided has to be adjusted to the local context. In addition, we understand that we cannot cover every aspect of the discourse due to the generalized nature of the analysis, as well as the limited timeframe allowed for the project. As we are focusing on the organizational aspect of creativity and design thinking, we do not consider the implications relating to externalization. Thus, our analysis does not assess the quality of the outcome, although we do provide analysis on the organizational factor that has to be in place to support the outcome. The field of bio-inspired design, as a focus of our study, is a growing field with a great diversity of practice and methodology. The field is still yet to establish a common practice between the various approaches; hence we are aware that a generalized recommendation is unlikely to be universally accepted among all practitioners of bio-inspired design. However, by using organizational creativity as a lens through which bio-inspired approach is observed, we elaborate on the common ground between the various bio-inspired approaches. Nevertheless, we are aware that our recommendation

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may not be sufficient to be applied in a very specialized setting of bio-inspired design with higher degree of practical complexity. The bio-inspired design practitioners using design-thinking elements in their approach (e.g. Biomimicry 3.8, Biomimicry for Creative Innovation) are mostly found in North America. Therefore, all of our respondents are based in North America, although some has experience working with bioinspired approach in other parts of the world. As we are looking at bio-inspired design through a macro-orientational framework that encompasses individuals, process and environment, we believe that cultural differences may play a factor in the creation of solutions within the approach of bioinspired design. As part of our thesis delimitation, we are not elaborating cultural aspects of creativity and bio-inspired design. As a consequence, in conditions where culture is a strong contributing factor, we understand that our recommendation may not be sufficient in supporting such practice of bioinspired design.

1.4 Clarification of Concept
“Creativity” as a term and a concept has historically been malleable in terms of meanings and definitions. The perception as to what creativity entails have always been influenced by its societal and historical context (Sawyer, 2012). In addition, as a growing discipline, bio-inspired design constitutes various terms e.g. biomimicry, biomimetics, bionics, all of which are often used interchangeably. Thus, the below section is aimed at explaining and clarifying the key concepts used in the thesis.

1.4.1 Creativity
Creativity is often seen as a mysterious (and sometimes mystified) aspect of human behavior. It is commonly perceived to be a result of serendipity, and a skill reserved only for the few lucky ones.
There are many attempts on decoding what creativity is and what it entails, and the research on

creativity has produced many, and often contradictory views of creativity (Welsh, 1973 in Lauer, 1994). Mac Crimmon and Wagner (1994) did a review of practice and research on creativity, and reveals five key dimensions of creative output: novelty, non-obviousness, workability, relevance, and thoroughness. Amabile (2012, p.1), one of the prominent creativity researchers, describe creativity as

“the production of a novel and appropriate response, product, or solution to an open-ended task.”
Sawyer (2012, p.7) describes creativity as “a new mental combination that is expressed in the world” and also “generation of a product that is judged to be novel and also to be appropriate, useful, or

valuable by a suitably knowledgeable social group.” Thus, we can argue that creativity is a product of
two things: novelty and usefulness. Novelty refers to the “newness” (Amabile, 2012) and the

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originality of an idea (Mac Crimmon and Wagner, 1984). Usefulness refers to the fit to a predetermined goal and a readily implemented idea (ibid.). It is outside this thesis’ limitation to evaluate the appropriateness or the usefulness of a creative concept, if the indicator provided is the commercial success of the product or services. However, it is possible to evaluate creativity as a system consisting of person, environment and process. When looking at creativity from a systems level, the purpose is thus to observe the creation of a valuable, useful new product, service, idea, procedure, or process (Woodman, Sawyer, & Griffin, 1993). Thus, the way creativity is used and understood in this thesis is ‘how the system influences the possibility of creating a creative outcome’, rather than evaluating the outcome itself.

1.4.2 Bio-Inspired Design
As there is yet to be formulated a high level theory of what bio-inspired design is (Vincent et al, 2006), to the practitioners and researchers bio-inspired design tend to be defined as ‘bio-inspired design is what bio-inspired designers do’. Authors operate with different operations of what bioinspired is and should be, but as we also shall see, the base level assumptions tend to be the same. Biom im etics was first coined by Otto H. Schmitt (Schmitt, 1969 in Bar-Cohen, 2005), and is a combination of the words biology and mimesis (imitation) (Speck & Speck, 2008). It has come to be defined as the process of studying and imitating nature’s methods, mechanisms and processes (BarCohen, 2005; Sartori et. al, 2009), as well as the externalization of technical applications based on insights resulting from fundamental biological research (Speck & Speck, 2008). Similarly, bionics (bionik in German and Danish) first used by Jack E. Steele, has been defined as ‘application of biological function and mechanics to machine design’ (Shu et al, 2011), or more generally as systems that copy some function or characteristics from natural systems (Vincent, 2006). The terms bionics and biomimetics are used interchangeably in the literature, with German authors and practitioners generally referring to it as bionics, while the rest of the world uses the terms biomimetics. This study uses the term biomimetics. Biomimetics has its roots from the engineering field -Schmitt being a biomedical engineer and Steele a trained engineer – and it continues to be dominated by engineers and technologists (Wahl 2006). The process is technically oriented and rigorous, focusing on the technical realization and application of construction processes and developmental principles observed in the biological systems (ibid). The technology of nature is uncovered through a long and often meticulous research process, often by universities and research labs, and then applied to human technology by engineers (Schild et al, 2004, Speck & Speck, 2008). The time, cost and deep specialization needed has been seen as a barrier to more widespread adoption of biomimetics in business (Schild et al, 2004), and

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has led to attempts of making biological knowledge more readily accessible for application in product development by building searchable databases of biological solution principles (i.e. Vincent et al, 2006; Chiu and Shu, 2007; Chakrabarti et al, 2005; Vattam et. al, 2011; Sartori et. al 2009) The biomimetic approach has faced criticism for not being concerned with sustainability, Wahl (2006) noting that a bionics conference in Germany in 2004 was so focused on technological innovation that it “almost actively tried to discourage ecological concern and the issue of

sustainability” (Wahl, 2006, p. 293). While the biomimetic approach was gaining foothold in Europe,
American Jack Todd and Nancy Jack-Todd (Jack-Todd, 2005) formulated the principles of ecological informed design in the 1970s. The ecological informed design approach sought to explore how ecology, biology and a bio-cybernetic systems approach could inform more sustainable solutions (Wahl, 2006). Inspired by the movement, Janine Benyus adopted and popularized the term biom im icry in her book Biomimicry: Innovation inspired by nature (1997). Benyus’ described biomimicry as seeking to adapt solutions from nature, much in the same way as in biomimetics, but with the added requirement that the solutions should be sustainable (Biomimicry 3.8; Shu et al, 2011). More detailed, Benyus (1997) set three major aspects for biomimicry: considering nature as model, nature as a measure and nature as a mentor (Benyus, 1997; Badarnah Kadri, 2012). Aside from the sustainability requirement, biomimicry is usually grouped together with biomimetics and bionics, and the terms are often used interchangeably (Shu et al, 2011). Some authors use the term bio-inspired design (or biologically inspired design) as a generic umbrella term for all the approaches, defined as using analogies to biological systems to develop solutions for problems (Benyus, 1997; Vattam et al, 2010; Vincent & Mann, 2002). This paper will use the latter term when referring to the process of mimicking natural models, systems, and processes to create solutions for human problems.

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1.5 Reading Guide
This thesis is composed of six chapters. The first chapter is an introductory chapter where we elaborate our motivation and the research question. The second chapter covers our research design, thesis collaborators and other important considerations in regards to the quality of our research. The third chapter explains the theoretical foundation of this thesis. The fourth and fifth chapter comprise of the analysis, each addressing the research sub-questions. The sixth chapter synthesizes our findings, by offering a strategic framework supporting the application of bio-inspired design.

1 Introduction

2 Methodolo y

3 4 Literature Review Analysis 1
Or anizational Creativity

5 Analysis 2

6 Conclusion

Research Question

Research Desi n

Desi n Thinkin Bio-Inspired Desi n

Strate ic Framework

SQ1. How does the understandin of or anizational creativity aid the identification of the challen es faced by bio-inspired desi n? SQ2. In what ways does desi n thinkin influence the quest for novel and useful solutions in bio-inspired desi n? RQ. How can the understandin of creativity support the application of bio-inspired desi n?

Figure 2: Reading Guide

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section 2

research methodology

This chapter outlines the methods that have been used in this study to elaborate and answer the research questions. In addition, this section also account for the mode of reasoning we use in analyzing and synthesizing theories and our findings. Besides presenting the data collection methods, this section also outlines the collaborators of our thesis. The section ends with a discussion of the reliability and validity of the research for purposes of evaluating the research quality.

2.1 Research Philosophy
Leedy (1989) defines research as a procedure by which we attempt to find systematically, and with the support of demonstrable facts, the answer to a question or the resolution of a problem. In social sciences there is an epistemological debate regarding the status of knowledge and the search thereof. The positivist position (objectivism) approaches social sciences research in the same way one approaches natural science research, i.e. one assumes theory and the researcher to be objective in their observation of social phenomena, and that law-like causes and effects can be established and tested (Walliman, 2006). The positivist position is challenged by the interpretivist position (subjectivism), which views reality as being socially constructed (ibid). This position argue that subjective meanings play a crucial role in social actions – that reality is a social construct and not a independent entity to be observed – thus knowledge is only available through social actors (Walliman, 2006, Eriksson & Kovalainen, 2008). Positivism and intepretivism are two polarized positions, and in practice the researcher often uses a realist viewpoint of the role of knowledge and how knowledge is created (ibid). The (social/critical) realist position argue that structures underpin and influence social action, but that scientific methods are not sufficient to uncover casual effects in social systems, as people interpret reality differently in different times and context (Eriksson & Kovalainen, 2008). Thus, the position holds that reality is not solely a social construct, but that it cannot be observed without taking into consideration the thick context of social interaction and the individual’s interpretation of their own reality. The realist approach then, accepting both the positivist notion that there is an observable world independent of human consciousness and that the knowledge about the world is socially constructed, has a pragmatic approach to research, arguing that one is free to use any methods deemed appropriate for their circumstance. Realists accept that social reality is complex, and to understand it one should use both positivist and interpretivist methods. Both ‘creativity’ and ‘innovation processes’ are concepts that change rapidly in both meaning and form, and thus constructing general law-like explanations of them as social phenomena is hard and arguably not very appropriate. Furthermore, the field of bio-inspired design is emerging with a range of different approaches; definitions, and meanings. The interpretivist position accepts that change in

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social phenomena is continuous (Fulgsang et al, 2004), and thus one must consult the social actors themselves in exploring the current status. While this study is a qualitative, i.e. it does not seek to answer questions such as ‘how many’ or ‘how strong’ (Rosaline, 2008) through the use of statistical/numerical data, some of the secondary literature used in the study is of a quantitative nature (e.g. Wilson et al, 2010; Chakrabarti; 2005) – a preferred method for the positivist position. We acknowledge the fact that social action must be interpreted in its context, but also acknowledge that there are some general rules governing their behavior. The quantitative studies performed on creativity – the fluency in ideas, number of ideas dependent on a dependent variable, and so forth – belongs to a positivist. Thus in accepting some secondary literature based on a positivist position, while also using interpretivist elements in our analysis, we situate our own study as belonging to the realism position. There are some functional drivers of creativity, but these drivers must be studied and interpreted in their context for the meaning to be uncovered.

2.1.1 Modes of Reasoning
‘Modes of reasoning’ refers to the ways one deploys the theory and empirical information in order to generate knowledge or reach a conclusion (Eriksson and Kovalainen, 2008). There are three forms of inquiry described in the methodology literature: deduction, induction and abduction (Eriksson & Kovalainen, 2008). Deduction is a mode of reasoning where the researchers use theory as a starting point, formulating hypotheses based on the theory to be tested empirically. The result is a verification or rejection of the hypothesis, leading to a strengthening or weakening of the theory (ibid). Deduction in its most strict form is most often associated with quantitative research and rarely used in qualitative research. Deduction is contrasted by the inductive mode of reasoning: an inquiry that starts with empirical data, and through the analysis of the data formulates theory (ibid). Pure induction is rare, and most research using an inductive mode of reasoning are guided by some levels of pre-existing theory. The inquiry in a work of research can have elements of both deductive and inductive thinking – used interchangeably, or used to answer problems in different parts of the work (Eriksson & Kovalainen, 2008). This study makes use of both modes of reasoning in its inquiry. The study is an exploration of the role of creativity in the bio- inspired design process, guided by the use of a theoretical framework from the creativity and design thinking literature. While the categories and hypotheses formulated are predominantly sourced from secondary literature, and the primary data collected for the study is used to support arguments developed by the authors, there are also instances of the primary data being the source of categories and hypotheses formulated. This work, like much of the research work in general, is iterative in its nature - moving between data analysis; data collection, and theorizing in an iterative process. This allows for the formation of relationships in the data collected, for theories

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to emerge in the process, and for the authors to modify the suggested relationships in the dataset as more data is collected and analyzed. Some authors offer abduction as a way to describe the combination of both inductive and deductive modes of reasoning in a research project (Eriksson & Kovalainen, 2008). Abduction has been called the logic of exploratory data analysis, where the aim is not to test hypotheses nor to generalize from cases to a wider population, but rather generate new ideas or hypotheses resulting in a plausible interpretation (ibid, Schwandt, 2007).

“Within the context of scientific endeavors, abduction is the basis for the inventive construction of new ideas, explanatory propositions, and theoretical elements. Its importance lies in highlighting the discovery dimension of research, especially the central role played by puzzles, hunches, speculation, imagination, guesswork, and the like, in the process of developing theoretical insights (Locke, 2010,
p.1).” In the abductive mode of reasoning, the researcher collects data while analyzing the data. The

ongoing analysis leads the data collection, and the researcher finish when s/he has come up with an
explanation with sufficient explanatory power, and other explanations seem less likely. Thus, using abductive reasoning, the aim of the study is not to prove a hypothesis, rather it seeks to suggest a framework for using creative tools and methods within the bio- inspired design discipline. The study formulates casual relationships between categories, and resolutions to challenges identified, but it does not necessarily provide full evidence of these relationships. The study builds on existing knowledge - adds to it; extrapolates from it – while accepting that the information acquired is subjective, contextual and cannot be interpreted as a universal truth. This process of exploration into the field of bio- inspired design is performed in line with the abductive values of “being deliberately

expansive and playful in thinking with observations (Locke, 2010, p.2)”.

2.2 Research Design
Research design can be defined as “the plan that provides the logical structure that guides the

investigator to address research problems and answer research questions (DeForge, 2010)”.
This study takes a qualitative approach to answer the research question. In line with the mode of reasoning, qualitative data analysis is better on facilitating exploration of different perspectives and can give rich insights on the relationship between concepts that are observed (Silverman, 2004). Qualitative analysis has been argued to have the highest viability in areas where phenomena or events are less known (Field, 1985), as the research focus is on meanings, concepts, characteristics and descriptions of things rather on the ‘amount’ or quantity of whatever it is that is being studied

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(Berg & Berg, 2007). The qualitative method gives an opportunity to “develop analytic perspectives

that speak directly to practical circumstances and process of everyday life which may be used to apply and evaluate general theory” (Karn and Cowling, 2006, p.502). Observation of context and
practical application is important when it comes to design processes and creativity research, as much of the knowledge is tacit in nature, and thus hard to capture through means of quantitative information. Qualitative research does not usually follow a strict linear research design; rather it uses the initial research design as a guide, while allowing for deviations and changes in the design during the research process (Eriksson & Kovalainen, 2008). Using a qualitative research design with an abductive mode of reasoning, translates to a highly flexible research design with continuous changes and iterations. Even though the research design might change during the process, it is still important to formulate a research design for initial planning purposes. In particular, the collection of qualitative interviewee data should be planned beforehand to avoid later problems of transparency and validity (see data collection). Figure 3 sums up the main steps of qualitative research (adopted from Bryman, 2012)

1 General Research Question

2 Selection of relevant site(s) and subjects

3 Collection of relevant data

4 Interpretation of data

5B

Collection of further data

5 Conceptual and theoretical work

5A

Ti hter specification of the research question

6 Writin up conclusions/findin s
Figure 3: The Qualitative Research Process. From Bryman (2012)

The study approaches the research design through the use of an exploratory case study. A case study is a situation where the researchers ask “how” or “why” questions about a contemporary set of events, over which the investigator has little or no control (Yin, 2003). Yin (2003) proposed the following characteristics of case study research: It investigates a contemporary phenomenon within

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its real-life context; the boundaries between the phenomenon and context are not clearly evident; and multiple sources of evidence are used. The case study lends itself well to studying creativity and creative processes, as creativity research requires rich data about the creative individual, the product, the process, and the problem (Cohen, 2010). The exploratory approach was chosen as the field of bio-inspired design is emerging and is relatively underexplored, and thus the data and theory needed for proper hypothetical formulation is yet to be obtained (Streb, 2010). The exploratory research is often applied as a preliminary step to a later bigger explanatory research project of a new field of investigation, and is generally thought of as being more flexible, informal and intuitive than explanatory and descriptive case studies (ibid). As the conclusions of exploratory research are not verified in a strict academic sense, they are not usually useful for decision making by themselves. Exploratory research can provide significant insight into a field; be indicative of potential explanations, as well as suggesting areas for further studies.

2.2.1 Data collection 2.2.1.1$Consideration$on$Sampling$
A realist point of view calls for thorough exploration and interpretation of the social phenomena observed. It is thus important to set a clear parameter of the study, by having a clear consideration on the information selection. The study leans on the approach that Patton (1990) and LeCompte and Preissle (1993) refers to as purposeful sampling. Maxwell (2005) argues that purposeful sampling is suitable for particular settings, persons, or activities deliberately selected in order to gather information that cannot be acquired elsewhere. This poses a particular challenge on the sampling process, as the term “sampling” implies the representation of population sampled. However, due to the emerging and scattered practice of the subject of study, it is not possible to generalize the findings to be applicable to all organizations. The purpose of the “sample”, thus, is to build an inference based on various point of views of the different stakeholders within the field of study. As an initial data collection step, and to obtain an early understanding of the discourse on the varying approaches in bio- inspired design, an open-ended question regarding the processes of bio- inspired design was posted to a forum on the social network LinkedIn (Appendix 5). The forum, Biomimicry & Innovation, counts over 2800 members and is the biggest active professional community identified by the study. The post posted by one of the researchers quickly became one of the most popular posts, and is currently among the top three most commented posts of the last six months (see Appendix 5). The responses to the question posted gave a valuable early insight on the discourse, and allowed for the mapping of key actors and approaches in the field.

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Due to our time and expertise limitation, we only sample respondents who have the experience with approaches that involve multidisciplinary collaboration and application of design thinking. The focus, while limiting the generalization of the findings, is useful in several ways: Firstly, it allows us to get rich, in-depth understanding from various angles on a specific subject, instead of a superficial understanding that covers a great range of different practices. Secondly, Our findings are based on practical experience, which allows us to assess each finding’s critical success factors as well as the challenges. Subsequent to us determining the focus of research, we began to inquire potential respondents that we choose based on several criteria: First, that the respondents come from varying professional and/or educational backgrounds. This means that we have to inquire not only biologists, but also designers, engineers, and people with business backgrounds with a practical experience in bioinspired design. Second, the individuals should have an interdisciplinary profile, so that it allows for critical reflection, by using their wide span of knowledge as a base for comparison.

2.2.1.2$Primary$Data$
We are using semi-structured, open-ended qualitative interviews as the main source of empirical data in the study. An open-ended approach allow respondents to give as many details as possible from their own frame of reference (Bogdan and Bilken, 1992). We are relying on interview guidelines that include a set of topics that is adapted to the respondent’s background. During the interviews we modified the flow of the interview depending on the interviewee answer. This way, we allowed for more flexibility in our interview approach. On crafting the interview guideline, we also relied on our secondary data e.g. web discussions, blogs, and other Internet sources. The goal of the interview is to gain the understanding of the role of creativity in a bio-inspired design process. To reach the balance between capturing a common understanding of what creativity entails, while at the same time being able to acquire opposing world-views, we approached respondents from diverse backgrounds. We conducted a total of four interviews with practitioners of bio-inspired design, all with interdisciplinary profiles. A more elaborate discussion about our respondents can be found in thesis collaborators section. As all of our respondents reside outside of Denmark, three of our interviews were conducted over Skype audio call, and one interview was written. Thus, we did not take into consideration physical gesture and tone of voice in our transcribing process. The oral interviews lasted approximately 45 – 60 minutes, and were audio recorded. The transcripts and audio files of the oral interviews are found in the appendix.

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2.2.1.3$Secondary$Data$$
We are using secondary data to ensure a triangulation design of mixed sources in the research. We utilize secondary data for two purposes. One, we use the data to support the arguments we gathered from our interviews and the secondary literature. Two, we use secondary data to guide the primary information gathering. The extensive information that we gathered from Internet sources, albeit serving as secondary data, gave us an early understanding of the practical development on the field, ‘who is who’, and the key influencers on specific topic within the discourse. Through such information, we were able to gauge the positioning of our respondents, to better understand their role in the bio-inspired design discourse. To better understand the bio-inspired methods used by our respondents, we consulted reports and courses as secondary data. We used the “GeniusofBiome” report published in June 2013 by design firm HOK, which is a recurring collaborator with Biomimicry 3.8. The report covers the use of biomimicry life principles in relation to water, material, energy, social relations and economics matters. Furthermore, we also took a course offered by Biomimicry 3.8, “Introduction to Biomimicry.” It is an accredited course that introduces students to the biomimicry approach and range of case studies. We also used information from the web-log of two of our respondents to elaborate on topics discussed in the interviews, as well as to support our analysis .
3

2.2.2 Data analysis
“Data analysis consists of examining, categorizing, tabulating, testing, or otherwise recombining the evidence to address the initial proposition of a study” (Yin, 1994, p.109). Data analysis methods in
qualitative research is characterized by a “fluid, interactive relationship” between data collection and data analysis (Denzin, 1970 in Lee & Fielding, 2004), and are sometimes not extensively elaborated – sometimes even described as being little more than heuristics or ‘tricks of the trade’ (Becker. 1998 in Lee & Fielding, 2004). Aligning with the mode of reasoning in this study, data analysis was performed in an iterative manner, where the ongoing analyses of the primary data and secondary literature led the data collection, which in turn led to new categories and concepts. To uncover potential emergence, dynamic categorization was applied, where the coding and clustering may change over time depending on the new information that was gathered. No systematic analytical tool from the methodology literature was utilized in the analytical process, as the amount of primary data collected was limited.

