TRENDDESK http://www.trenddesk.com TRENDDESK is a boutique innovation consultancy firm. Its mission is to spur business innovation for a changing world. Fri, 17 Jun 2016 17:49:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.16 First Biomimicry Radio Show Debuted in Turkey http://www.trenddesk.com/first-biomimicry-radio-show-debuted-in-turkey/ http://www.trenddesk.com/first-biomimicry-radio-show-debuted-in-turkey/#comments Mon, 16 Nov 2015 00:42:46 +0000 http://www.trenddesk.com/?p=1041 I’m happy to announce that first-of-its-kind biomimicry radio show debuted in Turkey. It is aired on ‘Açık Radyo’ (Open Radio) every Wednesday, at 2 pm. If you’d like to stay tuned, susbscribe to the podcast. Basic information about the program and its recordings are available...

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I’m happy to announce that first-of-its-kind biomimicry radio show debuted in Turkey. It is aired on ‘Açık Radyo’ (Open Radio) every Wednesday, at 2 pm. If you’d like to stay tuned, susbscribe to the podcast. Basic information about the program and its recordings are available on www.biyomimikri.com. This interview provides further info.

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Dünyanın ilk biyomimikri konulu radyo programı başladı; Türkiye’de ve Türkçe. Her Çarşamba Açık Radyo’da (94.9 FM), saat 14:00’da. Biyomimikrinin temelleri, 3.8 milyar yıllık tasarım prensipleri, doğanın stratejilerini hayata geçiren çözümler… bunlar ilginizi çekiyor ise Açık Radyo sitesinden programın ‘podcast’ yayınına üye olabilir veya www.biyomimikri.com sitesinden takip edebilirsiniz. Burada ise program ile ilgili daha detaylı bilgi yer alıyor.

Zeynep

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Time to do more with less http://www.trenddesk.com/time-less-2/ http://www.trenddesk.com/time-less-2/#comments Mon, 07 Apr 2014 12:11:56 +0000 http://www.trenddesk.com/?p=994 The recent turmoil that swept over Turkish political landscape had, and continues to have, significant consequences for business. For the third time in 10 years, since Turkish Statistical Institute’s tracking started, consumer confidence index (CCI) in Turkey dropped below 70. CCI measures how optimistic or pessimistic...

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The recent turmoil that swept over Turkish political landscape had, and continues to have, significant consequences for business. For the third time in 10 years, since Turkish Statistical Institute’s tracking started, consumer confidence index (CCI) in Turkey dropped below 70. CCI measures how optimistic or pessimistic consumers are with respect to the economy in the near future. Scores above 100 indicate optimism, which is something that business people like. Optimistic consumers tend to purchase more goods and services. It is assumed that increase in spending will inevitably stimulate the whole economy. Scores lower than 80 are indicative of significant pessimism. Such low scores mean that consumers do not feel secure about having a job, enough discretionary income, business growth and overall welfare.

For all practical purposes, the current situation is a crisis although it is not officially declared as such. Now it is the perfect time to look back and learn from similar periods in the past when consumer confidence was at the bottom. After all, in a developing country like Turkey, significant fluctuations in the economy are common occurrence. For example, Turkey went through a big financial crisis in 2001. Turkish Lira was devalued against USD by 28% overnight. The crisis stemmed from internal political dynamics rather than external disruptions. Nükhet Vardar, a leading academician and practitioner of marketing in Turkey, studied ten brands which were able to grow their business during these turbulent times. She compiled a set of valuable learnings in her book titled “Some More Courage: Story of 10 Successful Brands in the Crisis”. Although each brand had its unique journey to success, they all shared the same counter-intuitive business strategy: invest in marketing while going through the storm. This is in contrast to a more common approach to cut back on expenses and to treat marketing as a “luxury” during uncertain times.

Possibly the best summary of the nature of such investments came from Steve Cannon, VP of Marketing at Mercedes Benz: “Just spend smarter not harder”. Mercedes Benz is one of the few companies that thrived during the recession that started in 2008. By consistently investing in its brand, Mercedes Benz was able to grow its sales 15% in 2009. “The recession has been good for us”, says Cannon. “The process of branding should not magically stop during a downturn. Customers and prospects are still forming opinions and gathering experiences whether you’re proactively managing your brand or not.” he adds. The key is to identify and focus on what is important in terms of target market and key message.

