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Steven

Biomimicry is our new favorite concept. It just makes so much sense. By looking at any healthy ecological system — take a forest, for example — we can identify a set of basic principles at work. Waste being reused as energy. Diversity and cooperation. And one of our favorites: realtime information feedback.

I encountered this concept last week in Amsterdam at Arup’s “How Green Can We Go” workshop on sustainability in the luxury hospitality field. I participated in a design charrette with innovation leaders from global hotel brands, lighting and engineering experts and visionary architects. Our output: four scenarios describing a new kind of luxury hotel experience that minimizes environmental impact.
We looked at JANINE BENYUS’ ten principles of biomimicry as one of our starting points. Janine’s book is one to download to your Kindle, immediately.
Alongside folks from Intercontinental, Marriott, and Philips, we innovated a feasible 5-star hotel experience, complete with gray-water bathrooms, living walls, a seawater spa and natural cooling system. And suddenly, I had an “aha.” Namely, that realtime is “green.” Realtime information can help us make more sustainable choices. Realtime media can minimize paper waste and lower the levels of “embedded energy” in the supply chain. And just as significantly: realtime personalization can deliver high-value, I’m-willing-to-pay-for-it experiences that can help fund the new sustainable infrastructures that will need to be engineered and built.
How green can do you think we can go? And how can realtime help get us there?

I encountered this concept last week in Amsterdam at Arup’s “How Green Can We Go” workshop on sustainability in the luxury hospitality field. I participated in a design charrette with innovation leaders from global hotel brands, lighting and engineering firms, and visionary architectural practices. Our output: four scenarios describing a new kind of luxury hotel experience that minimizes environmental impact.

We looked at Janine Benyus’ ten principles of biomimicry as one of our starting points. Janine’s book is one to download to your Kindle, immediately.

Alongside folks from Intercontinental, Marriott, and Philips, we innovated a feasible 5-star hotel experience, complete with gray-water bathrooms, living walls, a seawater spa and natural cooling system. And suddenly, I had an “aha.” Namely, that realtime is “green.” Realtime information can help us make more sustainable choices. Realtime media can minimize paper waste and lower the levels of “embedded energy” in the supply chain. And just as significantly: realtime personalization can deliver high-value, I’m-willing-to-pay-for-it experiences that can help fund the new sustainable infrastructures that will need to be engineered and built.

How green can do you think we can go? And how can realtime help get us there?

Comments

  • Made by Lea Simpson on 22/10/09

    I love thinking about biomimicry. I was lucky enough to live next door to one of the UK’s leading biomimics and architects who got me all hot and bothered about it.

    This post made me think about two things:

    – In my opinion the real opportunity in applying biomimicry to business (outside architecture and design) is in business practises. How can we apply the relationships in nature to the business relationships we build as humans? Surely this kind of thinking will lead us to mutually benefitial, self-sustaining models that are way beyond traditional capitalism.

    – The digital world is going to have to be far more accountable for their contribution to a sustainable future. We all remember that horrible stat (that I can’t quote, incidentally) about the average carbon footprint of a Second Life avatar being more than that of an average Brazilian. At the moment, it’s tough to think of real time without also thinking of it as ‘more stuff’ – albeit more digital stuff and therefore less printed stuff. I’d be interested in thinking about how we can push this further, so it’s not just a lesser of two evils but a massive innovation for digital and sustainability.

    What would nature do?

  • Made by Marlene Boyce on 22/10/09

    I too have recently started to learn about biomimicry and am curious as a non-scientist to make sense of it in all spheres of business. I suppose the question is rather what does nature do? One of te things it employs as few external resources in mutualy beneficial ways and produces zero waste. This perhaps is a good point of departure when assessing the value of resources (real time/digital communication) towards a goal (“green” living).

  • Made by uberVU - social comments on 23/10/09

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by leasimpson: Realtime and biomimicry, what do you think? http://therealtimeproject.com/?p=312

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