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Tim McGee’s blog: www.ecointerface.com (www1) and Carl Hastrich’s blog: bouncingideas.wordpress.com (www2)

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2.3 Thesis Collaborators
In this section, we aim to familiarize the readers with the informants that we have chosen to collaborate with in this thesis. As mentioned before, interdisciplinary background is one of our key considerations on selecting the informants. Below is an introduction of the background of our informants, along with their contribution within the field of bio-inspired design . Tim McGee / Biologist and Designer at IDEO Mr. McGee is a biologist with an interest in integrating the fields of biology, design, engineering and business to create regenerative systems, products, and services that revitalize our relationship to the living world. He is currently working with IDEO Boston as Biologist & Designer. Prior to IDEO, he has worked with Biomimicry 3.8 as Biologist and Strategist, as well as Senior Biologist at the Design Table for The Biomimicry Guild. Biologist at the Design Table is an initiative started by Biomimicry 3.8 to encourage people with biology background to help designers and engineers to create sustainable solutions. His work as Biologist at the Design Table connected him to IDEO, where they worked together on the reorganization of United States Green Building Council (USGBC). The case study serves as one of the most well known case studies where biomimicry method is combined with design thinking method. Mr. McGee provide crucial insight on his practical experience working with designers, and how the field of biomimicry and design thinking contribute to the enhancement of creativity of both fields. Carl Hastrich / Founder of Bouncing Ideas Mr. Hastrich’s background is in Product Design, and he has worked as a toy designer before moving to North America to work with the founder of Biomimicry 3.8 on the development of the Biomimicry Guild, an innovation consultancy, and the Biomimicry Institute, an educational non-profit, to develop core processes of engagement, research and translation between biology, ecology, design and business. He has done design consulting and given lectures, teaching and workshops to audiences as diverse as high school students to working professionals. His current venture, bouncing ideas, serves as a studio for creating, discovering and sharing insights and possibilities that emerge between design, biology, architecture, ecology, materials research, consumer insights, business, systems thinking and anything else that is dug up. With his background as a designer and critical creativity thinker, Mr. Hastrich contribute to our thesis by sharing his insight about biomimicry from the angle of design and creative cognitive processes.
4

4

The background information is gathered from interviews, Linkedin profile, and respondent’s web-log (if applicable)

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Colin Mangham / Chief Marketing Officer of Biomimicry 3.8, Founder of Biomimicry L.A, CEO and Founder of Dailybrand Group Mr.Mangham skills span over 22 years, in the diverse area of branding, marketing, design, and business development. He has worked with a number of global corporations (+5% of the Fortune 500) and innovative start-ups. He described himself as a rapid incrementalist – his methods combine quick start prototyping with a focus on daily actions achieving small victories that add up exponentially over the long term. This belief guides the innovation consultancy that he founded, the Dailybrand group. His first encounter with the field of biomimicry was in 2006, which subsequently led him to lead the marketing for Biomimicry 3.8. He is also a certified biomimicry specialist. Mr. Mangham provided his insight on the design process undertaken by Biomimicry 3.8. His experience working with big corporations, small startups and Biomimicry 3.8 is vital to the analysis of the thesis to understand the opportunities and challenges faced by Biomimicry 3.8 in bringing their ideas to the world. Denise DeLuca / Co-Founder of Biomimicry for Creative Innovation (BCI) Mrs. DeLuca’s background is in engineering, and she has worked with several engineering firms, as well as with Biomimicry 3.8 and the Swedish Biomimetics 3000. She is also a biomimicry design and creative leadership lecturer at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Her current venture, BCI, is a network of creative innovators, professional change agents, biologists and design professionals who work in creative collaboration with each other to apply ecological thinking for radical transformation. Their creative innovation approach emerges from biomimicry; however, their focus is on business and organization, and how the biomimicry approach can influence the interaction, role, relationship, organizational structure and the business’ core vision and values. Having the experience of working in different realms of bio-inspired design, Mrs. DeLuca provided crucial insight on the dynamics of the various bio-inspired design approaches. In addition, her experience in creativity facilitation using biomimicry techniques serves a pivotal role in the thesis to assess the interplay between biomimicry process and creativity.

2.4 Research Limitations 2.3.1 Considerations on Reliability
Reliability is defined as “the degree of consistency with which instances are assigned in the same

category by different observers or by the same observer on different occasion” (Silverman, 2011,
p.360). The concept of reliability is associated with a positivist approach, and authors argue whether using the concepts of reliability and validity on qualitative research is appropriate at all (Yue, 2010, Hammersley, 2008). One argument is that it is impossible to reproduce an observation in precisely

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the same setting as the original recording (Silverman, 2011). But most researchers agree that one should strive for building qualitative research that is considered reliable and valid (Yue, 2010). In terms of primary data collected through interviews, one must acknowledge that we as researchers are not objective value-free observers, but take part in the social context we are observing. Thus, we must be careful not to let our own bias and opinions influence the interviewee. The interviews were performed as semi-structured interviews, where we let the respondent talk as freely as possible using his/her own definitions of creativity, and we were careful not to talk too much about how we defined creativity. We have also used Silverman’s (2011) “low- inference descriptors” regarding interviews in the research study, making sure to: (i) tape record interviews, (ii) carefully transcribing the interviews, and (iii) presenting long extracts of responses in the analysis section. Thus, reliability is in part ensured by transparency in the research methods. By ensuring transparency in our theoretical standpoint, we also show what theoretical standpoint our interpretations are based on, and how this produces particular interpretations and excludes others (Silverman, 2011). Theoretical transparency is ensured through the literature reviews, which also serves as a theoretical framework. Another way of ensuring reliable research outcome is by using the techniques of “triangulation” and by having “equivalency” of data coding and analysis (Ward & Street, 2010). Triangulation is an approach to data collection wherein the researcher collects data from multiple sources and by using different types of data (ibid). The triangulation process allows for more confidence in the value of the data because it is derived from multiple perspectives. We use a range of secondary sources and secondary literature in our data analysis, and coupled with the primary data collected, we argue that our study is sufficiently triangulated. Equivalency concerns the consistency of observation at a point in time (ibid.). When a single researcher collects and analyses the data, errors in the observation and/or the analysis may lead to biases that impacts the reliability of the analysis (ibid). We address equivalency by having both researchers present during the interviews and data analysis, resolving errors in observation and analysis continuously.

2.3.2 Considerations on Validity
“Validity refers to the extent to which a concept is actually represented by the indicators of such concepts” (Yue, 2010, p.959), in other words, whether the findings are true. Abductive reasoning and
exploratory research is indicative. That means that truthfulness in its strictest sense may not always be possible, as “the living experience of theorizing is messy, half-blind, wasteful, difficult to articulate,

and lengthy. Observations are made, hunches occur, ideas are developed and are tried out in relation to existing or new observations, they are modified or set aside, new ideas are developed, and so on. If abduction is permissive, then false conjectures and blind alleys are necessarily part of the process. Abduction is fallible.” (Locke, 2010, p.2). By using an abductive form of reasoning, we accept the fact

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that we might be wrong. That does not mean, though, that conducting exploratory research using abductive reasoning gives the researchers ‘carte blanche’ to invent relationships without support in the data. One way to ensure validity is by using the triangulation method described in the reliability section above. By ensuring that data is collected from multiple sources and perspectives, we mitigate the problem of potential biases in respondents and sources. Furthermore, by being careful in not priming our respondents, we try not to let our potential biases influence the research findings. We try to be consciously aware that we as humans might be susceptible to confirmation bias, i.e. give undue emphasis to data that strengthen or confirm our preexisting beliefs. We are also aware that we as human beings have the tendency to value “the views of

the articulate over the ill-informed and to those standing in a close rather than in a distant relation to the observer” (Miles & Huberman, 1994 in Lee & Fielding, 2004, p.533). The ability to counter these
tendencies grows weaker as the data set grows (Lee & Fielding, 2004). As interviews performed in this study are relatively few, we hope that we have successfully countered these tendencies. The social desirability bias concerns respondents’ tendency to respond to questions in a socially acceptable direction (Spector, 2004). ‘Creativity’ and ‘innovation’ are concepts with strong positive associations – people want to be seen as creative, or they would like to think of themselves as creative. There is a strong normative pressure to endorse creative ideas (Flynn & Chapman, 2001 in Mueller et al, 2012), and a strong social desirability bias against expressing any view of creativity as negative (Runco, 2010 in Mueller et. Al, 2012). This might lead to validity issues in our study, as our respondents usually were aware of us conducting a study about creativity and that we study innovation. The potential problem can be mitigated to some extent by avoiding asking direct questions about creativity, but rather asking open-ended question and using a neutral language (Spector, 2004). Furthermore, only certain individuals exhibit the bias (ibid), and there does not seem to be much evidence that suggest that the social desirability bias is a widespread problem in qualitative research based on self-reporting (Moorman and Podsakoff, 1992 in Spector, 2004). Finally, as part of the validity considerations, it is important to acknowledge that some actors and respondents might have an agenda in promoting their own world-views and the approaches they represent. Bio- inspired design is an emerging field, and thus respondents of the different competing approaches may have the (unconscious) incentive to overemphasize the efficiency and value of their own approaches. We acknowledge that some of the respondents in the study come from a consultancy background, actively selling their bio-inspired design approach and solutions. This potential problem of biased primary data is sought to be mitigated by using triangulation of sources and perspectives, while being careful not to see respondents as a source of objective and universal knowledge, rather taking into consideration the respondents deeper context.
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section 3

literature review
organizational creativity design thinking bio-inspired design

This section elaborates theories and literature that we use as a base of our analysis in the subsequent sections. The theories and literature are derived from three research fields: organizational creativity, design thinking, and bio-inspired design. We form an analytical framework on each of the research fields, by combining and synthesizing various theories and literature. Our view of theories is that it consists of preliminary and changing assumptions that direct our research (Eriksson & Kovalainen, 2008). Thus, when applying theories in analysis, we see theories not as a rigid structure of arguments, but as an argumentative base in which meaning is dependent on its context and the relationship with other theories. This belief allows us to create a common framework derived from various theories and the literature consulted. Figure 4 illustrates how the theoretical frameworks apply to each sub-question:
holistic view on the role of creativity in bio-inspired desi n (SQ1)

theories on or anizational creativity

desi on n theories desi n thinkin thinkin

theories on bio-inspired desi n

practical application of creativity in bio-inspired desi n (SQ2)
Figure 4: Literature Review Framework

3.1 Literature Review Part 1: Creativity
This section details the theories and literature of creativity research. As noted in the clarification of concepts, creativity theories are highly contextual, and there is a wide range of views as to what creativity entail. Isaksen (1989) argues that the contradictory view on creativity emerges only when it is seen from a micro perspective. Hence, a macro orientational framework is needed to reduce the discrepancies in creativity (ibid.). To reflect the macro framework of creativity, this section is divided into two parts. The first part, the theoretical part, aims at describing creativity from a systems level. The theoretical framework of systems-level creativity is used as a building block to answer sub question 1: How does the understanding of organizational creativity aid the identification of the

challenges currently faced by bio-inspired design?

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In addition to the theoretical perspective of creativity, the second part of this section elaborates the practical application of creativity through design thinking. The literature presented in the design thinking section is mostly based on the practical experience of design thinking practitioners, for example in working with IDEO, IBM, and the UK Design Council. The design thinking literature is used as a building block to answer sub-question 2: In what ways can design thinking, as an applied

method of creativity, influence the quest for novel and appropriate solutions in bio-inspired design?

3.1.1 Organizational Creativity – Looking at Creativity from a Systems Level
Several researchers have described creativity through a macro orientational framework. Rhodes (1961) developed the 4P model of creativity, which breaks the aspect of creativity into ‘Person’, ‘Process’, ‘Product’ and ‘Press’. Amabile (1988) proposes the componential theory of creativity, which describes creativity as composing of three within-individual components: domain relevant skills, creativity relevant process, and task motivation, as well as the surrounding environment as a component outside the individual. The two often-cited models share an underlying assumption of creativity not being just a product of the individual, but also impacted by elements surrounding him/her. Most creativity studies focused on the creative capacity of individuals. Creativity tests are mostly designed at the individual level (see Sawyer, 2012), although many studies have suggested that there are external factors that influence individual creativity (e.g. Amabile, 1988; Pucio and Cabra, 2010); Woodman et al, 1993). Burnside et al (1999) argue that creativity is associated with the effect of the organization on the individual. Sawyer (2012) summarizes research that has been done on group creativity, and suggests that group creativity cannot be explained by looking at individuals only. There is a need for an approach that explains group dynamics, organizational culture and other external factors (ibid.). Thus, we have chosen to look at creativity from an organizational angle. Woodman et al (1993, p.293) define organizational creativity as “the creation of a valuable, useful new product,

service, idea, procedure, or process by individuals working together in a complex social system.”

3.1.2 Creative Change Model and the Componential Theory of Creativity
The interest in looking at creativity from an organizational level is mainly driven by the need for organizations to adapt quickly to changing circumstances (Pucio and Cabra, 2010; Sawyer, 2012). Furthermore, the presence of organizational systems and processes that enable creativity tend to strengthen individual creativity efforts (Amabile, 1988). Bharadwaj and Menon (2004) studied the elements of creativity found in organizations, and highlighted two specific areas of organizational creativity: individual creativity mechanisms (activities individuals pursue to cultivate their personal creativity) and organizational creativity mechanisms (practices adopted by organization to foster

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creative behavior). Pucio et al (2007) developed the ‘creative change model’, a useful framework for reviewing variables that influence organizational creativity. The creative change model was developed with the initial understanding that innovation in an organization is a result of interaction among people; processes they engage in, as well as the environment in which they work (Pucio and Cabra, 2010).
LEADERSHIP

Interaction leads to

PERSON

PROCESS

(e. . theories, solutions, ideas, intervention)

PRODUCT

adoption leads to

(e. . social chan e, personal chan e, innovation)

CREATIVE CHANGE

ENVIRONMENT

Figure 5: Creativity: A System Model

The model has several components (taken from Pucio and Cabra, 2010): 1. Person refers to the individual skills, background, experience, personality, knowledge and motivation. 2. Process relates to the stages of thought people engage in when working alone or with others to creatively address predicaments and opportunities at work. 3. Environm ent relates both to the psychological and physical setting in which a person works. The interplay between the three components of the model leads to the creation of products or services. However, creative change can only be realized when the creative product is adopted through the means of innovation or a ‘catalyst of change’ (Pucio and Cabra, 2010). The model is supported by Bharadwaj and Menon’s (2000) experimental study finding that creative individuals can only produce better creative output than less creative individuals when surrounded by an organizational atmosphere that facilitates creativity. The model is iterative in nature, as the adoption of change will impact the organization’s way of working, as well as influencing the people within the organization (Pucio and Cabra, 2010).

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We use the creative change model as the orientational framework of creativity. The model incorporates the commonly referred 4Ps of creativity (see Rhodes, 1961), and intersects with the creativity elements of Amabile’s componential theory (see Amabile, 2012). The creative change model adds the elements of leadership as part of its creativity components (Pucio and Cabra, 2010). The leadership variable puts it focus on articulation on leadership qualities that foster creativity in an organization (Pucio and Cabra, 2010). It includes traits like tolerance for ambiguity; risk taking ability, openness to change, and ability to balance passion and objectivity (Andrew and Sirkin, 2006).

3.1.2.1$Person$$
As organizations are composed by individuals, it is important to consider the individual aspect of creativity as a important element of organizational creativity (Amabile, 1988). The creativity-relevant skills of individuals influence innovation in organizations, and such skills can be developed, sustained and enhanced through organizational mechanisms (ibid.). The investigation of individual creativity led to the formation of several creativity frameworks, one of which is the oft-referred Amabile’s componential theory. The theory elaborates the core features of what makes an individual creative (Amabile, 2012, p. 1-2): Dom ain-relevant skills: include the technical skills and intellectual mastery of the particular domain where the problem solver is working. This aspect is closely related to the person facet in the creative change model. Creativity-relevant process: include cognitive style and personality characteristics that are conducive to independence, risk-taking, and taking new perspectives on problems, as well as a disciplined work style and skills in generating ideas. This aspect is closely related to the process facet in the creative change model. Task Motivation: refer to the underlying reason that motivates one to undergo a task. Central to this theory is the argument that intrinsic motivation is a principle of creativity. People are most creative when they feel motivated primarily by the interest, enjoyment, satisfaction, and the challenge of the work itself – and not by extrinsic motivators. This aspect can be seen as the result of the interplay between person, process, and environment. The Social Environm ent: refer to factors in the environment where the problem solver is working that serves as obstacles or as stimulants to intrinsic motivation and creativity.

3.1.2.2$Environment$
On a practical level, “creativity, like all behavior, is a function of transactional relationships between

the individual and his (or her) environment” (Stein, 1968 p. 936). The research on creativity has
transitioned from being individual-trait focused to a concern for the impact of the environment and creative behavior (Pucio and Cabra, 2010). Environment contributes to creative outputs through a variety of means. First, it can provide stimuli for the problem solver. Second, the social environment

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interacts with the problem solver’s personality, positively or negatively impacting the idea generation process (Mac Crimmon and Wagner, 1994; Amabile, 2012). Hucker (1988 p. 272) stated, “Environments are important to creativity. Some inhibit creativity by

being too dark, too loud or too cramped. It is hard to be creative if you are uncomfortable … creativity flourishes when tools, support, and inspiration abound. An environment can inspire creativity by being beautiful and unusual. It can foster creativity by allowing freedom or feedback. “Places don’t create, people do” is an oft-said aphorism. True. But it is also true that a place can help a person be more creative.”
In the internal organizational context, organization culture plays an important role in influencing creativity. There is little empirical research on creativity and organizational culture, but there seems to be a set of agreed upon organizational values, beliefs and norms that influences creativity (Martin and Terblanche, 2003). Martin and Terblanche (2003) aimed at synthesizing the organizational culture that influences creativity through an integrative framework that encompasses: (1) A shared vision and mission that explicitly incorporate an innovation strategy, (2) an organizational structure that fosters flexibility, freedom and group interaction, (3) Organizational support mechanisms e.g. rewards, recognition and availability of resources, (4) Behavior that encourages innovation, including mistake handling, continuous learning, idea generating, risk taking, competitiveness and conflict handling, and (5) an open communication approach.