Brands need to focus in order to make the best out of every marketing dollar. This is even more critical in turbulent times. Each unit of resource, whether financial or human, has to be invested with maximum efficiency and effectiveness in mind. Taking the right decision as to which consumer groups to target and how to reach those groups with the most relevant messages and marketing initiatives becomes a top priority. At TRENDDESK, we have developed a step-by-step process to help management teams with this decision. The process is called “I.D.E.A.S.” and it brings together qualitative and quantitative marketing research, future trends, ideation and design thinking. By drawing on a rich skill and tool set, I.D.E.A.S. goes beyond conventional segmentation research. It results in a segment-based marketing plan and a toolkit that facilitate focused marketing thinking applied to the entire system (marketing team, sales force and distributors, creative and media agencies, etc.). More information can be found here. Please contact TRENDDESK for inquiries.

It’s time to do more with less!

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Biomimicry: Working with a Team of 10 Million Designers http://www.trenddesk.com/biomimicry-working-team-10-million-designers/ http://www.trenddesk.com/biomimicry-working-team-10-million-designers/#comments Fri, 28 Feb 2014 21:31:20 +0000 http://www.trenddesk.com/?p=976 Recently, I wrote about the basics of biomimicry at “AllDesignMag” – the exclusive publication of All Design Istanbul Conference. The conference took place this month and hosted well-known designers from around the world. This post is the English translation of the original article, which can be...

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Recently, I wrote about the basics of biomimicry at “AllDesignMag” – the exclusive publication of All Design Istanbul Conference. The conference took place this month and hosted well-known designers from around the world. This post is the English translation of the original article, which can be found here: http://www.trenddesk.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Biomimicry-article-for-AllDesignMag-condensed-PDF.pdf

Biomimicry: Working with a Team of 10 Million Designers

WHAT IS BIOMIMICRY?

The term “Biomimicry” is a combination of two words. ‘Bio’ means life. ‘Mimicry’ means to emulate. ‘Biomimicry’ is an emerging innovation discipline that learns from nature and emulates its forms, processes, and systems in order to create more sustainable designs. Consider learning non-toxic cleaning from a lotus leaf, low-energy cooling from a termite colony, ways of closing production loops from a prairie and collaboration strategies from a coral reef… possibilities are almost endless. It is estimated that there are at least 10 million species living on Earth. Each and every species is an expert in solving a specific challenge. Biomimicry is turning to our neighbors for solutions, understanding their strategies and applying them in our work. It requires a deep understanding of how life works, accurate biological information, methodological approach, teamwork, passion for change, and a lot of humility. Sometimes a breakthrough solution comes from a microscopic organism, not the magnificent tiger.

I can’t imagine any innovator, designer, engineer or business leader who would refuse to have a team of 10 million experts. Asking “how does nature solve this problem?” leads to unique perspectives and solutions, and it is no surprise that more and more companies, innovators, educators, and governments ask this question. Indicatively so, the number of global patents containing the term “biomimetic” or “bio-inspired” in their title has increased by a factor of 93, from 1985 to 2005, compared to a factor 2.7 increase for non-biomimetic patents. There are hundreds of application examples – products, systems and processes – which have become success stories in their respective fields because they can perform better with less, generating reduced or no waste. Let me give a few pioneering examples that have inspired others over the past two decades.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PIONEERING EXAMPLES?

The Eastgate Building is a shopping center and office building in Harare, Zimbabwe. When briefed by Arup, architect Mick Pierce studied the passive cooling principles inside termite mounds and applied them to Eastgate. Thanks to termite-inspired ventilation system, the need to purchase fuel-based, energy intensive air conditioning units was completely eliminated. Eastgate Building is able to provide a comfortable temperature for residents and shoppers despite huge temperature differences outside, between day and night. Savings within the first 5 years reached 3.5 million USD (Source: AskNature)

