Can we design products that function as elegantly as anything found in the natural world? And can those products mimic nature’s design principles? That is the goal of the Living Product Prize, a new initiative of the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, an annual team competition from the Biomimicry Institute that focuses on accelerating the development of nature-inspired solutions to critical sustainability issues. Entries for the Living Product Prize must meet the rigorous performance categories outlined in the Living Product Challenge (LPC), a program of the International Living Future Institute.
In addition to vying for the $100,000 “Ray of Hope” Prize, entrants in the Challenge may now qualify for a $10,000 Living Product Prize, awarded for a concept that captures the transformative spirit of the LPC – that is, products that are informed by biomimicry and biophilia, manufactured by processes powered only by renewable energy, and operate within the water balance of the places they are made. The winner of the $10,000 Living Product Prize will be announced at the Living Product Expo in Pittsburgh in September 2016, and will go on to compete for the $100,000 “Ray of Hope” Prize, which will be awarded at the Bioneers Conference in October.
“The Biomimicry Global Design Challenge is unique in that we ask students and entrepreneurs one basic question: 'Can you solve a human design problem by following nature's design principles?' In the past, we have had great, nature-inspired designs, but the submissions did not address material health and safety,” said Beth Rattner, executive director of the Biomimicry Institute. “The LPC takes this important next step, recognizing material selection, lifecycle analysis and sustainable manufacturing as imperatives to create true transformation in the marketplace.”
So, could a team in the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge actually invent one of the world’s first commercially-viable Living Products?
“The holistic framework of the Living Product Challenge provides a measuring stick for performance and a guideline for sustainable manufacturing,” said Amanda Sturgeon, CEO of the International Living Future Institute. “Biomimicry is a critical tool in creating products that demonstrate the business case for manufacturing that works in harmony with natural systems, so it only makes sense that we would collaborate on advancing these products.”
About the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge
The Biomimicry Global Design Challenge is the Biomimicry Institute’s flagship challenge, hosted in partnership with the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. It is an annual competition that invites students and professionals to address critical sustainability issues with nature-inspired solutions. Finalists and winners selected by our expert jury are eligible to win prize money as well as assistance in bringing their solution to the global marketplace via an Accelerator program. At the end of the Accelerator, one team will be awarded the $100,000 "Ray of Hope" prize, endowed by the Ray C. Anderson Foundation.
The Challenge is coordinated each year around a theme, or problem area, for which participating teams are asked to design solutions. Learn more about the current theme by reading the Challenge brief and browsing the reference collection. To help teams that are new to the practice of biomimicry, the Biomimicry Institute also provides extensive online resources as well as a directory of experts and mentors who are available as advisors.
The Challenge includes two entry categories: one for students only (high school or university) and an open category, which teams of any composition can enter. Judging and awards are category specific and only entrants in the open category are eligible to advance to the Accelerator program. Learn more about eligibility and categories of entry on the Rules and FAQs page.
About the Living Product Challenge
The Living Product Challenge, a program of the International Living Future Institute re-imagines the design and construction of products to function as elegantly and efficiently as anything found in the natural world. Living Products are informed by biomimicry and biophilia; manufactured by processes powered only by renewable energy and within the water balance of the places they are made. Living Products improve our quality of life and bring joy through their beauty and functionality. Imagine a Living Product whose very existence builds soil; creates habitat; nourishes the human spirit; and provides inspiration for personal, political and economic change.