3.1.2.3$Process$
In order to promote creative thinking, organizations have developed management practices designed to help employees better engage in a creative process (Pucio and Cabra, 2010). Jouini and Duboc (2000) observed the creative process in a prominent automobile supplier and outlined organizational practices that supported the successful outcome of the process. Key factors include; a broad scope for the innovation unit, a dual role of project and normal work responsibilities among team members, a healthy flow between knowledge and concept development, and cross functional teamwork (ibid.). However, a creative process in an organization is more than a series of formulas of management practices. As creativity is essentially about problem solving, the understanding of cognitive action in problem solving is necessary for the construction of the creative process (Beaton, 1990). Ward and Kolomyts (2010) refer to creative cognition as the fundamental cognitive process that transforms stored knowledge into novel and appropriate ideas. Finke et al (1992) suggested a commonly known descriptive framework for creative cognition through the Geneplore model. The model explains the development of novel and useful ideas, which results from an interplay between

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generative processes that produces range of ideas and exploratory processes that expand the
creative potential of the ideas (Finke, et al, 1992). The important take-out from the Geneplore model is the understanding that creative process is not a singular entity, rather, it results from the relationship between various cognitive processes that influence the probability of a creative outcomes (Ward and Kolomyts, 2010). Research on the creativity process has led to various process tools that take creative cognition into consideration. Wallas (1926) developed the creative problem-solving model incorporating four stages; preparation, incubation, illumination and verification (see Beaton, 1990; Mac Crimmon and Wagner, 1994; Pucio and Cabra, 2010). The model has been described as the dominant western model of the creative process (Lubar, 1990 in Beaton, 1990). Sawyer (2012) incorporated Wallas’ model with other prominent creativity process models into an integrated framework of creative process. For the purpose of the literature review, we will use Sawyer’s integrated model to explain the problem solving process in creativity. The literature review if focused on the process part of organizational creativity, as the thesis is mainly concerned with the process of bio-inspired design. Step 1: Find the Problem . While the focus of creativity has been about solving problems, many researchers believe that problem finding is also important to creativity (Sawyer, 2012). A big part of creative success involves the ability to formulate a good question (Sawyer, 2012; Ward and Kolomyts, 2010). Mumford et al (2003) further elaborate the importance of formulating problem in creativity, as most creativity occurs when working with a problem that is not well defined . This stage involves making a better sense of the problem by constructing, formulating or defining the problem or task to be accomplished (Ward and Kolomyst, 2010). This can be done through the retrieval of past experiences, seeking out relevant information and/or generating a potential course of action (ibid.). Step 2: Acquire the Knowledge. To synthesize a problem, one has to learn everything relevant about the problem (Sawyer, 2012). Gardner (1993) proposed the 10-year rule of it taking approximately ten years of study in a domain before a person makes his or her creative contribution (ibid.). Ericsson et al (1993) proposed a variation of the 10-year rule through an empirical study that suggests a world-class performance is only possible after a person has invested 10,000 hours of deliberate practice in the domain (ibid.). However, some studies (e.g. Cox, 1926) have suggested that knowledge can have an inverse relationship with creativity. After a certain point, additional formal education can interfere with creativity (Simonton, 1984). Sawyer (2012) further elaborate the reasoning behind and conclude that after a person has enough education to internalize the domain,
5 (1) They can’t be solved through rote application of past experience (2) the problem situation is not clearly specified, (3) the goal state is not clearly specified, (4) there may be different end states (there are multiple potentially viable path to the end state) (Mumford, Baughman & Sager, 2003)
5

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any further training may lead to ‘oversocialization’ in the domain, resulting in a conventional way of thinking. Step 3: Gathering related inform ation. This phase requires constant awareness of the environment, and the absorption of information from a wide range of resources (Sawyer, 2012). In the field of applied creativity, like design thinking, this phase requires a deep understanding of the life context of people, which is commonly referred to as empathy (Brown, 2009). Gathering information is an integral part of creativity as “creative people are better at seeing gaps, at spotting difficulties, at noticing opportunities and flaws.” (Perkins, 1981 p. 285 in Sawyer, 2012). One critical aspect of this phase relates to fixation. Fixation refers to “something that blocks or

impedes the successful completion of various types of cognitive operations, such as those involved in remembering, solving problems, and generating creative ideas (Smith, 2000, p.4)”. Knowledge and
the incorporation of new information in the creative process can lead a person to build implicit assumptions, that has been made without the person being aware that the assumptions has been made (ibid.). Such assumptions can impede creative cognition, and often difficult to ferret out (ibid.). Smith (2000) suggests incubation as a way to clear the mental blocks from fixation, which will be elaborated further below. Step 4: Incubation. To resolve fixation, Weisberg and Alba (1981) suggest a complete restructuring of a problem. Often this is pursued through incubation, “the effects of break and fresh

context” (Smith, 2000, p.20). Incubation is often seen as a mysterious and less-understood aspect
of creativity (Mac Crimmon and Wagner, 1994). The process of incubation is somewhat counterintuitive, in the sense that instead of working on the problem, the merit lies in the time away from the problem (Smith, 2000). It is a part conscious, part unconscious phase of deliberation that is invisible to external observer (Mac Crimmon and Wagner, 1994). Smith (2000) proposes that the merit of incubation lies in the fact that it can avoid fixation issues if the break effect leads to different path of idea generation. Sawyer (2012) also argues that as incubation is mainly an unconscious process, the mind can incubate on many projects at a time, unlike the conscious mind that is often only able to focus on one thing at a time. Hence, while there is still mystery associated with incubation, it is clear that breaks can be valuable in the creative process, especially when it leads to a new path of creative direction. Step 5: Generate Ideas. This phase is often associated with the path to insight, or the process that leads to the “a-ha!” moment (Sawyer, 2012). Creativity, especially in the western model, has been associated with idea generation, hence reflected in the amount of research dedicated to this

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process (see Runco, 2010; Mednick, 1962; Guilford, 1968). Research on this process has often been focused on divergent thinking (Runco, 2010). Mednick (1962), one of the prominent researchers in divergent thinking, argues that idea generation is a matter of associations, that one idea leads to other ideas through the connection between the functions or experimental proximity of those ideas. He further explained that creativity occurs within remote associations, the ideas that are found late in the chain of associations (ibid.). Remote associations, thus, is more likely to be original or novel (Runco, 2010). Fixation has the tendency to block our minds to access the remote associations (Smith, 2000). The Gestaltist belief about creativity argues that our past experiences may lead us to the path of fixation (Sawyer, 2012). However, it is important to note that there are creativity researchers (e.g. Weisberg and Alba (1981)) that suggest that the right kind of prior experience and knowledge could actually ease one’s path to gaining insight. Sawyer (2012, p.114) aimed to marry the conflicting beliefs by suggesting that “creativity is not about rejecting convention and forgetting what you know.” By being aware of our cognitive state, prior experience and knowledge can actually make it easier for us to dissect a problem (ibid.). Step 6: Com bine Ideas. This phase has been referred to as ‘conceptual combinations’ (Ward and Kolomyts, 2010), ‘Synectics’ (Weaver and Prince, 1990), and ‘making connections’ (Mac Crimmon and Wagner, 1994). It is part of a creative process whereby previously separated ideas and concepts are mentally merged (Ward and Kolomyts, 2010). ‘Combination’ can be seen as a process directly relevant to creativity as it can yield to emergent features, instead of just serving as a mere summation of ideas (ibid.). These emergent features are triggered by our mind’s inherent capacity to connect seemingly irrelevant ideas into a set of coherent thought models (Weaver and Prince, 1990). ‘Combination’ can be done through both internal and external associations (Mac Crimmon and Wagner). While internal associations aim to connect elements of the focal problem, external associations connect the focal problem with external, seemingly unrelated factors (ibid.). Mednick (1962) refer to such external connections as remote associations. He argues that it is within these remote associations that creativity occurs (Mednick, 1962). Analogy has been seen as a way to capture remote associations, through the application of structured knowledge from a familiar domain into a novel or less familiar one (Holyoak and Thagard, 1995). The multiconstraint theory of analogy describes a way to process analogy, which is through recognition of similarities in attributes or the underlying (abstract) structure between two events (ibid.). Hence, a valid and useful analogical reasoning involves high causal similarities, and utilize multiple sources of analogies (ibid.). The use of analogy can be purposeful not only in applying
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knowledge of a domain to another, but also to communicate new idea in a concise, understandable way (Ward and Kolomyts, 2010). Step 7: Select Best Ideas. Sawyer (2012) argues that creativity is a product of divergent thinking, while convergent thinking requires more intelligence. However, many researchers (e.g. Sternberg and Lubart, 1995; Runco, 2003) argue that creativity requires both idea generation and critical evaluation abilities. Furthermore, creativity is enhanced by the relationship between convergent and divergent thinking (Runco, 2003; Cropley, 2006). The tendency of many creative practitioners to focus solely on divergent thinking is a challenge to the appropriateness part of creativity, that is, bringing the solution into reality (Cropley, 2006). Hence, knowledge becomes important in divergent thinking (Sawyer, 2012; Cropley, 2006). Knowledge provides criteria and allows for quick evaluation of effectiveness and novelty (ibid.). The domain specific nature of convergent thinking is what may actually deter its relevance to creativity. The lack of knowledge, incorrect information, misunderstanding and the like can lead convergent thinking into a narrow pathway, thus narrowing the range of possibilities produced through divergent thinking, or even blocking it (Cropley, 2006). Step 8: Externalize Ideas. This phase is mostly directed and conscious, and focuses more on bringing the idea into reality (Sawyer, 2012). Many creativity researchers discount this phase from a creative process due to the structured nature of the phase, and they perceive externalization as nothing more than straightforward execution of an idea (ibid.). However, to externalize an idea, one does not have to wait until the idea is fully formed (ibid). Thus, this phase often results in iterations, and, its iterative nature makes externalization happen throughout the creative process (ibid.). Externalization is particularly critical when it comes to evaluating ideas, because it can be challenging to capture insights without sketching the idea (Sawyer, 2012). Externalization of ideas often involves spatial thinking: a creative cognition process that involves formation, inspection, transformation and maintenance of visual stimulus (Matthewson, 1999). Locher (2010), observed the creative process of designers in an automobile company by asking the designers to verbally explain their design process while doing it. He concludes that their creative process is highly salient, with creative ideas emerging throughout the development of the artifacts (Ibid.). It is then important to continually externalize ideas through the means of visualization. Furthermore, visualization of information is useful to envision the relationship between facts, the context and the connection that can make information meaningful (MacCandless, 2009).

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3.1.3 Design Thinking as a Model of Applied Creativity 3.1.3.1$Design$Thinking:$What$and$Why$
The field of design has historically been treated as a downstream step in the innovation process, where the designer’s role is to focus on the beautification of the idea, without playing an initial role in the substantive work of innovation (Brown, 2009). However, designers often deal with complex problems (Utterback, 2010). Buchanan (1992) refers to the complex problems as wicked problems, in where information is incomplete and ill-formulated, decision makers have conflicting values, and with confusing ramification of systems. Hence, design solutions tend to be holistic (Utterback, 2010). It requires the ability to embrace different kinds of knowledge, and most importantly, the ability to integrate them (ibid.). Design thinking emerged as a field drawing from designers’ way of working and applied it into the human context. It is a human-centered innovation process that is driven by designer’s sensibility and methods (Brown, 2008; Lockwood, 2010). A human-centered approach means that design thinking puts its core tenet on thoroughly understanding people wants and needs in their lives (Brown, 2008). An organization that puts its focus on understanding its consumers will do a better job on satisfying their need, which is important to long-term profitability and sustainable growth (Brown, 2009; Fraser, 2009). An important aspect of design thinking is its focus on value creation. As design is essentially about making intent real (Clark and Smith, 2008), in design thinking, designers use their sensibilities and methods to “match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable

business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity” (Brown, 2008, p. 86).
Lockwood (2010) and Brown (2008) refer to design sensibilities and design methods as a distinguishing factor between the act of thinking and doing in the design thinking process. Fulton Suri and Hendrix (2010), argue that an effective design thinking process is a product of design methods and the organization’s ability to cultivate people’s design sensibilities. Hence, for the purpose of the literature review, it may be useful two divide the essence of design thinking into two sets of interlinked variables: mindset and methods. The mindset, as Cross (1982) puts it, is their “way of knowing” – how designers gain knowledge and their cognitive mode on dealing with the nature of their tasks. The mindset is translated into artifacts through the means of ‘doing’. The discipline emphasizes methods used by designers to tap into the holistic nature of the problem, by means of observation; collaboration, fast learning, visualization of ideas, rapid prototyping, and concurrent business analysis (Lockwood, 2010).

3.1.3.2$Design$Thinking$as$Mindset
Design thinking as an approach has received a great deal of attention since the mid 2000s, however,

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toward the end of 2000’s we see some failures in applying design thinking (see 3.1.3.5). Nussbaum (2012) argues that the failure of design thinking is largely attributed to organizations treating the discipline as a mere process, using by-the-book toolbox, performed in a linear manner. However, innovation process requires flexibility in the way of expressing the strategic part of the project, as well as the fine detail of implementation (Fulton Suri and Hendrix, 2010). Designer sensibilities guide the aforementioned process, and thus design thinking entails more than applying methods. We elaborate on the design thinking mindset according to five traits identified in the design thinking literature in Figure 6 :
Emp athy: perceptive awareness of the people and the world surrounding them S pirit of collaboration: working together in the pursuit of complimenting each other’s skills S pirit of exp erimentation: The optimism to explore range of solutions Abd uctive Th in kin g: The ability to switch divergent and convergent mental mode to build synthesis Visu al Th in kin g: The ability to express data into visual representation Figure 6: The Design Thinking Mindset
6

Em pathy: As human-centeredness is part of design thinking’s key tenets, a focus on empathy is needed to build the emotional connection with people (Fulton Suri and Hendrix, 2010). Empathy is the ability to see things from multiple perspectives, and requires an astute awareness of the world and people in general (Fraser, 2009; Brown, 2008). One builds empathy by observing what is visible and articulated, while sensing the latent needs, the needs that are unarticulated by people (Fraser, 2009). Clark and Smith (2008, p.9) argues that empathy requires emotional intelligence, which is

“the ability to understand and embrace in the context of culture that which moves us to act and which creates attachment, commitment, and conviction.”
Spirit of Collaboration: As products, services and experiences become increasingly complex, the spirit of a “one man show”, or working in silos, is no longer sufficient to drive the innovation process (Brown, 2008; Buxton, 2010). As a design thinker, it is essential to have the spirit of open-minded collaboration, where the design team is composed of individuals from diverse backgrounds, working together in an environment receptive to new insights and ideas (Fraser, 2009; Brown, 2008; Buxton, 2010). Buxton (2010) argues that collaboration calls for compromise in a design process. He argues that “Each (stakeholder) has its own legitimate priorities, and these priorities will often come in

conflict with each other (Buxton, 2010, p.149)”. While this remains true in most design processes, an
effective design thinking team is composed of polymaths; individuals who excel in more than one
6 Agreed upon traits and mindset of the design thinker, based on Brown, 2008; Brown, 2009; Fulton Suri and Hendrix, 2010; Fraser, 2009; Clark and Smith, 2008; Lockwood, 2010; Buxton, 2010.

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discipline (Brown, 2008; Nussbaum, 2004). By working in an open interdisciplinary setting, the team can feed off new insights and build upon ideas of others, “embracing the friction that comes with

intense collaboration” (Fraser, 2009, p.64). All skills are essential when it comes to resolving wicked problems, but none are sufficient on its own (Buxton, 2010; Buchanan, 1992).
Spirit of Experim entation: When facing wicked problems, as the solution ground is unknown and there is a need to explore different unchartered territories, it is important for design thinkers to embrace the spirit of experimentation (Buchanan, 1992; Foster; 2009). Brown (2009) defines an effective design-thinking environment to be a social and spatial environment in which people are permitted to take risks; experiment, and explore the full range of their faculties. The critics of iterations and experiments would argue that it takes more time (and capital) to commercialize an idea (Brown, 2008). However, iteration gives space for early failures, allowing team members to explore a range of solutions, and inhibit them from “falling in love” with a specific idea making it difficult to change or kill it (Brown, 2008; Fraser, 2009). Hence, “experiments and iterations are

necessary to keep the cost of failure low, and the rewards of a possible breakthrough high” (Fraser,
2009, p. 64), or in the word of Tim Brown (2009, p.17) “Fail early to succeed sooner.” Abductive Thinking: Several researchers describe the design process as a way to find clarity in the midst of chaos, which is done through organization of complexity (Kolko, 2010). To do this, designers rely not only on analytical process, but also utilizing their skills to sense their surroundings and creating change by exploiting people’s perception of things (Brown, 2008; Fulton Suri and Hendrix, 2010). Brown (2008, p.87) refers to such skills as integrative thinking – “the ability to see

all of the salient – and sometimes contradictory – aspects of a confounding problem and create novel solutions that go beyond and dramatically improve existing alternatives.” Such mode of
thinking can act as an enabler to link diverse consumer needs and business capabilities into a value creation system (Clark and Smith, 2008). Integrative thinking yields to new knowledge based on the collection of insights and patterns, hence requiring a leap of inference (Fraser, 2009). This type of argumentation is commonly known as abduction, which can be thought as the “step of adopting a hypothesis as being suggested by the

facts.. a form of inference (Kolko, 2010, p.19)”. It produces some form of insights, or a new
knowledge that “makes the most sense given observed phenomenon or data and based on prior

experience (Kolko, 2010, p. 20).”
Central to abductive reasoning is synthesis (Kolko, 2010). A synthesis can be defined as an act of making sense of data to create cohesive ideas for information building (Brown, 2009; Kolko, 2010). Without synthesis, data and facts are of little value, as they don’t speak for themselves (Brown,
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2009). However, the synthesis process is often seen as a hidden activity as it operates off-the-map of the whole design process (Kolko, 2010). The insight gathering process is clearly tangible, however, the reflective process is hard to be articulated as it runs within the mind of the designers (ibid.). Designers have tried to articulate synthesis by explaining it through the mode of mental states (Brown, 2009). The logic of deduction has led many people to work in a linear direction – to take series of inputs and build an analysis with the purpose of converging into one solution (ibid.). Convergent thinking allows us to decide between various alternatives, but it does not do a good job in allowing flexibility in exploring new problems and possibilities (ibid.). If convergent thinking leads us to a solution, divergent thinking allows multiplication of options and generation of new possibilities. When dealing with wicked problems, it is important for designers to be able to define, redefine and change the problem along the path of exploration in the design process (Cross, 1982). Hence, to explore the ambiguous road of abductive thinking, one needs to be able to dance between the mental state of convergence and divergence. Visual Thinking: A universally understood part of design involves sketching (God, 1995; Gedenryd, 1998; Suwa & Tversky, 1996 in Buxton, 2010). Cross (1982) argues that designers use “codes” in the form of metaphoric appreciation, to translate abstraction into concrete objects. Regardless of the label, one can conclude that visualization of complex information is an archetypal activity in design. Through visualization, designers accelerate their learning and are able to better connect bits and pieces of information into a coherent structure (Lockwood, 2010; Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010). Design problems often composed of interrelated elements that can only make sense when captured as a whole (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010). Visualization makes such a model tangible and allows for discussions to be brought to life (Brown, 2009; Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010). Hence, the ability to visualize information is central to supporting the designer’s trait of abductive thinking and collaboration. Visualization helps designers to synthesize information as it allows them to capture the big picture and see relationships between elements (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010). At the same time, visualization act as a collective reference point, a shared language that brings different team member’s tacit knowledge into explicit information (ibid.)

3.1.3.3$The$Design$Thinking$Process$
This section explains the problem-solving process commonly undertaken by design thinkers. We can see design thinking process as the derivative of the design thinking mindset; hence it relies heavily on iteration, rapid prototyping, interdisciplinary collaboration, and human immersion (Brown, 2009; Fraser, 2009). It is important to note that design thinking process does not go through the sequence of orderly steps (Brown, 2009). The exploratory notion of design thinking calls for iterative process

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with a system of overlapping spaces (Ibid.). After reviewing methods used by several prominent design thinking practitioners, We believe that Brown (2009) offers a thinking model that can be used as an umbrella to explain various, yet similar, design thinking processes. Inspiration. The earliest phase of design thinking process begins with gathering inspiration motivating the search for solutions (Brown, 2009; HCD Toolkit, 2008; Design Council, 2005). In the inspiration phase, the general mental model is divergent, as there is a need to explore a possible range of design problems. This phase often referred to as the discovery phase, in which designers identify user needs through means of research, observation and user immersion (Design Council, 2005; Brown, 2009). The necessity to immerse into people’s life calls for emphatic design approach, in order to develop a deep understanding of the people’s life context and their needs (Leonard and Rayport, 1997; Lockwood, 2010). Through emphatic design, designers can better capture unarticulated user needs, intangible attributes of the products, and the interaction between the product and the user’s environment (Clark and Smith, 2008; Katz, 2009). Ideation. In this phase, designers utilize the information that they gathered on the inspiration phase to generate, develop and test ideas (Brown, 2009). First, the concrete data gathered during the inspiration phase will be synthesized into a set of design problems, which is commonly the most abstract part of the process as it requires a mode of narrowing down and translating information (HCD Toolkit, 2008). Second, with a well-defined design problem at hand, designers begin to diverge through the means of brainstorming and rapid prototyping (ibid.). Hence, the ideation phase generally calls for interchange between convergent and divergent mental states. Design Council (2005) with its ‘double diamond model’ divides the ideation phase into two stages: define and develop. In the define stage, insights are interpreted and aligned with business objectives, while in the develop stage, design-led solutions are developed and iterated (ibid.). Experimentation through rapid prototyping is important in this phase as it allows idea to be tested early (and cheaply), and allows a healthy dialogue between team members around possible strategies (Fraser, 2009; HCD Toolkit, 2008; Brown, 2009). Im plem entation. The final phase of the design thinking process entails delivering the solutions into the market (Brown, 2009). On this phase, designers are mainly operating on a convergence mental state, as it involves alignment of all the concepts developed throughout the process with business realities (Fraser, 2009). Solutions are realized through profitability modeling, capability assessment, and implementation planning (HCD Toolkit, 2008). Many challenges can emerge in this phase, as good ideas can be halted due to rigid organizational systems or commercial requirements. A summary of design thinking process can be seen in figure 7:
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abstract

concrete Brown, 2009 Double Diamond, 2005 Clark and Smith, 2008 HCD Toolkit, 2008 Inspiration Discover Understand Observe Hear Ideation Develop Define Conceptualize Validate Create Implementation Deliver Implement Deliver

dive r

e

e er nv o c

Figure 7: Summary of The Design Thinking Process

3.1.3.4$Skepticism$of$Design$Thinking$
Design thinking has received a great deal of attention since the mid 2000’s, but with the rise in interest also came the critical voices, and as the buzz of design thinking started taking off, designers increasingly started distancing themselves from it (McCullagh, 2010). The main criticism of design thinking can be divided into three main arguments: (i) design thinking is a pre-wrapped management tool, applied to areas not appropriate for design, and sold as a new ‘snake oil’ by management and design consultants; (ii) design thinking oversimplifies the design process, and makes creativity into little more than process steps; and (iii) design thinking does not lead to radical innovation. The criticism will be elaborated and commented on below. Bruce Nussbaum, one of the early advocates of design thinking declared design thinking a failed experiment on the grounds that in the process of adopting the design thinking process, uncertainty averse companies turned design thinking into a “linear, gated, by-the-book methodology, that

delivered, at the best, incremental change and innovation. The mess, conflict, failure, emotions, and circularity, that characterizes the creative process were in effect shed to appeal to the business culture of process (Nussbaum, 2011).” This argument of design thinking being ‘misapplied’ and
‘mauled’ by business thinking is also found in opinion pieces by writers such as Brian Ling (2010), Walters (2011), and Merholtz (2009). Mulgan (2010) and Raford (2010) argue that design thinking has been oversold, and while being a good tool for designing artifacts, products, and services, it is not necessarily appropriate (at least on its own) for more complex design problems like that of organizational transformation and social transformation. While design thinking perhaps has been oversold, both by design consultants and by businesses looking for the next ‘big thing’, our study does not argue that design thinking is a easily adoptable ‘silver bullet’ for anyone who wants to

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innovate with bio-inspired design, rather we argue that adopting certain elements and mind-sets of design thinking might lead to more creative outcomes. Innovation process requires flexibility in the way of expressing the strategic part of the project, as well as the fine detail of implementation (Fulton Suri and Hendrix, 2010). Designer sensibilities guide the aforementioned process, and thus design thinking entails much more than applying methods. “In order to create value, methods must

be applied together with design sensibilities.” (Fulton Suri & Hendrix, 2010, p.59).
A related criticism pertains to design thinking oversimplifying the creative process, reducing it to simple process steps. While this might be countered by the argument of ‘misapplication’ of the proper design thinking process, Don Normann (2010a) argues that creative thinking has always been around, and one does not need a pre-wrapped process sold by design agencies to have creative outcomes in an organization. Similarly, Dan Saffer (Interaction Design Association, 2012) in his highly entertaining, albeit somewhat tabloid, lecture criticizes design thinking for boiling down the complex and difficult process of design into ‘fun and games’. This thesis will not argue that design thinking is a substitute for professional design, neither that it is a process reserved for design professionals, rather we argue with Moggridge (2010) in saying that the value of design thinking lies in highlighting the elements of the creative process to designers as well as non-designers, and that it is a tool for an interdisciplinary inquiry into a challenge. Don Normann (2013) has since changed his stance and now acknowledges that what is labeled as design thinking, is in essence practiced by all great thinkers in all fields. “Design Thinking turns the often serendipitous nature of creative work into a systematic,

practice defining method of creative innovation (Normann, 2013).”
A third criticism relates to value of the outcome of the process rather than the process itself. Verganti (2009) argue that design thinking does not lead to radical innovation, as its humancentered approach in practice leads the designers to asking what consumers want based on their current circumstances – reinforcing their current needs – rather than proposing new needs and meanings. This view is shared by Normann (2010b), who argues that technological inventions lead the innovation process - that products discovers needs, not designers, and people slowly adopted them. This last point pertains more to the user-centeredness of design thinking. Vincent et al. (2006) has shown that there is only a 12% similarity between biological and technological principles in organisms surveyed, indicating that the source domain for bio-inspired design is in itself a source for disruptive and radical innovation. Thus the discussion on whether human centered innovation leads to radical innovation or not does not necessarily applies in this context. The added empathy from design thinking might serve as making these innovations even more successful in disseminating to the wider society.