In Japan, the launch of 500-series Shinkansen train was a great source of national pride. The new Shinkansen could travel with a speed of 300 km/hour (200 mph), well deserving its nickname “bullet train”. However, there was a problem.  As the train traveled through a narrow tunnel, speed forced an atmospheric pressure wave towards the front, creating a sonic boom at the exit. The sound levels exceeded environmental standards. Eiji Nakatsu, an engineer with JR West and a birdwatcher, solved the problem by studying kingfisher’s beak and redesigning the front end of the train with the learnings. Kingfisher beak is streamlined, steadily increasing in diameter from its tip to its head. This shape reduces the impact as the kingfisher dives into the water, allowing the water to flow past the beak rather than being pushed in front of it. The bird is able to move from open air to water – a very different medium in terms of density and resistance – without making a splash. The nature-inspired Shinkansen train not only travels more quietly, it travels 10% faster and uses 15% less electricity (Source: AskNature).

In the 70s, Interface introduced the first tile carpet to the market in U.S. and soon became the largest manufacturer in the world. In the mid-90’s, Ray Anderson, founder of the company, decided to make the company an environmental success as well. He considered biomimicry as a way of achieving this goal. During a walk with Janine Benyus, Interface design team realized the difference between their carpet tiles and the natural floor. They realized that a surface that appeared homogeneous was actually made of unique parts, arranged in organized chaos. Just as no two leaves had to be same for the forest floor to appear homogeneous and beautiful, no carpet tiles had to be the same. The idea of unidentical carpet tiles and whole new product line called Entropy were born. Before Entropy, Interface had to throw away tiles that were not perfect or identical to the rest. By 2009, the company’s accumulated savings from waste elimination reached millions of dollars. Customers also won, as they had to pay 70% less for the installation, because the process required less time (Source: InterfaceFLOR Case Study, Terrapin Bright Green).

IS BIOMIMICRY A NEW DISCIPLNE?

One of the common questions is about the novelty of biomimicry. Is biomimicry really new? The thought of looking at nature for design inspiration is not new at all. It is ancient. Indigenous cultures pragmatically learned from species in their environments to come up with great designs. For example, polar bear digging habits significantly influenced igloo designs of Inuit tribes. Leonardo studied birds to design the first flight devices, which evolved into planes in centuries. More recently, in 1950s, Swiss engineer George de Maestral studied burr seeds to invent Velcro. What is new is the going beyond a few brilliant minds – the birth of a systematic discipline of learning and application that involves hundreds of designers, architects, engineers, scientists, educators, entrepreneurs, and architects from around the world. This is what I call the “democratization of nature-inspired design”.

The democratization of nature-inspired design was made possible by Janine Benyus and Dr. Dayna Baumeister – the two global leaders who have created and built the discipline. If we are looking for the first “spark” in biomimicry, it should be “Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature” book written by Janine Benyus in 1997. The book gained attension in sustainability and design circles in a short period of time. The ongoing collaboration between two like-minded visionaries led to a comprehensive methodogy in addressing design challenges. It led to Biomimicry 3.8 – an umbrella organization that consists of a not-for-profit institute and for-profit consultancy company that works with Fortune 500. Most importantly, it led to the first intensive, two-year master’s level program in biomimicry. Biomimicry Professional Certification Program trains biologists, designers, engineers and business professionals from all over the world who feel passionate about creating a sustainable future informed by life’s genius.

I have found biomimicry back in 2006 or perhaps biomimicry has found me. I was searching for ways of making my work more meaningful, specifically through sustainability. The moment I saw Janine’s talk on TED Conference, I knew biomimicry was what I wanted to do. The two-year, master’s level program started training its first cohort of 15 students in 2008. Upon graduating in this first cohort in 2010, I started teaching at the same program as the business instructor. Every two years we graduate a small group of certified biomimicry professionals from different countries, speaking different languages, excelling in different professions. The graduate class unites in the belief that nature has answers to the most pressing problems humans are facing today. During the program the students learn how to extract the right strategies from nature, how to best utilize such strategies to solve challenges, how to go beyond blindly copying nature’s designs, and how to work effectively in multi-disciplinary teams. Today’s problems are too complicated to be solved by one person or one discipline.

WHAT DOES THE WORLD NEED NOW?

