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Product, Service & Design Innovation
MCAD Offering Free Online Biomimicry Design Course

The Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) has partnered with Canvas.net to offer a free, open online course called, Biomimicry: A Sustainable Design Methodology. The course is an introduction to biomimicry, a sustainability framework that studies nature’s best design ideas to help us solve our own design challenges.

The course will examine nature’s inspiration for sustainable design. Students will learn the tools and principles of biomimicry, and explore their environment weekly to design a concept that they will then apply to develop a novel biomimetic design.

"We live in an exciting and daunting time, and, as Einstein said, 'We can't solve problems using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.' Biomimicry: A Sustainable Design Methodology is an online course that will introduce learners to the concepts of biomimicry through fun, hands-on exercises that will teach us to learn from nature,” said course instructor and Sustainable Design Program director Cindy Gilbert. “Along the way, students will develop a new way of thinking and approaching the unprecedented human-centered design challenges that we face today and into the future."

The MCAD course will familiarize students with biological solutions database AskNature.org, a research tool for design challenges. Run by the Biomimicry Institute, this database organizes biology by function and is a popular research tool for sustainable designers. They will learn how to access the wealth of biological information available and apply it effectively to design.

Throughout the four-week class, participants will also conduct real-world, outdoor observations to learn nature’s design principles, strategies, functions and patterns.

Gilbert’s course is part of MCAD’s Master of Arts in Sustainable Design program. The degree was designed for working professionals and is the only school to offer a fully online graduate degree program in sustainable design.

The Biomimicry course runs from March 23 to April 20, 2015.

In other biomimetic design news, last week the Biomimicry Institute and the Ray C. Anderson Foundation announced the latest Biomimicry Global Design Challenge focused on addressing issues with our global food-system. The challenge is designed to engage students and professionals to “seed and accelerate” solutions inspired by nature.

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