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3.1.3.5$Design$Thinking:$Creativity$Applied$
We aim to describe the relationship between organizational creativity theory and its application within the field of design thinking through means of visualization. The visual representation (Figure 8) is one way to suggest the relationship between the key elements of organizational creativity and its practical application through design thinking.

Creative:
h th ro u

Person
Domain-Relevant Skills Creativity Process

Environment
Or anizational Structure Or anizational Culture Acquire Knowled e

Process

Task Motivation

Problem Findin

Generate Ideas

Combine Ideas

Physical Space

Desi n Thinkin :
Empathy Collaboration

Mindset

Experimentation Iteration Abductive Thinkin Visual Thinkin Inspiration Phase: Analysis Observation Ideation Phase:

Methods

Problem Formulation Brainstormin Prototypin Implementation Phase: Synthesis Implementation Plan Interdisciplinary Skills

Support System

Multidisciplinary Team Openness to Failure Desi ner’s Sensibilities Autonomy Space for Play Culture of Optimism Suspend Jud ement

Figure 8: Design Thinking as an Applied Method of Creativity

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Select Ideas

Gather Info

Incubation

Externalization

Ap pl ie

d

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3.2 Literature Review Part 2: Bio-inspired Design
Much of the literature of the bio-inspired design field is technical papers detailing various organisms and their potential for emulation, yet there is a small but growing literature on cognitive studies of bio-inspired design (e.g. Vattam et al, 2010; Mak & Shu, 2004; 2008; Wilson et al, 2010), as well as some works covering the process or methodology of Bio-Inspired Design (e.g. Vincent & Mann, 2002; Wen et al, 2008; Badarnah Kadri, 2012; Trotta, 2011; Helms et al, 2009; Glier et al, 2011; Santulli & Langella, 2010; Sartori et al, 2009; Chakrabarti et al, 2005; Bar-Cohen, 2006). In general, research in and on bio-inspired design falls under two high level categories: (a) methods to support

search, retrieval; and representation of biological phenomena for design, and (b) studies to better understand and therefore support the application of biological analogies to design (Shu et al 2011).

3.2.1 Rising interest in Biological Inspired Design
The scholarly interest in bio-inspired design has expanded rapidly since the mid-1990s (Bonser & Vincent, 2007), and is now approaching a mature field with almost 3000 papers published a year (Lepora et al, 2013). Lepora et al (2013) argue that biomimetics is becoming a leading paradigm for the development of new technologies; technologies that will potentially lead to a significant scientific, societal and economic impact in the near future (ibid). The analysts at Fermanian Business & Economic Institute have reached a similar conclusion, projecting that the field will represent USD 300 billion of annual US GDP by 2025, and correspondingly USD 1 trillion globally (Fermanian Business & Economic Institute, 2010). The Institute has in cooperation with the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research developed the Da Vinci Index. The index is based on annual numbers of scholarly articles published, number of US patents, number of grants awarded, and the dollar value of the grants (Fermanian Business & Economic Institute, 2011). Using the year 2000 as a base year with the index value of 100, the latest reading of quarter 2012 has shown more than a tenfold expansion in the field, with the index reaching 1052 (Fermanian Business & Economic Institute, 2013).

3.2.2 Case Examples
There are not many case examples of commercially successful bio-inspired design-products available, and even fewer detailed accounts of how inspiration from nature was developed into a concept and product (Sartori et al, 2009). We will describe some of the more ‘famous’ examples below. For further examples see Vincent & Mann (2002), Floyd et al (2006), and Shu et al (2011), and for an extensive list of bio-inspired design examples, see Vincent (2006).

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Qualcomm$MEMS$Technologies$
Qualcomm has invented the Mirasol display system based on the way colors are created in butterflies. The color is generated when specific wavelengths are reflected off the surface of the butterfly and are visible to the human eye. The colors are based on the microscopic structure of the butterfly wing; there is no pigment or ink. The display has the advantage of being viewable in sunlight, i.e. there is no glare. Furthermore it uses about one third of the energy of a comparable system with an LCD (Fermanian Business & Economic Institute, 2011, www3). After struggling with popularizing the technology for years, the company recently announced that they are teaming up with electronics company Sharp to create mobile and watch displays.

InterfaceFLOR$
InterfaceFLOR is one of the few case examples available of a company that has pursued a Biomimicry approach. The company has set a goal of achieving a zero environmental footprint by 2020. The solutions inspired by nature are less ‘deep level’ than other biomimetic examples. The flagship i2 carpet line is inspired by the randomness of colors that naturally occurs on the forest floor. The carpet is cheaper to manufacture and install, as each carpet square can be made and installed without taking into consideration whether it fits with the pattern. Furthermore, the carpets are not glued to the floor; rather the company uses the weight of the carpets themselves to keep the carpets in place - another insight reportedly from nature. (www4)

IDEO$and$USGBC$
As a part of the Fast Company Biomimicry Challenge, the design firm IDEO combined their humancentered approach with biomimicry to redesign the organizational structure of the US Green Building Council (www5). The organization was growing, and had grown in to a rigid top-down style organization hindering effectiveness and organizational agility. Based on a two day intensive collaborative session with biologists and designers, IDEO came up with a new organizational structure based on insights from reproductive strategies seen in nature, the role of the forest fungus Mycorrhiza in supporting trees in a bottom-up way; as well as the color- signaling used by for example shrimps. Although the solution was purely conceptual, the case is interesting as it presents an alternative way of doing bio- inspired design wherein solutions from nature are not copied and implemented, but rather serves more as an inspiration for ideation.

The$Eastgate$Centre$
The Eastgate Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe, is the biggest shopping and office building in the country. It has no conventional air-conditioning or heating, and thus uses about 10% of the energy of a conventional building that size. The principle used for cooling and heating is based on the termite mounds found throughout Zimbabwe. The termites farm fungus inside the mounds as their primary

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source of food. The fungus must be kept at exactly 30C, while the outside temperature ranges from 2 to 40 degrees Celsius. The termites achieves a constant 30 degree Celsius by building a series of vents, sucking air in at the lower part of the mound and up to the peak of the mound. The Eastgate Centre achieves a similar function by using the principles of airflow to cool or heat the building (Badarnah Kadri, 2012). It has later been shown that the principles identified were in fact not how termites cool their mounds, and the insights were thus built on erroneous science (Turner & Soar, 2008). This highlights the fact that bio- inspired design is not mimicking nature itself, but rather a human model of how biological systems and entities function (Sartori et al, 2009).

Lotusan$Paint$
The Lotus leaf has an extremely rough and fine structure that barely allows dust and dirt particles to stick to the surface. A German botany professor spent four years developing a coating for buildings that uses the same principle, and makes the building in effect self-cleaning. The coating comes at a price premium of 10-15%, but last twice as long as any comparable coating (Badarnah Kadri, 2012)

Velcro$
One of the most cited examples of bio-inspired design, Velcro was invented by a Swiss engineer, after he noticed how burrs, or seeds, of the burdock plant kept sticking to his dog after a trip to the Alps. Viewing the seeds under a microscope helped the engineer extract the principle of how the burrs attach themselves to loops, which he mimicked in a product using nylon hooks and loops for attachment (Nachtigall, 1974).

The$Humpback$Whale$$
The humpback whale at about 36,000 kg is surprisingly dexterous considering its sheer size and weight. This agility is attributed to the flippers, which have large, irregular looking bumps called tubercles across their leading edges. The principle was uncovered and applied by an American scientist who noticed a statue of a humpback whale while driving through a town. The scientist believed that the creator of the statue had made an error in putting the bumps on the leading edge of the flippers, and inquired within a nearby shop. The realization that the humpback whale in fact has flippers with bumps on the leading edge led the scientist to start exploring the principles behind the tubercles, and later to create the company Whalepower selling the technology extracted from the research. Windmills, propellers and fan blades using the technology has been shown to have up to 32% less drag and 8% rise in lift, making them more quiet and efficient. Similarly, a fan using the technology uses up to 20% less energy than comparable conventional fans. (www6)

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3.2.3 Bio- Inspired Design Methodologies
The cases above demonstrate the variety of the field of bio-inspired design. The InterfaceFLOR and the USGBC cases stands out from the others, as they are not a result of years of research and extraction of biological systems, but rather uses a wider range of examples from biology to inform different parts of a solution. The Mirasol systems and Lotusan Paint cases are examples of the typical biomimetic process as defined above, where principles from biological systems are uncovered through several years of research before they are being taken to the market. The case descriptions make no mention of whether the natural examples were discovered out of serendipity or because they fit with an initial problem. The Velcro and humpback whale cases are examples of the latter, where the principle behind the source biological entity was discovered serendipitously and an application for the technology was found post-discovery. Looking at the reported cases of bioinspired design, it seems that the use of biological systems and entities as design inspiration has often been the result of chance encounters with interesting phenomena (Mak and Shu, 2008). Furthermore, detailed accounts of the transfer process from nature to the human domain are a rare find among the cases found on the Internet and in the literature (Sartori et al, 2009). Despite the growing popularity of bio-inspired design, as a discourse it is still growing and there does not seem to be a universally agreed upon normative process for the practice of bio-inspired design (Helms et al, 2009, Vattam et al, 2010). The practice of bio-inspired design is rather characterized by an ad-hoc approach, with little systematization of either biological knowledge for the purposes of design or the process of transferring knowledge of biological designs to human problems (Vattam et al, 2009). Both practitioners and academics have sought to formulate a framework for bio-inspired design, spanning from single tools to be used in the solution finding process (Vincent et al, 2006) to approaches that offer a complete process for bio-inspired design (Chakrabarti et al, 2005, Helms et al, 2009, Sartori et al, 2009 Badarnah-Kadri, 2012, Biomimicry 3.8). Some of the approaches will be described later in this section.

ProblemRbased$vs.$solutionRbased$
The source biological system or entity can be found through an extensive informed search for a solution to a predetermined human problem. Alternatively, the principles of a biological system or entity can be uncovered first, and then a search for appropriate problems is performed. The former approach of an inspiration in nature leading to a technological design is referred to in the literature under various terminologies; a bottom up design process (Speck and Speck, 2008), Biology to Design (Baumeister, 2012) and a solution-based design process (Vattam et al, 2007). Reversely, the approach of seeking a solution from nature to a particular problem is referred to as; top-down (Speck and Speck, 2008), Challenge to Biology (Baumeister, 2012) and problem-based (Vattam, 2007). This current work uses the terms problem-based and solution-based.

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3.2.4 Selected Bio-Inspired Design Methodologies Biomimicry$3.8$
Biomimicry 3.8 was founded in 1998 under the name of Biomimicry Guild to consult organizations on how to use biological phenomena to inspire problem solving (Badarnah Kadri, 2012). The organization is an umbrella for the Biomimicry Guild, the Biomimicry Institute promoting study and research on biomimicry and sustainability; the AskNature.org online database of nature’s solutions; as well as the biomimicry certification program (www7). Biomimicry builds on the biomimicry

framework formulated by the biologist and author Janine Benyus, with biomimicry defined as learning from and then emulating natural forms, processes, and ecosystems to create more sustainable designs (Benyus, 1997). Biomimicry differs from other approaches in the discipline with
their weight on developing sustainable solutions. Concepts and solutions are validated against a set of principles called Life’s principles, which are identified design principles found in nature. The Biomimicry Design Lens is the design methodology taught and practiced by the biomimicry professionals. The methodology approaches the problem by identifying functions, asking, “what do I want my design to achieve” rather than “what do I want to design” (Badarnah Kadri, 2012). The identified functions and accompanying verbs from the problem statement are used to identify appropriate solutions in nature using online databases (ibid). The method is iterative, and has four phases. In the Scoping phase one seeks to identify or uncover the problem, looking at context, criteria and constraints. In the Discovery phase one goes out in nature physically or metaphorically, consulting the biology literature, using databases, and collaborating with biologists. Sketching, brainstorming and idea exploration takes place in the Creating stage, while the Evaluation phase is used to determine if the initial goals were met, as well as testing the feasibility and gathering and incorporating feedback (Biomimicry 3.8). Depending on the type of project, there is no predetermined starting point for the process (Biomimicry 3.8). One can start from the discovering phase when encountered with a natural example, and move to scoping to define the context relevant to a human-centered problem. It is also quite common to see one start from the scoping phase, if one starts with a human-centered problem, which intended solution is inspired by nature. Biomimicry 3.8 claims to differ from the other approaches in bio-inspired design, as well as sustainable design, in their focus on the core elements of ‘emulate’, ‘ethos’ and ‘reconnect’ (Biomimicry 3.8, 2013). ‘Emulation’ refers to solving problems through bio-inspiration, thus minimizing the human impact on nature (ibid). ‘Ethos’ is the underlying philosophy of biomimicry, the respect, gratitude, and responsibility for nature and other species on earth (ibid). Finally, ‘reconnect’ is the practice and mindset exploring the relationship between humans and the rest of nature (ibid). Activities involving ‘reconnect’ include basic observation, looking for patterns, tracking change over time in a natural system, and translating a natural phenomenon observed using technical language

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(ibid).

Figure 9 Biomimicry Core Elements & The Design Lens

Center$for$Biologically$Inspired$Design,$Georgia$Institute$of$Technology$$
Goel, Vattam and Helms at the Center for Biologically Inspired Design at Georgia Institute of Technology leads a team of biologists, engineers and computer scientists seeking to develop human-centered computational tools to enhance innovation and creativity in bio-inspired design (www8). The researchers conduct research on cognitive processes in bio- inspired design, with a focus on analogical reasoning (Helms et al, 2009). Observing the participants in a senior-level interdisciplinary bio-inspired design course at Georgia Tech, the researchers aims at understanding the various motivations of the design process, for the purpose of effective strategies development for biologically inspired designs (Badarnah Kadri, 2012, Helms et al, 2009, Helms & Goel, 2012). Based on the observations of the process in the course, the researchers have outlined a general descriptive methodology of bio-inspired design, partly based on the Biomimicry Design Lens described above (Badarnah Kadri, 2012). In addition to analyzing and describing the process, the project team has also developed an interactive knowledge database supporting the bio-inspired design process, called DANE (Design by Analogy to Nature) (Vattam et al, 2011, www9).

Biomimetics$for$Innovation$and$Design$Laboratory,$University$of$Toronto$
A similar research interest to that of Goel, Vattam and Helms, Shu is doing research for the ‘Biomimetics for Innovation and Design Laboratory’ at the University of Toronto. His work focuses on creativity in conceptual design and systematic identification and application of biological analogies in bio-inspired design (www10). Shu, together with Vakili (2001) propose a strategy for biomimetic concept generation, detailing search strategies and principles, as well as selection criteria

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(Vakili & Shu, 2001). Building on, in part, the research of Goel, Vattam and Helms, Shu has also conducted cognitive studies on the use of biological analogies for concept generation (Mak & Shu, 2008). Building on his research findings, Shu has participated in developing a database, BioMAPS, that uses a natural language model to identify “bridge verbs” to connect biology and engineering lexicons leading to relevant biological phenomena (Cheong & Shu, 2012; Shu, 2010).

Figure 10: BioMAPS Search Engine

3.2.5 A Generic Bio- inspired design methodology
Sartori et al. (2009) analyzed and summarized the process descriptions of Gramman (2004), Hill (1997, 2005), Helms et al. (2009), and Schild et al. (2004), and formulated the following generic process steps of problem based bio-inspired design: 1. Formulate problem and search objectives 2. Search for biological analogies 3. Analyze biological analogies 4. Transfer The design process encompasses three domains: the initial problem domain, the nature domain where natural phenomena are identified and analyzed, and finally the solution domain where principles of natural phenomena are transferred into the human domain. In the literature, the human domain is usually engineering. The process of Goel, Vattam and Helms; Shu, and Biomimicry 3.8 described earlier in this section, all have similar initial phases: that of the problem formulation (Badarnah Kadri, 2012). Biomimicry 3.8 differs by including the Life’s principles as initial constraints for their problem formulation. Essential in the problem phase is the extraction of functions from the initial problem or challenge (ibid). The abstraction of principles is performed by identifying verbs in Shu (2010), or ‘biologizing’ or reframing

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the question in terms of biology in Biomimicry 3.8 and Goel, Vattam and Helms (Helms et al, 2009). Based on the principles formulated in the initial phase, one starts looking for potential natural phenomenon to be applied in the design process. The framework proposed in Shu (2010) uses the BioMaps natural language database to find appropriate natural phenomenon in the exploration phase. Biomimicry 3.8 and Goel, Vattam and Helms rely on a mix of using biological databases (such as AskNature.org and DANE) and inquiring biologists. Biomimicry 3.8 also encourages participants in the process to immerse themselves physically in nature, reconnecting with nature, for inspiration both at the exploration and the later ideation stage (Biomimicry 3.8). The analogies identified in the exploration stage are further assessed by extracting, or abstracting,

the working principles of the biological analogy. Goel, Vattam and Helms classify the information
gathered using their structure- behavior- function (SBF) schema (Goel et al, 2009), while Biomimicry 3.8 uses the biomimicry taxonomy of nature’s functions, strategies and groups (Biomimicry 3.8). The principles sourced from biological analogies are used for concept generation or emulation. There does not seem to be much emphasis on this phase in the literature we covered: most studies tend to focus on the phases of searching for biological analogies and the following principle extraction (e.g. Vincent, 2006, Shu, 2010, Vattam et al, 2011). Biomimicry 3.8 (2013) and Goel et al., (2009) suggest brainstorming and sketching in their framework, but does not detail it further. Much of the cognitive processes behind the concept generations, apart from those concerning the identification of, and abstraction from, biological analogies, are rarely covered in the literature. Based on Badarnah Kadri (2012) we divide the process into three domains, with two transitions from the problem domain to the nature domain, and from the nature domain to the solution domain. These transitions are again divided into the four subdivisions of abstraction, exploration and investigation, classification; and design concept (see figure 11). The model is thus a model of bioinspired design concept generation, as it does not cover the implementation of the concepts.

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Figure 11: Summary of The Bio-Inspired Design Process

3.2.6 Multidisciplinarity in the Bio-Inspired Design Approach
Bio- inspired design translates and transfers principles from the nature domain to the human domain. Therefore the designer(s) need a clear understanding of the function the natural structure is designed to perform, as well as the technological system they are designing for (Santulli & Langella, 2010). Thus it is argued that bio- inspired design both is, and should be a multidisciplinary discipline (Speck & Speck, 2008; Schild et al, 2004; Santulli & Langella, 2010). Schmidt (2005) argues that the process of bio-inspired design is not a unidirectional transfer of knowledge, but rather an interdisciplinary circulation of knowledge between domains. Thus, bioinspired design does not start from biology or engineering, but rather an undefined core, for example the communication between a biologist and an engineer (Sartori et al, 2009). Biology knowledge is needed to access and analyze models of nature, while knowledge of the target domain is needed for a successful adaption into a model of a technological system. Consequently, there is a challenge of accessibility of knowledge for the designers. As seen above, it has been argued that this can be addressed with a multidisciplinary approach, with the designers either acquiring the knowledge of the source or target domain themselves, or working in teams with participants from different disciplines. For the latter approach, a common language of bio- inspired design is needed, as there is an issue of the disciplines having different languages and worldviews. Using a biologist as a knowledge source for the source domain of nature may not be ideal, as biologists (as any other experts) might have a narrow field of expertise (Shu et al, 2011). Biologist might also be biased towards his/her own field of expertise, risking more appropriate source phenomena being left unexplored (ibid). A response to this issue has been for several researchers to develop databases of natural phenomena and their functions for designers to consult (e.g. Shu, 2010;

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Vincent et al, 2006; Vattam et al, 2011), and thus sidestepping the need for a biologist in the design process. One of the main disadvantages with such an approach is that the search results are limited to what is entered into the database, and thus some base knowledge of how biological entities function is still needed (Schild et al, 2004; Shu et al, 2011; Santulli & Langella, 2010). Furthermore the databases are limited by the time and effort required to add descriptions and explanations of biological phenomena to the database (Glier et al, 2011). The databases aid the designers in the abstraction process, but offer little assistance in the rest of the transfer process, that is, putting the developed analogy to be emulated in a solution. While it has been argued that bio-inspired design should be a multidisciplinary approach, very little has been written on how this ‘multidisciplinarity’ should be approached, less the authors proposing a database approach. Biomimicry 3.8 uses “biologists at the design table” in addition to using online knowledge repositories, but has not published anything on why one should use biologists or how they should be incorporated into the process.