In addition to teaching, I utilize biomimicry to empower management teams with different perspectives, answer business questions with nature’s strategies, and ultimately show to business leaders that an alternative route to success is possible. My work isn’t about product design. It is about business design. For example, collaboration is one of the main topics I focus on and learn a great deal from nature. In nature, species avoid competition and instead tend towards collaboration. There is nothing romantic or ethical about this choice. It is a pragmatic one. Competition is an energy intense strategy whereas collaboration enables engaging parties to achieve the most with minimum energy. In a world of continuous financial crisis, environmental degradation, and super-connectivity, smart business leaders are considering collaboration as an effective strategy. I work with management teams in triggering ideas for cultivating collaborative relationships, internally and externally. Open innovation is a specific topic I study from collaboration lenses.

A part of my work is to continuously ask and inquire about potential transformations that life in general, and business in particular, can go through. How are macro trends, such as urbanization, population growth and aging, global warming and digitalization changing the way we live and conduct business? What does the world really need and how can business respond to these needs proactively? How can we create and build the kind of brands that deserve to exist on this planet at this point in time, when the conditions for the continuation of life as we know them are at stake? Taking nature as a model guides me in answering these and similar questions. Change as an indispensable part of life, or a prerequisite even. Life has to continuously adapt and evolve in order to survive in the disequilibrium of Earth. Therefore, it comes very natural to me to be in biomimicry and to work with future foresights (or trends) at the same time. The more we understand what the future will bring, the better we will adapt

For those who are interested in more, here are a few suggestions. Developed by The Biomimicry 3.8 Institute, AskNature is the world’s first biological literature organized by function. I urge all nature fans to visit AskNature and start inquiring how nature manages waste, filters water, distributes resources… AskNature is a free resource. It is a great gift from Biomimicry 3.8 Institute to everyone ready for nature’s mentorship. Biomimicry 3.8 makes available a rich body of resources on its website. One can find several articles and videos for a self-guided, basic learning experience on Biomimicry 3.8 website. Finally, nature reveals design tips to those who spend time out, observe and ask questions with a never-ending curiosity and humility. I encourage everyone to go out and start observing nature.

News about typhoon-hit Philippines continues pouring in as I finish this article. United Nations appealed $300 million for the Haiyan Action Plan to provide supplies and services to those affected. So far, $81 million has been contributed by donors, including United Nations member states and the private sector. The direct impact on Philippines is estimates to be $9 billion. As consultant and activist Amy Larkin stresses, prices of goods and services does not include the environmental cost. In current economic system, we bear the environmental debt later; as typhoons hit Pasific countries, sudden floods hit Istanbul’s slums, drought hits farmers on Anatolian plains, or cancer rate doubles in a decade in big cities. As Turkey fast-forwards to joining the biggest economies in the world by year 2023, it becomes impossible to ignore this critical question: Will Turkey repeat the unsustainable growth model of the developed world, pursue “Crazy Projects”, and possibly become the China of the West? Or, will it leapfrog to a new understanding that reconciles economic growth with environmental health? I wish for the latter.

Zeynep Arhon,
November 2013

 

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It’s About the Attitude http://www.trenddesk.com/attitude/ http://www.trenddesk.com/attitude/#comments Tue, 31 Dec 2013 07:38:23 +0000 http://www.trenddesk.com/?p=959 This essay is written by Bobe Simovich, guest writer on TRENDDESK Blog. It is the first of his “Letters from The Silion Valley” series. Many articles, books and documentaries tackle “the phenomenon” of Silicon Valley. The authors commonly assert that its emergence as a beacon...

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This essay is written by Bobe Simovich, guest writer on TRENDDESK Blog. It is the first of his “Letters from The Silion Valley” series.

Many articles, books and documentaries tackle “the phenomenon” of Silicon Valley. The authors commonly assert that its emergence as a beacon of global technological creativity and progress was due to a confluence of several dominant forces at work: educational infrastructure (proximity to Stanford-Berkeley-et al. axis), private initiative (Hewlett-Packard, Xerox PARC, and other local pioneers) and governmental incentives. All of this is absolutely true. However, (as the author of this text dares to opine) none of it would have worked if it was not for a critical mass of people with an “attitude”. Such “attitude” was impeccably articulated by Steve Jobs in an interview in the 1990’s where he said the following:

“When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and you’re life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”

(Not to take away from Jobs’ technological, marketing and managerial acumen, the debate on what constitutes a “very limited life”, or any “life” for that matter, probably is more appropriately conducted on philosophical grounds.) But what’s striking about Jobs’ words – delivered with disarmingly staunch conviction (of course, Jobs has more than enough up his belt to back it up), and in plain language devoid of any flaccid pseudo-motivational buzzwords – is their unvarnished bluntness about what makes the difference. It’s about “the realization that you can build your own things”. Authenticity and simplicity of this message is extremely powerful.