3.2.7 The Use of Analogies in Bio-inspired Design
Analogies are created when knowledge is mapped from a source domain to a target domain (Mak & Shu, 2008) and is defined as “a statement about how objects, persons, or situations are similar in

process or relationship to one another” (VanGundy, 1981 in Schild et al, 2004, p. 3). As seen earlier
in the creativity literature review, it is a fundamental process of creativity (Vattam et al, 2009, Mak & Shu 2004), and one of the main drivers of innovation (Schild et al, 2004; Wilson & Rosen, 2009). Furthermore, the distance between the domains that the analogy is based on has also been argued to be positively correlated with levels of creativity (Dahl & Moreau, 2002) as well as increasing the probability of achieving breakthrough innovation (Schild et al, 2004). Bio- inspired design has been described as the process of using analogies to biological systems to develop innovative solutions for engineering problems (Vincent & Mann, 2002), where biology is the source domain and engineering is the target domain. Biology is considered a distant domain from engineering, as the two domains are conceptually and structurally different (Mak & Shu 2008). While most of the literature refers to the target domain as engineering, the same arguments can easily be applied to other human domains as well. As the analogies of bio-inspired design are distant, the solutions of the source problems cannot be transferred directly, rather it has to go through a translating and abstraction process. The level of abstraction needed for the transfer of far analogies increases the cognitive effort needed in the bio-inspired design process, as both the target problem and source solution has to be abstracted to a functional level (Wilson & Rosen, 2009; Shu et al, 2011). Mak & Shu (2004) show that most successful analogical transfers happen at higher

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abstraction levels; that is analogies based on the working principles of biological entities, rather than its form or behavior. Mak & Shu (2008) argue that concepts based on the strategy and principles of the source entity are less likely to lead to design fixation on specific forms or behaviors. Similarly, analogies created from am biguous descriptions of source entities tend to be less fixating (Benami & Jin, 2002, in Mak & Shu, 2008) and stimulate more ideas among the practitioners (Mak & Shu, 2008). Mak & Shu (2008) thus indicate that ambiguous descriptions, in other words, descriptions containing little biological information, lead to more creative solutions, while more non-ambiguous descriptions of source entities lead to more practical (or feasible) solutions, but run the risk of leading to design fixation. While the transfer is hard enough even when the analogy between a solution to the source problem and the target problem has been found, the distance between domains also makes the search for appropriate organisms complex and difficult. A major block to the successful use of an analogy is the failure to spontaneously recognize its relevance to the target problem (Holyoak, 1980, in Wilson & Rosen, 2009), as evaluating the relevance of analogies across domains is a more complex process than evaluating the relevance of matches to specific information sought (Shu et al, 2011). As seen earlier in section 3.2.4, several research-groups have created databases of biological examples to facilitate the search for relevant biological phenomenon and to lessen the need for intimate biological knowledge in the bio- inspired design process. Schild et al (2004) points out that the relevance of the search outcome in a database is very much limited to what one enters into the database, and thus a search strategy involving databases requires a specific understanding of both the target problem and source solution in order to be able to properly evaluate the search results. Schild et al (2004) argue that working in interdisciplinary teams, having a culture of information sharing, and regularly consulting lead users in different fields, is a better way to address the distance in domains when working with analogies.

3.2.7 Observed challenges to the Bio-inspired Design process
When developing concepts based on biological phenomena, a range of cognitive difficulties and errors might occur in the process. Helms et al (2009) and Mak & Shu (2004) follows students participating in problem-based bio- inspired design projects and sums up a the most common errors made. Shu et al (2011) identifies four types of similarities between biological phenomena and the final concepts, three of which being labeled as erroneous in a bio- inspired design setting (see figure 12): 1) Literal im plem entation of a biological phenomenon: Using biological entities directly to

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solve a problem, not abstracting the functional principles of the entity and transferring the strategy (Shu et al, 2011). Helms et al (2009) labels these as “off-the-shelf” biological solutions. 2) Biological Transfer: Transferring the biological entities themselves into the solution, for example using bacteria to clean clothes instead of mimicking and adapting the way bacteria cleans the clothes (Shu et al, 2011). Related to this is Helms et al’s (2009) identified problem of improper analogical transfer where one transfers functions that are critical to the source biological phenomenon, but not necessarily relevant to the problem. 3) Anom aly (Shu et al, 2011) or misapplied analogy (Helms et al 2009): Solutions where the concept cannot be traced back to the original biological phenomenon, likely due to a lack of understanding of the phenomenon or a fixation on a few words in a description of the phenomenon while disregarding the overall strategy presented. While it is an error in the sense that the final solution is not mimicking the functions or strategy of a biological phenomenon, the anomalous concept may very well still be novel and useful - the biological phenomena having served as cognitive stimulation in the concept generation process (Wilson & Rosen, 2009). 4) Analogy: The application of functions and/or the strategy from the biological phenomenon to the concept without transferring the biological entities, making the final solution an analogy to the source biological solution (Shu et al, 2011). The abstraction of knowledge, and the following biomimetic transfer of the knowledge through the use of an analogy, is argued to be the core of the bio-inspired design process (Sartori et al, 2009) Other common difficulties identified by Helms et al (2009) are: (i) problems being defined too vaguely to limit the search space and for appropriate functional modeling of the problem, (ii) oversimplification of complex functions; and (iii) simplification of optimization problems, fixating on a single biological function instead of looking at complex and competing biological functions in biological entities. These findings are closely related to the findings of Santulli & Langella (2010). Furthermore, participants often fixate on the first biological phenomenon identified, and thus fail to consider other possible more appropriate phenomena (ibid; Mak & Shu, 2004; 2008). Helms et al (2009) note that participants tend to prefer the initial phenomena when comparing the phenomena to subsequent ones, and showed that out of nine project teams in the study, only one team replaced their initial phenomenon with another during the process. Exposure to case solutions by instructors during initial lectures of bio- inspired design has also been shown to have a fixation effect on the participants (ibid). Cheong & Shu (2013) showed that for a sample of 96 concepts developed by final-year engineering students, 43% of the concepts exhibited some form of fixation. For a specific task where the students were asked to develop concepts based on a description of a biological phenomena handed to them, 30% of the concepts demonstrated ‘correct’ analogical transfer, while

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anomalies (or misapplied analogies in Helms et al, 2009) accounted for 21% of the concepts (Cheong & Shu, 2013).

Mak and Shu, 2004 Helms et al, 2009 Literal LiteralImplementation Implementation
Use bacteria to fill pores of clothes to prevent dirt settlin “O -the-shelf” biolo ical solutions

Analo y
Develop material to fill pores of clothes to prevent dirt settlin

Strate ic Accuracy

Biolo ical Transfer
Use bacteria to eat dirt

Anomaly
Develop material that reacts with air to decompose dirt Misapplied analo y

Improper analo ical transfer

Abstraction of biolo ical entities
Figure 12: Type of similarities between biological phenomena and developed concepts, based on figure in Mak & Shu (2004)

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section 4

analysis part 1
identifying challenges in bio-inspired design through the understanding of creativity

This section aims to explain the bio-inspired design process through the lens of creativity. Furthermore, this section intends to answer sub-question 1: “How does the understanding of

organizational creativity aid the identification of the challenges currently faced by bio-inspired design?”
We believe that in deconstructing the elements of bio-inspired design using a creativity framework, we can contribute to a better understanding of bio-inspired design. Furthermore, by looking at bioinspired design from the angle of creativity, we can observe the role of creativity in the process. The understanding of creativity in a macro-orientational framework, as elaborated earlier in the literature review, provides an understanding of not only the process, but also the environmental, individual and cognitive factors surrounding the creative production process. Thus, we argue that the understanding of creativity leads to a better understanding of the elements and working process required in bio-inspired design. One of our respondents highlighted the importance of creativity in bio-inspired design:
“Bio-Inspired Design suffers from huge expectations. That introducing nature will instantly, automatically and quickly transforms the thinking. It is actually a very difficult process to go beyond literal interpretation or to integrate process and systems level thinking beyond basic form. Creativity is deeply required to make the framework for that initial change possible.” (Appendix 2, par. 7)

The complexity of the systems and the analogical nature of bio-inspired design has led various researchers to observe bio-inspired design from the point of view of creativity (see literature review). Creativity as a point of departure is likely to be chosen because of the importance of analogical reasoning in the bio-inspired design framework (see Vattam et. al 2010; Mak & Shu 2008). In addition, Vattam et al (2010) argue that the practice of bio-inspired design is largely ad-hoc, with little systemization of the transfer process from biological example to engineering problems (incontext of the research). Thus, there is a need to transform the paradigm of bio-inspired design into a set of principled methodology (ibid.). Such belief has led several of the creativity researchers in bioinspired design to focus on recommendations to minimize the challenges in the transfer process through the use of a principled methodology. While we believe that the construction of a principled methodology has significant merit to address the challenges in the transfer process within bio-inspired design, a principled methodology in itself may not fully address the whole spectrum of challenges faced by bio-inspired design. Just like any other design process, the methodology has to be supported by the understanding of the mindset and

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tacit knowledge involved. One of our respondents elaborate the importance of the understanding of mental models used in a creative process as a prerequisite to applying bio-inspired design:
“Humans cannot directly emulate nature. Our materials and processes are not advanced enough. There has to be some level of abstraction and synthesis of the research in order to make an application possible.” (Appendix 2,
par.9)

A well-built principled methodology can help address the search for biological analogies, but may still face a challenge in translating the analogies into a set of relevant, feasible outcomes. In addition, creativity involves more than analogical thinking. It may serve as a framework for the understanding of how people produce original and useful solutions. Thus, by observing the interplay between creativity and bio-inspired design, we can identify the prerequisites that have to be in place in order for bio-inspired design to generate creative outcomes. This section aim to elaborate on the interlink by looking at bio-inspired design from a two-fold perspective:

creative performance in BID

bio-inspired desi n process

role of creativity in BID
creative process in BID

or anizational creativity

Figure 13: Perspectives on Creativity in Bio-inspired Design (BID)

The first perspective deconstructs the bio-inspired design paradigm using the framework of organizational creativity. It is an abstract level analysis that aims to capture and organize the various elements of bio-inspired design, by integrating it into the organizational creativity framework. The second perspective synthesizes the findings gathered from applying the first perspective. The analysis elaborates on the role of creativity in bio-inspired design, and on how creativity can emerge through bio-inspired design .
7

7

The notion of “in and through” as a expression of the dual-role of bio-inspired design in fostering creativity is originally coined by Vattam, et al (2010).

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To summarize this section of analysis, we describe how the understanding of creativity can better identify the challenges that are faced by bio-inspired design in relation to generating original and useful solutions. We are using the identified challenges as a bridge to the subsequent section of the analysis, which is aimed at outlining how design thinking can help addressing the aforementioned challenges.

4.1 Bio-Inspired Design from the Context of Organizational Creativity
To obtain a holistic understanding of the paradigm of bio-inspired design, there is a need to explain the approach through a framework that includes a review of not only on the methodology, but also other important elements surrounding bio-inspired design. Just like any other design discipline, a bioinspired design approach requires more than the understanding of the process. As elaborated in the creativity literature review, the organizational creativity serves as a framework that explains creativity from a systems level. The framework recognizes different factors that influence creativity, and observe how the interaction between those factors can hinder or foster creativity in an organization. This section observes bio-inspired design from an individual, process, and environment point of view. Specifically, we are looking at (1) the individual and environmental elements influencing the creative

performance in bio-inspired design; and (2) the process of bio-inspired design observed through the creative process perspective.
4.1.2 The Creative Perform ance The study of the elements within an individual that influences the practice of bio-inspired design is rare. These elements within individuals are not restricted to only way of thinking (e.g. the way we approach problems), but also other factors like expertise and motivation (Amabile, 1998). In a specialized discipline like bio-inspired design, the understanding of the range of skills needed in exercising the approach is of importance. The quality of the outcome in such a specialized discipline is influenced by the expertise of the individuals responsible for the task. In addition, as bio-inspired design approach spans different domains, the discipline faces challenges in motivating individuals to familiarize themselves with new fields.

Bio-inspired Design and Domain Relevancy
Amabile (2012, p. 2) argues that creative production is dependent on the individual’s ability to

“combine the elements of their skills to create possible combinations of responses or use their expertise against which the individual will judge the viability of response possibilities.” Thus, it is
important to first understand what skills are needed in applying bio-inspired design. The understanding of biology has been argued to be a crucial skill in bio-inspired design. However, the extent of biology needed in bio-inspired design depends highly on the context of the approach.

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Based on our findings, we argue that the perception of biology skills being synonymous with bioinspired design often intimidates individuals who have no background in biology.
“If you take business, engineers or designers working in world of nature - that’s all unknown. People shut down and have terrible responses …so for example if you put an engineer in front of plant and ask them to learn about system or structural design of the plant, they will stand there frozen having no clue what to do …engineers feel stupid when they ask about biology, they don't want to feel stupid.” (Appendix 4, par. 39)

The perception that bio-inspired design requires an individual to have some expertise in biology may hinder the growth of the discipline, especially in industries that does not require extensive technical knowledge. As we observe in the example of IDEO USGBC case, it is useful to have biologists around in the process. The case demonstrates how the interplay between biology and other skills can generate a more powerful outcome in bio-inspired design. Tim McGee, a biologist involved in the IDEO USGBC case, described the merit of such interplay:
That experience forged for me the key idea that it is the partnership between a biologist and a designer that enables biomimicry success in the world. I mean this in the most general way. A biologist can be anyone who looks to living systems as a measure, model, or mentor. A designer is anyone who has the craft of creation. Both of these can live within just one person (as Leonardo da Vinci) or they can exist in a creative team of the 8+ individuals that I found at IDEO in Cambridge. And maybe, by considering the broader context of life, the resulting creations, relationships, systems, and processes will reflect the wisdom found in 3.8 billion years of evolution. (McGee, Eco-Interface Blog)

Hence, despite informed by biology, the bio-inspired approach requires multidisciplinary understanding. As elaborated by one of our respondent:
“It (biomimicry) cannot stand alone. But oddly enough…there has been a lot of people who have said that biomimicry can just be a standalone discipline. It just doesn't work that way. Even design thinking is multidisciplinary.” (Appendix 3, par. 18)

We can justify the multi-disciplinary nature of bio-inspired design, as the discipline requires a multitude of skills in order for a concept to be commercialized. Biologist may play a role in transferring biological examples into the context of the problem, as well as decoding the functional parts of the natural phenomena. In addition, engineers and designers play a crucial role, as they are the one who assess the feasibility and translate the biological analogy into the final solution. In summary, the journey from concept to commercialization requires different skills to be tied up together. The interplay between technical domains in bio-inspired design is not without challenges. It is a dilemma to combine the rigidity of science and the flexibility of design. Specifically, the mode of

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reasoning of science and that of design, two professional domains involved in applying bio-inspired design. As argued by Gregory (1966; in Cross (2007, p. 24), “the scientific method is a pattern of

problem-solving behavior employed in finding out the nature of what exists, whereas the design method is a pattern of behavior employed in inventing things of value which do not yet exist. Science is analytic; design is constructive.” In essence, a key skill that is largely nurtured within the design
discipline is abstraction, or the ability to see beyond the literal concept of the observed object. Sometimes, scientists have difficulty in applying such abstraction, as suggested by one of our respondent:
“The ability to abstract is crucial to any bio-inspiration. Designers get in trouble from scientists for "breaking" the research - i.e. exceeding the limits of the original natural model …I just had a conversation …about the difficulty of biologists remaining on the project while the engineer is developing an idea. The biologist, valued for their specialty, gets uncomfortable when a peripheral topic is being discussed …they are unwilling to explore the interstitial spaces outside of their research.” (Appendix 2, par. 3)

Furthermore, science has predominantly been about specialized expertise in a specific domain. Amabile (1988) argues that a specific knowledge in a certain domain enhances creative production, as one obtain more expertise about the domain. However, such specialized skills may also have a detrimental effect on creativity, especially when it alters one’s ability to look at a more holistic picture. Wickelgren (1979) argues that the more specific a concept or proposition is, the less capacity we will have available to learn general principles and questions that crosscut different areas and perspectives. In light of this argument, we argue that to better support creativity in a bio-inspired design setting, there has to be a way to find the right balance between the designer’s and the scientist’s mode of reasoning. Both the deep expertise valued in science and the innate ability to abstract in design can contribute to a better creative production within bio-inspired design.

Bio-inspired Design and Task Motivation
Creativity is most likely to appear conditions of intrinsic motivation – a motivational state generated by the individual reaction to intrinsic properties of the task, and not generated by the extrinsic factors (Amabile, 1988). In this part of the analysis we elaborate the motivational factors that drive people to immerse themselves into bio-inspired design. In relation to creative performance, we aim to elaborate practices that may encourage intrinsic motivation, drawing from the experiences of our respondents in facilitating bio-inspired design projects. It is common for practitioners in bio-inspired design, particularly within biomimicry, to have a strong interest sustainability issues. Many bio-inspired solutions emulate nature in a way that promotes sustainability (e.g. the cradle-to-cradle approach on waste management and the Biomimicry 3.8 focus on ‘ethos’ and ‘re-connect’). The founder of biomimicry, Janine Benyus, believes that

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technology inspired by nature can be used for good or bad purposes (Benyus, 2009). She uses the example of the airplane, which was inspired by the bird flight, used for destruction in wars within a mere eleven years subsequent to its invention (ibid.). Two of the essential elements of biomimicry, ‘ethos’ and ‘re-connect’, ensure that solutions from the biomimicry approach “fit in” on earth. With the growing prominence of biomimicry within the bio-inspired design, we can infer that many bioinspired design practitioners are motivated by the sustainable outcome of the approach. While sustainability can be an apparent intrinsic motivational factor that encourages people to practice bio-inspired design, it is not always the case. Especially in the context of established corporations, sustainability is often a net cost, and “selling” bio-inspired design on sustainability alone may not be an element of motivation.
“Right now, everything that has to do with sustainability for businesses is a burden. You can get some extra marketing out of it, maybe you can save some money. But basically, most of the projects and programs around sustainability are a net cost to the business. If you are interested in coming up with a high-tech innovation, the nature and sustainability part wouldn't do unless you had a really good reason to do it …But if you do it as an add-on at the end it certainly is a net cost.” (Appendix 4, par. 19)

If sustainability alone is not enough to ensure intrinsic motivation, then there has to be other mechanisms in place to better encourage creativity in the process. Koestler (1964), Rogers (1954), and Crutchfield (1962) in Amabile (1988) argued that creativity is generated under the condition of freedom of control, and that self-perception of personal freedom is necessary for creative thought and expression. Thus, the ability of an individual to exercise control over their actions is a factor that can support motivation. In the context of bio-inspired design, such “perception of control” is even more prevalent, as a big part of bio-inspired design is about diving into the unknown world. Some suffer from lack of motivation because they have little or no knowledge of biology, as well as the experience in applying bio-inspired design. Amabile (1988) argues that the presence or absence of extrinsic constraints, the factors that are intended to control or could be perceived as controlling individual’s performance on the task in a particular instance, largely impact motivation. Thus, a possible way to minimize extrinsic constraints as a result of unfamiliarity is through, simply put, making the unfamiliar, familiar.
“Creativity and innovation is in the area of the unknown. So, part of it is making people help make it feel like known. So a lot of activities we do focus on comfort, familiarity, and sense of wonderment. So they go away and suddenly find themselves able to do the things they can't do before. So for example if you put an engineer in front of plant and ask them to earn about system or structural design of the plant, they will stand there frozen having no clue what to do. But if you say, ok, I want you to try and describe, pretend like this is an engineered product from a

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competitor, and they have made it look like a plant. I want you to reverse engineer the structural system, the water system, and then oh! I know structural system. Suddenly you put it in a world of a known, and that very same person five minutes later can ask biological question that 5 minutes before they couldn't.” (Appendix 4, par. 39)

Thus, engagement is key to bringing intrinsic motivation to life, especially in the context of creating familiarity in a new domain. Another way to foster the perception of freedom is through the establishment of ownership. Our respondents agree on the importance of ownership, and a part of the initial exercise in a bio-inspired design project often involves the establishment of ownership.
“I asked the design team to go to nature and find one example of something that resonated with them … That engaged the team in a process of thinking about what those were, rather than just presenting something to them the next day. So I think there was something critical about getting the team engaged in coming up with the actual organism themselves, even in a playful way.. I think that was a really important part to get a group to be part of the process. There are other times where I have not done that and just come in to a group and present it, it kind of falls flat and sort of go.. that amazing.. but.. how do we use that?” (Appendix 1, par. 27)

4.1.3 The Creative Process A review on bio-inspired design process usually involves an observation of different methodologies of bio-inspired design (e.g. Sartori et al, 2009; Badarnah Kadri, 2012). It follows a sequence of steps that describe the activities undertaken from recognition of problem to the emulation of natural principles. As elaborated in the literature review, a review of methodology is useful to outline a generalization of different frameworks of bio-inspired design. However, just like the understanding of other design approaches, a methodology on its own is arguably not enough to explain the complexity and the depth of the discourse. The elaboration of the creative process, as explained by Sawyer (2012), describes the sequence of stages of not only activities that leads to generation of creative solutions, but also the mental models involved. These mental models encompass identifiable cognitive principles that have been known to influence creativity. Thus, a review of bio-inspired design, using a creative process perspective, may explain the process in terms of both methodology and the associated mental models.

Problem Finding
Bio-inspired design methods to problem solving are essentially shaped by two main approaches; problem-based and solution-based. Some of the examples of bio-inspired design presented in the literature review (e.g. Velcro and the humpback whale) are examples of a solution-based approach. Practitioners are described as discovering natural phenomena, often serendipitously, with principles he/she believes can be translated into solving human problems. Many of the examples of bioinspired design are skewed more towards a solution-based approach; hence, it may leave some

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wondering on how to apply bio-inspired design in a problem-based setting. When bio-inspired design is exercised as part of a larger design space, it is quite likely that the approach contributes in addressing a predetermined problem. In addition, as most creativity occurs when people are working on an ill-defined problem (Sawyer, 2012), we can argue that creativity plays a key role in a problem-based bio-inspired design approach. Thus, we can turn to the problem formulation stage in the creative process to describe the pattern of problem finding in bio-inspired design. In a problem-based approach of bio-inspired design, the problem finding poses a challenge as the process involves a two-tiered approach. First, just like any other design discipline, the initial step is directed at discovering the root of the problem. Second, the problem has to be translated in to a biological language in order to assist the search of natural model. The two-tiered model of problem finding is not something that all bio-inspired design practitioners agreed upon. Many tend to directly “biologize” a problem. This means that there is a tendency to directly formulate the problem in biological language without taking a closer look on what the real problem is. Such a practice is prone to hindering the effectiveness of bio-inspired design in a number of ways. Jumping straight to biological questions can hinder integrative thinking, which is essential in the abstraction process.
“I have become a tyrant to collaborators in biomimicry for people to slow down and stop rushing to biological solutions too quickly. Biomimicry has a tendency for the natural model to impose rules on the broader creative process that shuts down integrative thinking. If a natural model shifts your perspective and allows you to reframe a given challenge, then capture all the insights, thank the model and move on. The organism might have done its job. You will likely require new models to inform the next stages of thinking and that’s ok. It’s still ok if during the solutions development you need to relax the grip on your organism in order to achieve a result. In fact, the more organisms you have, and the more you have abstracted your insight to the level of a principle the easier this will be.”
(Hastrich, 2013)

From the interview quote, we can infer that there is a tendency for practitioners, when rushing to “biologize” a problem, to fixate themselves on a certain principle. Apart from the fact that fixation is a factor that obstructs creative thought, there is also a risk for one to be fixated into something that may not be able to address the core issue in the first place. In addition, integrative thinking often better emerges in a multidisciplinary setting. Jumping straight to biology, as discussed in the task motivation part of the analysis, is a hindrance to motivation for practitioners who have little or no knowledge of biology.
“That’s the key to talking to an interdisciplinary team, to define the problem in a language that everyone can understand. And so before biologizing it, especially with innovation people and creative people like ourselves, it is

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very easy to jump to "hey, there's a solution, and there's a solution". Biomimicry thinking, and especially Biomimicry 3.8, highly cautions us to not jump straight to a solution.” (Appendix 3, par. 50)

The second-tier in the problem-finding phase involves the translation of a problem to a biological question. This does not mean that once a problem has been defined, one can jump directly to biological solutions. Prior to solution generation, it is important to correctly frame the question in a biological language. Framing of the question becomes important in bio-inspired design, as the solutions space of biology is big, making it easy to get lost in the complexity, and to oversimplify the search process. In bio-inspired design, problems that are nebulously defined are either too vague to

yield to a functional description, or result in a too large a search space (Helms, et al, 2009, p.617).
One of our respondent describe an example of such framing:
“In the multidisciplinary process, there is a big difference between asking how DOES nature and how WOULD nature. For example, take thermoregulation, so managing temperature. If I say managing temperature to you, that is not a "biologized" question. But what we do, is ask how DOES nature manage temperature …in this case for automotive seats where you might start to sweat because of the temperature inside or outside the car. So, how can you regulate the temperature between your body and that form. So what we looked at was heat dissipation, we looked at elephant ears, we looked at toucan beaks, we looked at jack rabbit ears. Things that use a broad surface, a membrane surface, that would allow for a dissipation of heat. So we looked at these things relative to how DOES nature. On a broader scale you would look at how nature WOULD design a better automotive seat. It is a different question, and it is a broader context.” (Appendix 3, par. 49)

From the example presented above, one can infer that the framing of the problem highly influences the biological search space. In the “DOES” framing, while simplifying the search process by focusing solely on nature’s heat dissipation methods, it may not address the core issue of the problem. What if thermoregulation is not really the problem? The “WOULD” scenario gives space for abstract exploration, by using an analogy of how nature would design a better automotive seat. However, such generalization can lead to a too vague problem definition, resulting in a too large search space. Thus, we argue that the two-tiered approach can be used to balance the gap between the two approaches. The first tier, where one identifies the core problem, can be a process full of abstraction and exploration. The second tier, however, needs to be addressed with a straight to the point, “biologized” framing of the question.

Acquiring Knowledge
The acquiring knowledge stage of the creative process is interrelated with the domain-relevancy element of creativity. We have elaborated the domain-relevancy in bio-inspired design in the previous section, and outlined the need for multi-domain expertise in the design process. However, we are interested in exploring the extent of expertise needed in applying bio-inspired design: That is, what level of technical expertise in different domains is needed in applying bio-inspired design?
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One respondent, Carl Hastrich, argues that there are two different practitioners within the field of bio-inspired design: the explorers and the executors. Explorers are people who dive into bio-inspired design as part as of their growing and learning process (Hastrich, 2011). They do not care where they end up and explore bio-inspired design without the need to go below the surface (ibid.). These are the people who utilize nature as an avenue for inspiration, or those who use natural examples as a tool in their creative process. Many practitioners of biomimicry fit with this this archetype. Executors, on the other hand, are the result-oriented people who utilize bio-inspired design to achieve a desired result within the constraints of cost and time (ibid.). These are the people who practice biomimetics, bionics and other technical bio-inspired approaches. A respondent further elaborates the distinction between biomimicry and biomimetics:
“People in the biomimetics world are not motivated by nature and sustainability. I'm of course generalizing …but [Biomimetic Company] don't care at all about the inspirational part of nature, or sustainability …Biomimicry is a fantastic source of creativity. And I use (the approach) just for that. I taught workshops where the only goal was creativity …While biomimetic is about just getting the job done, making a better product, but I would argue they struggle on the creativity side.” (Appendix 4, par. 19)

The different expectations between explorers and executors call for different levels of specialized knowledge in achieving the intended outcome. It seems that some practitioners are not aware of what depth of knowledge is needed for a certain bio-inspired project, which in turn leads to an imbalance between expertise and expectation.
“They say that Biomimicry is Innovation Inspired by nature, but it is more like "conceptual design" inspired by nature, and a lot of people don't know that. They get frustrated. They say "Ohh, I'm going to do Biomimicry innovation…" and no, you're really just doing inspiration and ideation... the pathway is very long to get to innovation.”
(Appendix 4, par. 8)

We thus argue that during this phase, it is important for practitioners to align their expectations with the level of expertise available. This can be done through a thorough skill mapping of the individuals within the group, and a proper understanding of the expected outcome of the project. We argue that the more concrete the expected outcome, the more specialized are skills needed to deliver the expectation, and vice versa.

Gathering Information
A major effort in bio-inspired design research has been aimed at addressing the complexity in gathering relevant information used to support the transfer process. Gramman (2004) proposed a three-step approach to gathering information in biomimetics projects. First, formulate the search

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objective in terms of function or constraints. Second, search for biological examples that relate to the search objective. Third, analyze the biological system. Analyzing the biological system means breaking down the elements of the biological example. As elaborated in the previous section, there are different levels of outcomes of a bio-inspired approach. For example, biomimetics practice often requires deep understanding of the functional principles of the natural example, as the approach often entails direct emulation of natural examples. However, in the context where natural examples are used as means of inspiration, or as guiding principles, the information gathering process as suggested by Gramman might lead to the fixation of functional elements.
“So say you talk to a refrigerator company and they want to make a new door. So we kind of take on the face value of what the challenge was, and dive into that challenge looking at biology by looking at the function behind the door. Well, maybe it keeps things cool, maybe it closes …trying to understand the function behind it and look to nature as a direct translation to see, oh these mechanism that solves this. So it’s very sort of, R&D, functional …but we kind of struggle when it comes to product design, and we think where the connection with biology needed to be more flexible or more loose, more extrapolation …you have a lot more translation that is needed, or a lot more ambiguity in how its going to be applied.” (Appendix 1, par. 7)

As elaborated in the literature review, the complexity of the search process is often addressed through the establishment of search databases (e.g. BioTRIZ, Sapphire, AskNature.org). While the approach help address the simplification of the search space, the above quote also suggest that some bio-inspired design projects call for more than a direct translation. In that case, more abstraction is needed, requiring practitioners to be able to build a mental connection between the problem and the information gathered. This is a challenge, as practitioners tend to build such connections based on superficial similarity (Helms, et al, 2009). As an example, taking the cleaning properties of the lotus leaf to address the problem of making a better detergent is problematic (ibid.).

While the function “cleaning” is similar, the lotus leaf relies on the structural details of the structure to be cleaned, which a detergent cannot manipulate (ibid, p.617).
In the context of the creative process, the information gathering process entails constant awareness of one’s environment, as well as the absorption of information from wide range of sources (Sawyer, 2012). Thus, it requires one to be able to spot opportunities to link new information with existing problems (ibid.). As such connection making remains as one of the challenges in the bio-inspired design transfer process, we argue that the understanding of the creative process involved in gathering information can be helpful in addressing the challenge. The next phase of creative process, incubation, might serve as aiding the process of making sense of all the information gathered.

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Incubation
Creativity is often associated with the occurrence of a flash of insight, by which a creative idea is frequently reported to occur (Cross, 2007). There is a high level of saliency surrounding the process developing these insights/illuminations. The process is often referred to as a creative leap, which is defined as a sudden perception of a completely new perspective on the situation previously

understood (Cross, 2007). The saliency of the creative leap is a likely explanation to why people tend
see creativity as a serendipitous process. While we do not deny the serendipitous nature of the creative leaps, we still argue that the incubation process may contribute to the generation of the creative leaps. In the context of bio-inspired design, such a creative leap is crucial, as the process requires the ability to abstract and building connection through the use of analogies. In addition, fixation is a common challenge in the bio-inspired design process. We thus argue that the understanding of incubation is important to address the challenges in the connection-making and fixation in the bio-inspired process. The incubation process in bio-inspired design can be approached in a number of ways. One of our respondents suggests lessening the grip on biology in order to be able to come up with more flexible ideas:
“A few years ago we did research in healthcare, that led to zero specific design ideas, but deep principles outlining opportunities of innovation that were received very positively …the important turning point in the project was when we realized the students were running around madly developing ideas from biology, without really understanding the problem. It was a great sigh of relief when we put all the biology away and went did some design 101. Going and visiting a hospital and having deep conversation with the people directly affected by the issue led to bursts of insight into where and why the biology was of value.” (Appendix 2, par. 22)

Although the respondent did not specifically refer to the process as incubation, the quote demonstrates the value of taking a break from the source of fixation (in this case, biology) and get fresh perspective from other context. One can also argue that examples from nature in itself can be a good way of incubation. Several respondents practice bio-inspired projects by taking the participants to nature for inspiration. Within the Biomimicry 3.8 framework, this exercise is part of ‘reconnect’ element. While the purpose of ‘reconnect’ is to form a connection between participants and nature, it also has the function of providing them with new inputs and ideas.

“But whenever you're stuck with something, you can literally look out the window or go for a walk or keep the stuff
at your desk, and you can ask stuff like "how would a pine cone do this?" And it seems like an absurd question, and it is at that level of absurdity that the creativity comes in.” (Appendix 4, par. 35)

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Ideation
A prominent theme of creativity research is the generation of ideas. The current perception of the idea generation process is that it involves a divergent mode of thinking. While research of creativity supports the importance of divergent thinking in idea generation, the process cannot be purely divergent. As elaborated in previous sections, a challenge in bio-inspired design is to build feasible connections between problem and solution. Connection making, is thus an embedded part of divergent thinking that may help ground the process.
“Something overlooked in "divergence" is the ability to connect. Creativity remains "kooky" when it is pure divergence, playful extrapolation with no need for grounding. Connecting those starting inspirations with other elements: insights from other research, disciplines, knowledge domains and more, is not necessarily limited to "convergence". Part of good divergence is the crafting of connections to explore the implications of ideas. Our students are best at using their natural models when they can communicate visually or verbally their inspiration without showing the specific natural model. At this stage they are able to make more connections - because the end point doesn't have to "look" the same as the starting point.” (Appendix 2, par. 5)

In bio-inspired design, ideas are mostly generated through the use of analogies. Analogical thinking encourages radical ideas, as practitioners are “forced” to see things outside of its literal context. At the same time, the complexity of analogies makes the idea generation process a challenge. Thus, the awareness of the implications and the connection between an idea and the problem may help minimizing the complexity in “diverging” within the bio-inspired design process. Some of the database has been created to assist idea generation process in bio-inspired design. Nevertheless, Cross (2007) argues that the difficulty in computational modeling based on analogy is in abstracting the appropriate behavior features of an existing design. Thus, while databases may aid in generating ideas, an awareness of the cognitive processes needed in the idea generation process is also of importance.

Externalization
The core tenet of bio-inspired design lies in its power to change the context of a given problem, by resorting to nature as a source of inspiration. A major part of bio-inspired process involves conceptgeneration, and the externalization phase often relies on the technical expertise from other design field. Thus, we can argue that the bio-inspiration part plays most of its role in the early stages of the design (from conceptualization to idea generation), and that the emulation of natural examples is subsequently distributed to other fields of design. The implication of such segregation is that technical expertise is crucial to ensure externalization in the bio-inspired approach.
“Too often people think biomimicry is a route to answers, when in fact the most powerful aspect of biomimicry is that it changes the relationship to the problem, and then alters the very questions that are asked. The result is a

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ground-shift in thinking, but if you are not an engineer or designer with means of production, it leaves many wondering – now what? How do I make this brilliant concept happen?” (McGee, Eco-Interface Blog)

A branch of bio-inspired design, biomimetics, puts a strong focus on the emulation process. Thus, a biomimetic project is usually composed of individuals from technical backgrounds e.g. engineers, scientists and designers. The focus on emulation allows most biomimetics projects to run over an extended period of time, with more resources dedicated for the projects, as indicated by our respondent below.
“If you're going to do biomimetics from scratch, it can be a huge science- engineering project. One of [company] first technology platforms was inspired by the [organism], and it was a few years of pure university research, and then [company] heard of this, and said "we want to work with you" so they hired the scientists and licensed and patented the process, and it took them a few more years to come up with a workable machine. And now they are in the process of adapting it to all sorts of commercial uses and partnering with companies to commercialize it.”
(Appendix 4, par. 31)

The externalization challenge is more apparent the field of biomimicry than biomimetics, as the practical application of biomimicry projects do not necessarily involve technical expertise. However, biomimicry is known to provide rich inspiration advancing creativity, which is a challenge in a highly structured process like biomimetics. In the context of externalization, we argue that not all bioinspired projects need to involve in-depth scientific research. Nevertheless, the externalization phase will be more feasible through the collaboration with the relevant expertise from the engineering or design domains.

4.2 The Role of Creativity in Bio-Inspired Design
The first section of our analysis is used to explain the elements and process in bio-inspired design through the perspective of organizational creativity. The analysis indicates how each stage of the bioinspired process should be approached, in order to generate creative outcomes. Figure 14 outlines the summary of key findings and the important elements of the interplay between bio-inspired design and organizational creativity.

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THE CREATIVE PERFORMANCE (PERSON + ENVIRONMENT) DOMAIN RELEVANCY
Require multidisciplinary understandin s Balance between specialized and eneralized mode of reasonin Bio-inspired desi n as part of bi er creative space Nature as creative inspiration Challen es in bio-inspired desi n

TASK MOTIVATION

Makin the unfamiliar, familiar Personal freedom/ownership

THE CREATIVE PROCESS PROBLEM FINDING
tendency to jump strai ht to biolo y questions ill-defined problems

ACQUIRE KNOWLEDGE

di erent archetypes of bio-inspired practitioners mismana ed expectation between skills and outcome

GATHER INFORMATION INCUBATION IDEATION

search database abstraction and connection makin Know when to leave biolo y Nature as form of incubation diver ent thinkin and connection-makin Inspiration from nature to disrupt thinkin Understandin analo y

EXTERNALIZATION

collaboration with other discipline for emulation

Figure 14: Key Findings of important elements on the relationship between Bio-inspired Design and Organizational Creativity

This section elaborates on the role of creativity within bio-inspired design. Based on the findings, we group the key role of creativity into two main points: 1. Bio-inspired design is part of a bigger creative space, thus the understanding of creativity act as a connector between bio-inspired design and other design fields (creativity in bio-inspired

design).
2. Natural examples can act as creative inspiration, disrupting the linear mode of thinking by connecting the problem at hand to remote associations (creativity through bio-inspired

design).

Bio-inspired design as part of a bigger creative space
Our findings support the argument that bio-inspired design is/should be multidisciplinary, and that the understanding that a common mode of reasoning can be a way to better integrate the different domains. Bio-inspired design process requires mental models often used by designers and creative practitioners, such as abstraction, connection-making, and analogies. By seeing bio-inspired design as a part of a bigger design space, practitioners can better acknowledge the importance of using the mental models associated with creativity. The nurturing of such mental models can be fostered by

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being exposed to and working with practitioners from other design disciplines within the bigger design space. Hastrich (2011) argues that bio-inspired design does not include only biology research, but also design research. According to Hastrich:
“While this might be obvious for some, there are many more who think the design insights should magically appear from thin air, with no need for context from the area of research. The reality suggests otherwise …introducing biology research adds a layer of healthy complexity to the design research and makes the whole process more time consuming (also pronounced “rewarding”). And guess what, this is also the reason why businesses and design practices are not jumping vigorously on the biomimicry bandwagon; it’s hard work.” (Hastrich, Bouncing Ideas Blog)

We argue that the understanding of bio-inspired design being a part of a bigger creative space can set the right expectation for practitioners. It entails the understanding that collaboration between biology and design (or “creative disciplines”) is needed throughout the whole sequence of bioinspired design process.

Nature as creative inspiration
Examples from nature that is used in bio-inspired approach have the potential of disrupting conventional thinking. It is common for creativity practitioners to gather inspiration by immersing in a new environment, be it a physical space, an unfamiliar culture, or new knowledge outside the context of the research. Our findings support the suggestion that creativity can be exercised through bioinspired design. First, creativity occurs, as established in the literature review, through remote associations. When one turns to nature and ask, “what would nature do?”, it serves as a way to disrupt the linear mode of thinking, by looking at distant associations to things. One of our respondents elaborate and exemplifies how he used natural models to engage creativity:
“I deliberately use natural models to challenge given assumptions and allow people to see a situation from different angles. When framing a business as a parasite, we can be cheeky about the pros and cons in a way that you can’t be if you label the business as outright negative. Parasites exist in nature, they thrive in many situations and in the Daintree rainforest in Australia strangler figs play a very positive role in the overall structural resilience of the ecosystem. Strangler figs grow around host trees, ultimately sapping them of all their nutrients over a long period of time …but that’s ok, because the strangler fig sends vines in all directions and many of the trees in the forest remain standing despite a lack of vertical integrity. It’s even better than ok, because the daintree rainforest gets hit by a lot of. The lateral vines that spread throughout the forest help provide flex and stability when buffeted by these storms. So a parasite can be a good thing. Therefore if I’m speaking in the context of a business we can begin to explore ideas of transforming a negative parasitic relationship into a positive one by asking “What is different? What is missing?” (Hastrich, Bouncing Ideas Blog)

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Second, incubation is seen as a crucial part of creative process. Some bio-inspired approaches incorporate excursions in nature as part of the early stage of the process. As incubation is essentially about the effect of fresh and breaks from the common setting, excursion to nature can be a way to provide such effects. Thus, we can conclude that creativity can be gained through bio-inspired design approach with two means: utilization of natural models to disrupt thinking and in capitalizing the incubation effect from excursions in nature.

$Summing up: How the understanding of creativity helps identifying challenges faced by BID !
The overlay of organizational creativity framework on the bio-inspired design process offers a comprehensive analysis on the mechanism of bio-inspired approach. We identify some of the key challenges faced in bio-inspired design, especially in relation to its ability to come up with both original and feasible solutions. This section summarizes the findings from the first part of the analysis, by elaborating the challenges faced by bio-inspired design. The challenges described serve as a basis for our analysis in the next chapter. Figure 15 gives an overview of the challenges identified in the analysis.

Figure 15: Overview of the challenges faced in the bio-inspired design process

Area of the unknown. As a growing discipline, bio-inspired design faces the challenge of encouraging individuals from various domains (especially non-biology/non-engineering domains) to immerse into the process. Our key findings suggest that this may be due to the “unknown” nature of bio-inspired design. Consequently, the unfamiliarity of the domain often hinders intrinsic motivation.

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Ill-defined problem s. A poorly defined problem in bio-inspired design can result in too large of a search space, improper use of analogy, or unclarity on what the problem really entails. Based on our findings, the poorly defined problem is sometimes a result of practitioners jumping straight to “biologizing” the questions. Mism anaged expectation. Misalignment between expectations of outcome and resources available leads to bio-inspired design enthusiasts diving right into the process with high expectations, but with insufficient skills. Design Fixation. Design Fixation is the tendency to be fixated on a specific natural example, as outlined in the literature review. Fixation can be a challenge if it results from “over-simplification, to

skip the complex ‘insighting’ process in order to hold onto something manageable.” (Appendix 2, par.
37) Integrative Thinking. Various mental models are at play throughout the different stages of the bio-inspired design process. Analogical thinking, connection-making, and abstraction, are examples of mental models that play a role in the process of bio-inspired design. Based on our findings, the absence of the understanding of the need of such integrative thinking is a key challenge in bioinspired design. Integration between dom ains. From our findings we can infer that multidisciplinary expertise is needed in bio-inspired design. However, the challenge lies in integrating the domains, as different expertise entails different mode of reasoning and way of working. Externalization. As shown in figure 15, we believe that the issue of externalization is not a standalone challenge. The challenges that we have presented above have an influence in directing the externalization of a bio-inspired project. Without a clear expectation, an adequate skill-set and a sound process, feasibility of the project becomes a challenge.

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section 5

analysis part 2
applying design thinking in bio-inspired design

This section of the analysis aims to analyze how design thinking can address the challenges presented in the previous section of the analysis. Specifically, this section aims to answer the research question “In what ways can design thinking, as an applied method of creativity, influence the

quest for novel and appropriate solutions in a bio-inspired design process?”
Design thinking is not a substitute for professional design and the art and craft of design; rather it is a methodology for innovation and enablement (Lockwood, 2010). In using design thinking as a methodology within the Bio- Inspired design field, one adopts the tools and mindset of design to approach the process of turning lessons from nature into viable concepts in the human domain. In the literature review we have elaborated on the importance of viewing design thinking in its context as both a process and a mindset. Thus, this section address the research question by looking at how elements of the design thinking process and mindset, when applied in a bio-inspired approach, can help address the challenges in bio-inspired design.

5.1 Comparing Design Thinking and Bio-Inspired Design Process
The literature review section summarized various approaches of both design thinking and bioinspired design. This section aims at comparing the methodology used in both disciplines, to assess the fit of design thinking as a lens to evaluate the bio-inspired design process. As a point of departure, we argue that the design thinking process resembles the Bio-inspired design process, particularly when comparing the objectives of each design phase. As suggested by one of our respondents elaborating on the biomimicry process:
“I actually think that biomimicry is a derivative of design thinking… Human-centered design is where we traditionally see of (design thinking)… But basically they do the same thing… You are trying to understand the problem and you try to execute on it.. people just do that sort of thing however they can, but the biomimicry process is not actually that different from design thinking and vice versa.” (Appendix 1, par. 37)

Figure 16 describes the intersection between the generalized model for Design Thinking process (Brown, 2009) and Bio-inspired design (Badarnah Kadri, 2012):

Figure 16: Comparison of Design Thinking and Bio-inspired Design Process

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As seen in figure 16, design thinking and bio-inspired design process share similar pathways in achieving its intended aim. Both process starts off with the proper identification of the challenge, involving the discovery and the definition of the insights and/or problems. Once identified, the insights are carried over into the ideation phase, ideally leading into a set of viable solutions to be emulated/implemented. We can argue that the main difference between design thinking and bioinspired design is on its object of affection. Design Thinking as we traditionally know it, focuses its tools and methodologies to capture the insight from social and cultural immersion, whereas bioinspired design generally put its core tenet on emulation of organisms. An important consideration in working with design thinking process is to view it as a continuum of

innovation (Brown, 2009). While figure 16 describes Design Thinking process in a series of
sequential steps, it is best seen a system of overlapping spaces (ibid.). Hence, this section of the analysis focuses more on observing the dynamics of the bio-inspired design process in each of the design thinking innovation spaces (inspiration, ideation and implementation). To further understand the key differences between the two processes, and how it may give a better understanding of the bio-inspired design challenges, we aim to explain the process of bio-inspired design using design thinking process as contextual reference.

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Observation 1: The inspiration space and its relation to a better understanding of ill-defined problems
The inspiration phase in design thinking serves as an initial exploratory space where practitioners search for problems or insights motivating them for the search of a solution (Brown, 2009). In general, the inspiration phase usually involves two exercises. The discover exercise is a starting point aimed at exploring the users needs and aspirations (Design Council, 2005). The define exercise is aimed at the interpretation of insights or definition of problems (ibid.). The problem domain phase in the bio-inspired design process serves the same purpose, as it involves the definition of the challenge and the scoping of the problem. In the bio-inspired design process, however, the inspiration seems to be gathered from two domains – the people and the nature domain. The people domain, theoretically, involves observation that is similar to that of the design thinking process. However, in bio-inspired design, the identified problem has to subsequently be transferred into the natural domain. We have elaborated the two-tiered approach of bio-inspired problem formulation in Analysis 1, where the identified problem has to be formulated as a biological function in order to find an appropriate analogy in the natural domain.

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At the heart of design thinking is the innate ability to deeply understand the context of what is observed. In design thinking, the emphasis on people may help capture relevant needs on their end, which we argue can contribute to a more appropriate and useful solution. Thus, we argue that the

challenge phase in bio-inspired design process, when executed with a design thinking mindset, can
better influence the quest for useful solutions. However, there is a tendency for bio-inspired practitioners to skip this phase and jump straight to the natural domain.
“Design thinking the way IDEO practice it is better on understanding what the problem is upfront than the biomimicry approach. The biomimicry approach is interesting to get to functional level, which is great, and can be very aspirational more so than a lot of design thinking can be, but then you limit it to rational by focusing on the functional part. Biomimicry can lead you down this path, where we don’t know when we can get to achieve that point. It’s really hard to know what is feasible and what’s not with just bunch of biologists in the room. We can learn what’s amazing, and what’s possible, but maybe not what’s feasible today, or within a timeline that matters for business. So design thinking has skill set that bring that back down, so I think, together, there’s a nice synergy where you can build on the strength of each other to create, to add value.” (Appendix 1, par. 37)

A practical example of the synergy of people immersion and natural examples was exhibited in the IDEO USGBC case. The workshop began with an inspiration exercise, where the designers brought examples from nature they found relevant to the project brief. The inspiration exercise also required the designers to share an example of extreme or inspirational organizations stories, as well as an interview session with the stakeholders to better understand their needs. The findings were then converged in a parallel fashion: while the designers synthesize their findings by defining various people-centered problem formulations, the biologist provided examples similar problems solved by nature. The co-creation between designers and biologists produced more problem formulations, from which biologists generated more biology-oriented questions to be explored in the nature domain. The parallel process ensured coherence between the people’s needs, as translated by the designers, and the relevant natural examples. The parallel process also provided the designers and the biologists with a better understanding of the respective approaches, a key prerequisite in creating a condition conducive for multidisciplinarity. Thus, when observed through the lens of design thinking, the problem-domain phase in bio-inspired design process may be more fruitful if paired with human-centered design and undertaken in an overlapping, parallel manner.

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Observation 2: The ideation space and its relation to a better understanding of design fixation
The ideation space in design thinking involves the generation, development and testing of ideas (Brown, 2009). While ideation seems like a natural subsequence to the inspiration phase, overlaps

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and iteration often occurs between the two spaces. In the bio-inspired design process, the purpose of the abstraction phase is similar to that of the ideation space, that is, to further investigate the natural principles and to develop a design concept through means of brainstorming and structuring the principles. Thus, the abstraction phase seems to involve more convergent thinking, as the ideation part is derived from certain natural analogies, and the role of brainstorming is more to converge into the depth of the functional principles of the selected natural examples. The convergent nature of the ideation phase in bio-inspired design process may ease the complexity of abstracting natural principles by allowing practitioners to focus only on a specific analogy.
“They (designers) are searching about this one thing. That’s a common tradition to find the overarching theme you want to go with, to then execute on. Because without that, it’s hard to get a team to do anything. So, if you end up having 50 different design ideas and they’re all good and powerful, at some point you have to pick one and move forward.. I think it depends on where you are in the process, sometimes it can be good, and sometimes it can be bad” (Appendix 1, p. 21)

The challenge with the convergent nature in the ideation phase of bio-inspired design process is that it is prone to design fixation. Fixation is not an issue unique only to bio-inspired design, but it is a challenge shared by all design processes. Cross (2007) argues that fixation may be a result of designers being too solution-focused, adopting a more realistic strategy of finding a satisfactory solution, rather than generating an optimum solution to a well-defined problem. Thus, design fixation, especially in the context of working with ill-defined problems, can be a way to minimize some complexities that may come from the pursuit of an optimum solution. However, it is important to have a proper balance in managing fixation, as it can also trigger negative stagnation in the ideation process. One of our respondent elaborate the challenge of negative stagnation in the context of bioinspired design:
“Creative thinking can stagnate when someone is holding onto a natural model too tightly. I see this happen a lot when there is one specific model that has become the sole solution of a given project. In architecture it will occur when there is a fixation on a given organism and all the work becomes the literal translation between model and application. Due to the scale, complexity and general differences between organism and a building the translation is not possible until you let go of the model. In product design it is easy to become overwhelmed because we just can’t do what nature is presenting us. In most cases our materials and technology can not replicate the subtle complexity of nature and if the organism model can not be fully translated frustration sets in and creativity stops.” (Hastrich,
2011)

While design fixation often helps designers to focus on a certain model, there are also major drawbacks, especially in the context of generating creative solutions. In the context of bio-inspired design, there has to be some level of improvisation in translating the analogy into design principles. Our technology and materials has not yet reached a point where we can directly copy natural

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organisms. Thus, on approaching the ideation space, divergent thinking plays an important role in inhibiting fixation, and allows different interpretations and improvisations to emerge. In design thinking, the ideation space involves a high degree of creativity. In the ideation phase, tools are often used deliberately to take the ideation out of the context of the problem, so diverse associations can emerge. Thus, in applying bio-inspired design process, there may be merit in having both divergent and convergent ideation exercises. On approaching the ideation space, it is also important to have a great degree of flexibility in the selection of natural models. The purpose of the ideation phase, then, can be an avenue to connect different natural examples to come up with a new base for emulation. The ideation space in design thinking also includes the testing of ideas, which is mostly done through means of rapid prototyping. Prototyping serves as one of the core tools in design thinking, and it helps to reduce fixation by releasing the cognitive load (Youmans, 2011). As design processes commonly require mental manipulation of complex relationships among the design features, it is thus taxing cognitive capacity (ibid.). Jang and Schunn (2010, in Kershaw et al, 2011) found that innovative designs are more likely to emerge when prototypes are used during the ideation phase, but not so much on the refinement phase. We thus suggest that the use of rapid prototyping methods should not only be limited to the emulation phase. The use of prototypes may play a role in reducing negative stagnation in bio-inspired design, especially when it is used during the transfer phase from natural principles to design concepts.

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Observation 3: The implementation space and the importance of bio-inspired design to be part of a bigger design space
A major part of both the processes of design thinking and bio-inspired design involves ‘insighting’ and ideation, with little focus on the implementation part. One major drawback in the application of design thinking, as elaborated in the literature review, is the perception of it being a start-to-end innovation process. However, design thinking is a tool for creating creative concepts, concepts that can only be brought to life through the collaboration with practitioners from other design domains. The misconception of design thinking and bio-inspired design as being full innovation processes makes the lack of feasibility outcomes more apparent. This is particularly more evident in the bioinspired design process, where the emulation phase covers some aspects of implementation, but not so much on the commercialization aspect of the solutions. As a result, many practitioners of bioinspired design struggle with bringing their solution to life. We argue that the lack of implementation plans is not a sign that both design thinking and bio-inspired design’s process are incomplete; rather, both processes should be incorporated as part of a bigger design space.

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Design thinking process has solid tools and methodologies that can be used in dealing with the concept generation phase. The concept generation skills nurtured in design thinking can assist other fields of design (especially the ones focusing more on technical mastery) to develop more sound and holistic concepts through thorough exploration, rather than jumping straight to solutions. Thus, as most bio-inspired practitioners currently come from scientific or technical domain, the introduction of design thinking process in bio-inspired design may provide the right balance between the exploratory and implementation phase of the process.

5.2 Applying Design Thinking Mindset in Bio-inspired Design
The first three observations analyze the process of bio-inspired design using the lens of design thinking process. As design thinking involves both process and mindset, it is essential to observe the application of the design thinking mindset in bio-inspired design. We have elaborated the mindset of design thinkers in the literature review, and this section is aimed at describing how each mindset of design thinking may contribute to addressing the challenges faced by bio-inspired design.

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Observation 4: Explaining mental models involved in Design Process through ‘ Designerly Ways of Knowing’
The literature describing the process of bio-inspired design, as elaborated in the literature review, focus is largely on methodology and tools used within each phase of the process, rather than the mindsets involved. In the design thinking methodology, the mental models involved in each design space in the process are usually outlined. The double diamond model, for example, uses the interplay between divergent and convergent thinking model in explaining the dominant mental models involved in the different phases of the process. The understanding of the mental models involved in the process is important as it allows conditioning of the kind of thinking process that has to be fostered in different phase of design. Nigel Cross (2007) refers to ‘designerly ways of knowing’ as the behavior and the cognitive processes that designers undertake to solve a problem. The understanding of the ‘designerly ways of knowing’ is of particular importance in bio-inspired design, as the approach deals with ill-defined problems requiring creative thinking. In addition, the analogical nature of bio-inspired approach calls for different creative cognitions, such as abstraction and connection making. In analysis part one we elaborate on the creative cognition’s role in bio-inspired design process. The challenge in understanding ‘designerly ways of knowing’ lies in its tacit nature (Cross, 2007). Hence, the nurturing of ‘designerly ways of knowing’ is often through apprenticeship (ibid.). The tacit

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nature of ‘designerly ways of knowing’ serves as another point as to why the involvement of designers is crucial when applying bio-inspiration. However, we have also observed that designers attempt to externalize the nature of ‘designerly ways of knowing’ through means of artifacts. In the design thinking process, for example, there is a link between the methodologies and the mental models involved. Design-thinking practitioners have created tools and exercises aimed at better externalizing the nature of ‘designerly ways of knowing’. Mapping is a common tool used during the exploratory process in design, in where designers make sense of complex information by structuring and forging connections. Enactment is also a common way for designers to communicate the tacit nature of their thinking process. Tools like bodystorming, role-playing, and experience prototyping are used to communicate their thinking through enactment .
“Draw what you think the organism is doing, not what the organism is. So, if you're drawing a cactus, I don't care about the spines - I care that the spines reflect light. We push very hard to get people to "see" beyond the literal. It is very hard. They do a lot of writing, describing what they want to occur and why, freeing them from the limitations of drawing or modeling something that is "possible". Suspension of disbelief is surprisingly difficult even for an undergraduate design student. We make it a requirement to have diagrams showing relationships between their organism and others, and emphasis on flow diagrams more than sexy renderings. Being able to visually communicate is very important and should be ingrained if you are a design thinker.” (Appendix 2, par. 12-17)
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It can be inferred from the above interview quote that being able to communicate visually is a skill nurtured by designers for them to better make sense of the problem they are working on. Exercises like mapping and reenactment serve the same purpose as visualization; it is aimed at externalizing the tacit part of designer’s trail of thoughts. In bio-inspired design, where reciprocation occurs between the natural model and the initial problem formulation, being able to connect the two parts becomes crucial. Categorizing natural models into functional principles using multi-layer categorization can be a rigorous task if one is not able to visualize the connections. Thus, we argue that being able to communicate visually is a skill that bio-inspired design practitioners should hone, as it can be a way to make better sense of the complex information common of the bio-inspired approach.

Observation 5: Bringing the spirit of collaboration to life
Throughout various sections in the analysis, we have emphasized the importance of multidisciplinarity in bio-inspired design. The complexity of bio-inspired design approach calls for diverse skill-sets and perspectives that are best achieved through multidisciplinary collaboration. In
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Bodystorming: A method where designers set up scenarios and act out roles, with or without props, focusing on the intuitive responses prompted by the physical enactment Role Play: A method involving identification of stakeholders involved in the design problem and assign those roles to members of the team Experience Prototype: A prototype of a concept using available materials and use it in real life in order to learn from a simulation of the experience using the product Source: IDEO Method Cards

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addition, multidisciplinary collaboration allows for critical feedback and self-reflection, which may help reduce fixation in the design process (Youmans, 2011). However, while collaboration is one of the mindsets fostered in design thinking, integrating individuals from different domains is a challenge on its own. For example, we have elaborated in the previous section on the common conflict of reasoning used between designers and scientists. In addition to the integration challenge, obtaining individuals to work in a multidisciplinary team is also part of the challenge faced in the formation of such team. The following sections assess how the aforementioned challenges are addressed in design thinking.

Collaboration$through$Interdisciplinarity$
Acquiring individuals to be part of a multidisciplinary team can challenging since it requires individuals who are confident enough in their expertise to go beyond it (Brown, 2009). While the notion of “multidisciplinarity” is often perceived as a formation of individuals with various skill-sets, in design thinking, the spirit of collaboration calls for a different approach to assessing multidisciplinarity. In a traditional multidisciplinary team, each individual becomes an advocate for his or her own skills, and a project often becomes a protracted negotiation among them (ibid.). In design thinking, there is a collective ownership of ideas and everybody takes responsibility for them (ibid.). Such collaboration is referred to as interdisciplinarity. In the context of bio-inspired design, interdisciplinarity is not something that is commonly advocated, although there is various literature and practices emphasizing the importance of multidisciplinarity. The collective ownership of ideas in an interdisciplinary team is often achieved, as individuals are equipped with the mastery of multiple skill-sets. Guest (1991) describes such individuals as the “TShaped” person. These people have a disciplinary depth, for example in biology, but with arms reaching out to other disciplines (Amber, 2000). Design thinking, as practiced in IDEO has long advocated the importance of T-shaped people, and uses the quality as part of their resume assessment. To date, the company has employed biologists with design backgrounds, architects with psychology backgrounds and many other polymaths. In the context of the bio-inspired approach, the conflict of reasoning between the science and design realms can be bridged with the presence of individuals who has the ability to understand both perspectives.
“For scientist, its really useful to be reductionist, to be completely argumentative, to make a stand, to have a depth of knowledge. It is also very good for them to switch, like, I understand that you are just not made this way, let’s think about how we can do it in a new way. There are very few people who practice doing both, but when you find them they tend to be doing really well on their field.” (Appendix 1, par. 35)

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Collaboration$through$the$establishment$of$common$values$
Integrating domains is prone to conflicts, as different domains involve different modes of reasoning and ways of deploying principles. Interdisciplinarity can help address such conflicts from an internal perspective, as the effort comes from the individuals themselves. To better ensure the integration between domains, an external effort can also be considered, one of which through the establishment of an environment aimed at generating common values. The introduction of a design thinking mindset, with its focus on integrating different stakeholder needs, may serve as a set of common values that can be deployed in the bio-inspired design team. In bio-inspired design, there is a lack of common language for explaining the natural principles. The use of biological vocabulary to explain the principles, especially to individuals who are not familiar with biology, could potentially lead to miscommunication and conflict within the team. Thus, the first step to generating common values should be the scoping of natural principles in a way that everyone can understand.
The method of defining and scoping the challenge relative to biological abstraction with language everyone can understands, is very, very important. That is the key to talking to an interdisciplinary team, to define the problem in a language that everyone can understand… Being comfortable working in teams and allowing everyone to have a voice is crucial. (Appendix 3, par. 52) “To be good at the practice of making meaningful functional connections for innovation, a biomimic needs to acquire a large set of ‘labels’ that capture a complex set of biological conceptual elements and how they relate. Learning Biomimicry consists in part in learning (and often creating) a language of biomimicry. A deeper understanding of how to engage in biomimicry innovation requires a richer (and more precise) vocabulary that is currently absent from everyday language.” (McGee, Eco-Interface blog)

Furthermore, a predetermined consensus on the expected aim of the project can generate a common understanding in the team. It is common for first-timers to have high expectations when they start to exercise bio-inspired design. We have earlier pointed out that bio-inspired design is a complex process, and there has to be various prerequisites in place in order for the teams to achieve their intended aim. In the conclusion we show how such a common understanding can be constructed through a strategic framework.

Observation 6. Experimentation and Empathy as a way to dive into the unknown world Freedom$of$control$in$Design$Thinking$
One of the challenges identified in the first section of the analysis is the challenge of practitioners having to immerse themselves in a different domain than their original expertise. For a biologist to

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practice bio-inspired design, one has to learn the design tools of, and familiarize oneself with, the technology of the target domain. Conversely, engineers and/or designers have to attain an understanding of the biological phenomena in the source domain. In analysis one we argue that one of the key factors for motivation in practitioners is the perception of freedom of control. For one to better familiarize oneself with a new domain, the feeling of mastery is important.
“The thing I found was that they have a hard time working with new ideas at all. I ran across that so many times hence why I developed set of tools and activity that people can use to be creative. You're taking a radically different approach, and try to use it in a conventional setting. It doesn't work really well, it's very fragile. So, learning how to help people work together with new ideas. It is curious that neurologically humans do not like in the world of the unknown at all. If you take business, engineer or designer working in world of nature - that’s all unknown. People shut down and have terrible responses. So, part of it is making people help make it feel like known.” (Appendix 4,
par. 39)

When faced with so-called wicked problems, there is a need to explore unknown territories, and thus also a need to approach it with a spirit of experimentation. A design-thinking environment has been argued to be one that encourages exploration, experimentation and risk-taking. The experimental spirit is useful in dealing with complex problems, as it allows one to quickly navigate around different solutions. Nigel Cross (2007) argues that the experimental spirit is central to design activity, as it relies on the fairly quickly generation of satisfactory solutions, rather than a prolonged analysis of the problem. Thus, design activity is generally a “satisficing” rather than optimizing approach (ibid.). We thus argue that the complexity in bio-inspired design shall not be approached with the mindset of “optimization”.

Empathy:$A$relevant$factor$in$bioRinspired$design?$
The spirit of experimentation assists in the navigation of a complex problem. However, the spirit of experimentation on its own may not be enough if it is not grounded on a solid understanding of the issue at hand. Solution can be perceived as far-fetched or irrelevant in the absence of deep understanding of people. In the design thinking mindset, the spirit of experimentation is paired with empathy, which is aimed at producing satisfactory and appropriate solutions. Thus, we can argue that the spirit of experimentation serves as a map in exploring the unknown world, while empathy serves as the compass that keeps the journey grounded. A good design thinker must nurture the ability to extend beyond him/herself. The empathy mindset cultivates the designer’s ability to deeply understand the context of a problem, and in the case of human centered design, the need of people. In bio-inspired design, the complexity of natural principles can only be contextualized through a deep understanding of the natural principles and the connection with problems at hand. The nurture of empathy, thus, can be a way for bio-inspired

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practitioners to gain the skills to deeply understand nature in a systematic way.
“If you need to learn really how nature does things, you have to use design thinking when looking at nature. So if you're looking at a leaf, you basically have to pretend you're the leaf. If I'm a leaf "how would I do that. How would I experience this. How is my experience in this system or this context and this leaf.. Why do I have fuzzes on my back and shiny on the front and.." So it is my understanding of Design Thinking that you really have to get your head into the head of the consumer, "what is the consumer, or end-user, experiencing what I want them to experience". So it is a really great.. Design Thinking is exactly what you need to do to understand how nature works.” (Appendix 4, par.
13)

The nurture of a deep understanding has an impact of how practitioners with empathy perceive a given problem. While ill-defined problems are often met with skepticism, empathy cultivates the ability to see ill-defined problem with optimism. Thus, when diving into the unfamiliar territory, empathy can be a means for one to embrace the unfamiliarity, instead of being discouraged by it. One of our respondents describes empathy as the biggest lesson that bio-inspired practitioners can learn from design thinking:
“I think the biggest benefit has been this focus on empathy. As a biologist you sort of look at the world, and you see destruction, challenges in the ecosystem. The way it framed to you.. I know a lot of biologist who don’t like people.. they’re angry at the world. As a result, they just want to study their organism, and they just close off, and they’re very skeptical. I think the design community is the opposite. You’re building empathy for people. You love people. You love the thing that people do even if they’re crazy and kooky. You’re trying to work from a place of understanding, rather than a place of frustration, or place of anger. For me, it’s really good to see a community of people that are genuinely optimistic about people and like to think about how people can be better in the world, rather than, being angry at what they’re doing. So that has been like a cultural shift for me.” (Appendix 1, par. 47)

Summary of Analysis Section 2
This section is aimed at assessing how design thinking can address the challenges faced by bioinspired design. Our comparison of design thinking and bio-inspired process has provided a better understanding of the similarities between design thinking and bio-inspired design, and allowed us to suggest how some of the challenges in bio-inspired design can be addressed by applying elements of design thinking in the bio-inspired design process. We also analyze the relevance of the design thinking mindset in bio-inspired design. One of the biggest drawbacks of design thinking, as outlined in the literature review, is some practitioner’s tendency to see it as a step-by-step process without the proper understanding of the associated mindset of design thinking. Our analysis suggests that some of the challenges faced by bio-inspired design may be addressed through the adopting and the nurturing of elements of the design thinking mindset. Ultimately, we stress the importance of both approaches being seen as being part of a bigger design space, as we argue both design thinking and bio-inspired design are not full innovation

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processes. Figure 17 summarizes the variables in design thinking process and mindset that may help address challenges we argue are faced by bio-inspired design:

Figure 17: How Design Thinking addressed challenges faced by bio-inspired design

As seen in figure 17, there is a link from the various challenges to the challenge of feasibility / externalization. We argue that in order for bio- inspired design to systematically deliver feasible solutions - that is solutions that are novel, useful, and applicable - bio-inspired design should be seen as a part of a bigger design space and adopt the tools and mindsets of other design processes. We argue that the challenge of externalization is not a standalone challenge; rather it is a result of various unaddressed challenges, which may impact the ability of the bio-inspired process to come up with a feasible solution. Clearer expectations, better team formations, a better fit between skills and aims, and integrative thinking can all bring better synergy to the process, making the concepts developed more feasible. The next section of this thesis concludes our inference in both sections of the analysis, by proposing a strategic framework that can support the application of bio-inspired design. The strategic framework is developed based on the common denominator of the challenges that we have explored throughout the analysis, with a focus on aiding the bio-inspired design in developing novel and useful solutions.

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section 6

conclusion
a strategic framework supporting the application of bio-inspired design

The first part of our analysis examines the process of bio-inspired design using the understanding of

creativity as the observational lens. Throughout the analysis, we identify some of the key challenges
currently faced by bio-inspired design that might hinder the practice from producing novel and useful solutions. In the second part of our analysis, we aim to observe how design thinking, as an applied method of creativity, can address the aforementioned challenges. The synthesis of our analysis generates three important inferences in regards to the application of bio-inspired design. First, bio-inspired approach is a broad approach that requires a synergy between the expected outcome and the available resources (skills, process and environment). Most challenges we have identified in the first part of our analysis can be attributed to the failure of aligning the expected outcome with the available resources. Second, design thinking contributes to bio-inspired approach by creating a condition that promotes the quest for novel and useful solutions. Design thinking helps define what processes and environmental conditions that has to be in place, in order for a bio-inspired approach to get closer to its intended outcome. Third, the interaction between bio-inspired design and other design approaches helps create a condition that is conducive for the bio-inspired approach to fulfill its intended outcome. In our analysis we show that one of the challenges is that bio-inspired design practitioners does not necessarily see bio-inspired design as being part of a bigger design space, rather a discipline of its own. Furthermore, the application of bio-inspired design requires a certain mindset and mental models that is often associated with creativity. Such mindset and mental models are nurtured in the design process of other design fields. Thus, we argue that the understanding of creativity can act as the glue that establishes bio-inspired design as part of a bigger design space. Many of the challenges faced by bio-inspired design can be addressed through an integrated application of bio-inspired design and other design fields. We argue the integrations should be continuous throughout the whole process, and not only in the execution phase. However, integration requires additional resources and more effort in bridging the different discourses. Thus, it is important to clarify the expected outcomes of the bio-inspired approach early in the process, to be able plan the process based on where it will fit in the bigger design space.
“It is one of (biomimicry) life principles to create condition conducive to life. What I am finding is we first need to create a condition conducive to, whether its biomimicry or biomimetics. Once you create this condition, the emergence will happen. So what I’m trying to do is to create the condition, bring people from different field, and then so.. ooh.. I get it. So biomimetics people will understand the need to be creative, and the biomimicry people will understand the business …because biomimicry people are really hung on to their dogma, so that’s their biggest constraints, and the biomimetics people cannot stand the “la-la-la”. So, I think we have create a condition to this, not

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one versus the other.. The other part will just naturally emerge once you crate those condition.. I think fantastic will happen because the world needs radical innovation!.” (Appendix 4, par. 57)

6.1 The Antenna of Bio-Inspired Design
The ability to sense the interaction between different components making up the process, and to identify conditions that have to be in place to adapt to the expected outcome of the project, is crucial in the planning and application of any design approach. Thus, based on our findings from the primary data and the secondary literature, we offer a strategic framework to support the resource planning and application of a bio-inspired design process. The framework does not serve as a methodology describing sequential steps of the bio-inspired process, as we believe that a more extensive research has been undertaken to offer such a framework. We call the framework ‘the antenna of bio-inspired design’ (BID Antenna). An antenna is a sensory organ on the head of insects and crustaceans that is used mainly to feel and touch things. In addition, in some species, it is also necessary for orientation during migration. Thus, we offer the ‘BID Antenna’ as a way to sense the fit between the expected outcomes of a bio-inspired project with its elements that has to be in place to support the outcome. In essence, the purpose of the antenna is two-fold: 1. Alignment of expectations through the sensing of fit between the aim of the project and the skills of the team members, and 2. A signaling tool for developing an awareness of the process and environmental elements that has to be in place to support the aim of the project.

skills

aim

process

environ ment

Figure 18: The Antenna of Bio-Inspired Design

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6.1.1 The Bio-inspired Design Continuum
In the ‘BID Antenna’ framework, the expected outcome (aim) and the current skill level of the project team need to be first identified. It is a holistic level identification based on the common distinction between various bio-inspired approaches. In addition, based on the analysis in the prior section, we aim to identify the elements of bio-inspired design that are important to be aligned and acknowledged. Figure 19 outline the abovementioned components:

SKILL-SET
lo lo lo biolo y familiarity experience with creative problem-solvin relevant technical specialization hi hi hi indirect solution journey

AIM
extent of emulation inspiration approach direct problem destination

Figure 19: BID Antenna: The predetermined components –aims and skills

Identification of the broad aim : The extent of emulation (Indirect to Direct): The aim of a direct emulation is to emulate the functional principles of a certain natural example. The cases of the humpback whale and Velcro fit into the definition of direct emulation. On the contrary, in an indirect emulation setting, there may not be any visible or direct traces between the ideas generated and the natural examples used in the process. In the indirect setting, natural examples often act as a source of inspiration or a way to disrupt thinking. The source of inspiration (solution-based to problem -based): In a problem-based setting, natural examples are used to address a predetermined problem. An example is the IDEO USGBC case, where inspiration from nature is used to address the organizational design of the company. In a solution-based setting, one usually encounters a certain natural phenomenon that inspires one to emulate the principles in creating new products or services. The approach of bio-inspired design (Journey to Destination): The component is identified based on the different archetypes of practitioners within the field, explorers and executors, as suggested by Hastrich (2011). When one aims to exercise bio-inspired design as a journey, the focus is on the experimentation without much concern on the emulation of a solid solution, that is, one embarks on a bio-inspired journey without knowing where the process will lead. When bioinspired design is seen as a destination, one sets out with a clearer notion of what problems are to be solved and with a more targeted process aimed at producing sound and feasible solutions. Identification of skills: We acknowledge that defining the skill-level needed purely based on two continuums is a somewhat simplified approach. However, the purpose of this process is to gain a high-level understanding of

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the skill level of each individual within the team, an understanding that will ultimately help to better gauge the general skill-level of the team. Throughout our analysis, we infer that two important skillsets that should be acknowledged in bio-inspired design are the level of familiarity with biology, as well as the level of experience in creative problem solving. Biology fam iliarity: The level of knowledge of biology. The knowledge of biology assessed through the team members experience, education and personal interest. A high familiarity of biology means that the individual is in position to provide various natural examples for a certain phenomenon. The experience in creative problem solving: The variable relates to the experience, not the theoretical understanding of creative problem solving. In the context of creative problem solving, skills are nurtured through experience, as the mental models associated with the process are often tacit in nature (Cross, 2007). Thus, the variable can help identifying the extent of the team member’s experience in nurturing mental models associated with creative problem solving (elaborated in the analysis). Relevant technical specialization: Apart from the biology and creativity skill-sets, technical specialization is an important skill contributing to the externalization of the bio-inspired concepts. These technical specializations can cover a range of disciplines, like engineering, architecture, and other design fields. As we will see in the subsequent section, all of the components presented above are linked together. The intersection between the different components act as the antenna, signaling the appropriate condition that has to be in place to reach the expected outcome.

6.1.2 The Skill and Aim Alignment
The first part of assessing the interplay of the different components is the identification of the collective skill-set of the team (skill mapping). Skill mapping is important in bio-inspired design, as

mismanaged expectations is a challenge potentially faced in the process. As elaborated in the
analysis, mismanaged expectation is likely to be driven by a misalignment between the aim of bioinspired project and the skill-levels that the project team possesses. Thus, one should seek to align the team skill-set with the expected aim of the associated bio-inspired design project before the project is started. Figure 20 offer an example on how the skills-aim alignment can be applied to identify the skill gap. The skill-gap can be identified through the overlaying of the skill-set mapping into the aim continuum. Subsequent to the identification of which skills and aim spectrum the project team is in (based on the continuum outlined in figure 19), each of the important skills is paired with a related expected aim. We argue that each of the skill-sets impacts the appropriate aim of the process.

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Biological knowledge impacts the extent of emulation one should aim for, as a direct emulation requires more detailed biological knowledge, particularly when it comes to extracting the functions of the biological elements. In regards to the variable ‘inspiration’, the more experienced one has with creative problem-solving skills, the more s/he is able to utilize the mental models needed to abstract from, and make connections between, a problem at hand and the relevant biological organism. Thus, a problem-based approach requires a greater level of experience when it comes to creative problem solving. Furthermore, the level of technical specialization the team possesses influences the approach of bio-inspired design, as absence of such skills will make it more difficult for the team to come up with a tangible and feasible solution. A high technical specialization in the team is conducive to a more ‘destination’ type approach, where one has a clearer picture of where one wants to go.

Figure 20: BID Antenna: Skills-Aim alignment

A practical example is outlined in figure 20. The grey bar represents the current skill level of an example project team possesses. Based on the skill-map, the team fits better with a ‘journey’ type bio-inspired approach, and using natural examples more as a creativity driver. The high-experience in creative problem solving allows the team to work on either solution-based or problem-based approaches. The blue bar represents the initial aim of the team based on an earlier exercise of formulating the aim of the process. Thus, the blue area represents the skill gap between the current team and the optimal level for the type of bio-inspiration the team aims to perform. To close the gap, the team thus has to either change their initial aim of the process, or acquire the missing technical and biological expertise. The skills and aim alignment serves as a sensing tool that identifies whether the initial aim of the project is backed with the required skills. Once the alignment of skills and aim is achieved, the next step is to identify the process and environment that has to be in place to support the initial aim of bio- inspired project.

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6.1.3 Aim and Process Alignment
The next phase of the alignment involves the identification of elements, based on the initial aim that has to be in place in the bio-inspired design process. Different forms of expected outcomes calls for different approaches needed to achieve the objective. To define the process, we are looking at the relationship between two variables influencing the aim of the project: ‘inspiration’ and ‘approach’. As detailed in the analysis, there is a difference in approaching problem-based and solution based projects. In the problem-based setting, we argue that the two-tier problem formulation process has to be in place. The approach requires a deep understanding of the target problem, before ‘biologizing’ the problem (see analysis 1). Thus, problem finding and formulation should be a key phase in the process of the problem-based approach. In addition, as biological examples are used to address human-centered problems, perspectives from various disciplines have to be applied to the problem, to allow for critical feedback and reflection. In the solution-based setting, oversimplification may occur during the transfer process, as practitioners may fail to fully consider the complexity in breaking down natural principles into a set of functions. The oversimplifying often results from practitioners skipping the complex and diverse insight process in order to hold on to something more manageable (Appendix 2, par. 37). It is thus important in a solution-based setting to allocate time and resources in the information and knowledge-gathering phase, in order to capture the rich insights that arise from observing the natural examples. In addition, to widen the span of possible solutions, the idea generation phase should not only be focused on the direct emulation, but also on the non-obvious aspects of the knowledge gathered. The initial intention of the project also influences the process of bio-inspired design. As the ‘journey’

approach entails more experimentation, the process should support this through the formation of
iterative cycles; focus on rapid prototyping, and the establishment of creative exercises throughout the idea generation phase. In the ‘destination’ approach, however, each phase of the process should be evaluated. As a feasible outcome is the ultimate aim, a clear set of parameters (performance indicators) has to be established prior to the execution of the process, which is used to evaluate the progress. In addition, it is easy to rush into solution in a ‘destination’ setting. For practitioners intending to use a ‘destination’ approach, one has to acknowledge that breaking natural functions into functional principles is a complex process, and hence one should allow for ample time used in the phase. Figure 21 offers a visualization of how the process can be managed, depending on the initial aim of the project. For example, in the top right ‘problem-destination’ square, clear parameters have to be
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defined prior to starting the project. The process has to be managed in a parallel fashion, with an equal focus on the idea generation, emulation, and problem formulation phases.

problem parallel process problem formulation

experimentation journey parameters more time destination

risk of oversimplification idea eneration solution

Figure 21: BID Antenna: The Process Matrix

6.1.4 Aim, Skills and Environment Alignment
The last phase of the alignment process involves an identification of the environmental factors that has to be in place to create a condition that is conducive to achieving the initial aim of the process. As we show in our analysis, the extent of biology familiarity has an influence in the individual’s motivation. When dealing with team members who have little familiarity of biology, the environment has to be shaped in a way that make them feel comfortable in exploring an unknown space. The failure to do so might negatively influence the motivation of the team members in exploring an unfamiliar domain. Thus, the use of familiar language, and the shaping of an environment that embeds some familiar elements of the practitioners are important when it comes to managing their motivation. In addition, our findings suggest that it is easy for individuals who have little knowledge in biology to get primed by the first biological examples presented to them. An environment that fosters a slow and wide exploration of biology by the practitioners may prevent the priming to turn into fixation. A high familiarity of biology and other sciences influences the mode of reasoning of the process. As the level of biology and/or science specialization increase, there is a tendency for one to feel uncomfortable on diverging to a more peripheral topic (see Analysis 1). Based on our findings, this may be driven by the mode of reasoning in science that values a concern for truth over imagination (Cross, 2007). Thus, the environment has to be shaped to aid the individuals in knowing when put aside their scientific mode of reasoning, and start exploring a more peripheral area.

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The intention of bio-inspired approach also calls for different environmental set-up. A conducive environment can smooth the process, and tackle obstacles that may get in the way of achieving the aim. In a ‘journey’ setting, for example, one is prone to losing oneself in the experimental space, resulting in the process losing direction. It is therefore important for the environment to provide focus when it is needed, especially when the process is driven by experimentation and iteration. The environment, in this sense, can provide some constraints limiting the team from exploring endlessly. The constraints can be in form of time, space, or structure. Conversely, a destination setting may benefit from a more creative environment, particularly in a ‘solution’ focused process setting. The creative environment may help promote incubation, especially in a time of fixation, as well as encouraging the team members to search beyond the face value of a problem. Figure 22 offers a visualization of how the environment has to be managed, depending on the initial aim of the project. For example, in a high biology-familiarity destination setting (e.g. biomimetics), a creative environment encourages the individuals to share skills and diverge into different areas. In such environment, each individual is not a champion for his/her own specialization, but works together with the team to achieve a common aim.

biolo y familiarity

hi

diver ence

focus journey creativity destination

motivation biolo y fixation lo

Figure 22: BID Antenna: The Environment Matrix

6.2 The BID Antenna as a Dynamic Framework
The notion of sensing and signaling in the BID Antenna refers to the intended use of the framework as a guide to adapting the skills, processes, and environment, to the aim, or expected outcome, of the bio-inspired project.

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The framework is dynamic, meaning that within a certain bio-inspired project, the aim may shift and alter depending on the changing dynamics of the project. What is initially a solution-driven approach may change into a problem-driven approach as new discoveries are made. Similarly, what is intended as a journey can turn into a destination-aimed approach in instances where the experimentation process yields to a feasible solution. Thus, the BID antenna is a dynamic framework that indicates what components has to be in place when such a shift in the aim occurs. In this sense, the framework is based on the principle of ‘iterativeness’. The BID Antenna takes into consideration the interaction between the different components within a bio-inspired approach. The framework starts with aligning the skills of the team with the intended outcome, the initial aim of the project, and subsequently elaborate what process and environment has to be in place to support the outcome. Thus, each components observed are interconnected, and the shift in one component leads to an adjustment of the other components.

6.3 Limitations of the Framework
The BID Antenna is an aim to construct a generalized framework that can assist practitioners on creating a condition conducive for bio-inspired approach to foster novel and useful solutions. We are aware that the establishment of such generalized framework, especially in a discipline that still has yet to develop a shared discourse, requires thorough observation and empirical testing. Our empirical work is based on expert interviews, but we are aware that their views are not necessarily representable for the discipline of bio- inspired design as a whole. In addition, the framework has not yet been tested in a practical setting, thus it is not possible for us to observe the challenges that practitioners may face on using the framework, nor the value that it may bring on a practical level. As we are fully aware of the limitations of the framework, especially in the context of practical application and the extent of the generalization, we are keen to propose the framework as a first

attempt to build a framework that can support the application of bio-inspired design. The framework
can further be established through testing in practical setting. Furthermore, the framework can also benefit from a more thorough elaboration on the components making up the process and environment matrixes.

6.4 Concluding Remarks
The thesis is aimed at exploring how an understanding of creativity can support the application of bio-inspired design. An initial suggestion made is that the understanding of creativity may explain some of the challenges faced by bio-inspired design. Furthermore, we argue that the interplay between bio-inspired design and design thinking, as an applied form of creativity, may contribute in addressing these challenges. Our analytical approach is to examine the bio-inspired design approach

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from a holistic point of view. While the approach may limit the applicability of our insights in a

context-specific process of bio-inspired design, we believe that the holistic viewpoint allows us to
observe bio-inspired design beyond its methods. In using a macro-orientational approach we identify the individual and environmental factors influencing the ability of bio-inspired design to deliver novel and useful solutions. Creativity is a product of the interaction of creative processes, individual skills, motivation, and an individual’s environment. Thus, the understanding of creativity entails an understanding that method on its own may not support more creative outputs of bio-inspired design. What is equally important is the effort to create a condition that can support the application of the method. Such a condition can be created through the understanding of how the individual, process, and environmental factors can support each other and fit together in a unified framework. The BID Antenna emerge as a result of the synthesis of our findings from primary data and secondary literature. The ultimate aim of the BID Antenna is to provide practitioners with an understanding of the conditions that have to be in place for the bio-inspired design process to deliver novel and useful solutions. Furthermore, we believe the understanding of creativity may serve as a common language connecting the different disciplines in applying bio-inspired design.

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6.5 Visualization of flow of Inference in this Thesis
Figure 23 Visualization of the flow of inference in this thesis

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