Silicon Valley shouldn’t have monopoly over this sentiment. It seems to me that more people possess this innate ability-instinct – i.e., the capacity to realize that they can build their own things – than it is commonly believed. The instinct is there, but it’s often dormant, suppressed by a combination of various factors such as, family upbringing, parochial norms, or wider cultural and societal circumstances. Silicon Valley, and the US in general – with its “pioneering spirit”, the cult of individualism and the notions of “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” deeply ingrained into its national DNA – is probably one the word’s most fertile grounds for this instinct to blossom in an individual. However, there is absolutely no reason why such attitude-sentiment cannot be nurtured elsewhere. Its nurturing does not require economic stimuli, governmental subsidies or private investments. It does not require high technology either. Among all other necessary ingredients of economic progress, planting and nurturing this attitude – within the family, as a core unit, and the society at large – seems to be the most affordable one.

Bobe Simovich, Dec 2013

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Natural Connections http://www.trenddesk.com/natural-connections/ http://www.trenddesk.com/natural-connections/#comments Wed, 30 Oct 2013 14:16:07 +0000 http://www.trenddesk.com/?p=932 As a biomimicry professional, my perspective on change is deeply rooted in biology. I perceive change as an indispensable part of life, or a prerequisite even. Life has to continuously adapt and evolve in order to survive in the disequilibrium of Earth. Change happens at...

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As a biomimicry professional, my perspective on change is deeply rooted in biology. I perceive change as an indispensable part of life, or a prerequisite even. Life has to continuously adapt and evolve in order to survive in the disequilibrium of Earth. Change happens at all scales – from tiniest cells to large ecosystems and to the magnificent, expanding universe. Without change, Earth would be a boring place. The primordial soup would still be boiling. There would be no life. Or perhaps there would be no Earth at all because its very existence was made possible by the Big Bang – the change that started everything.

This is the sentiment that always makes me think about what is ahead. A part of my work is to continuously ask and inquire about potential transformations that life in general, and business in particular, can go through. How are macro trends, such as urbanization, population growth and aging, global warming and digitalization changing the way we live and conduct business? What does the world really need and how can business respond to these needs proactively? Being a biomimicry professional means using nature as a model. And using nature as a model teaches us how to appreciate and accept change. Therefore, it comes very natural to me to be in biomimicry and to work with future foresights (or trends) at the same time. The more we understand what the future will bring, the better we will adapt.

Future can be framed in different ways. Futurology or futurism focuses on the long-term future. As discussed by The World Futurist Society, futurists are primarily concerned with “three P’s and a W”, i.e. “possible, probable, and preferable” plus “wildcards”, which are low-probability, high-impact events, should they occur. If futurism is at the one end of the spectrum, fad spotting is at the other. Typically, we encounter fad spotting in newspapers weekend supplements or tabloids – “in/out” sections, “as seen on celebrity” pages, style tips, etc. Such content attempts to identify what is “trendy”, i.e., a phenomenon that has a lifespan of 6-12 months or so. At TRENDDESK, our focus is on 3-5 year horizon. We believe that this is the most crucial time frame for majority of businesses, large or small. Rather than making long-term predictions, we extrapolate current realities based on relevant pointers. We go beyond short-term trends but don’t reach for futurism.

Marketing can benefit from both future foresights and biomimicry. By definition, a brand has to go beyond present aspirations and preferences of consumers. It should try to anticipate what is ahead in the marketplace and take initiative to create it. Aside from a very few outlier examples, brand building does not happen overnight and therefore requires a well-rounded understanding of the medium-term future that the brand will live in. The link between biomimicry and marketing is even more interesting: Nature is an expert in communication and persuasion, which is a big part of marketing. We can learn a lot from other species in creating and building brands. And what excites me personally is creating and building the kind of brands that deserve to exist on this planet at this point in time, when the conditions for the continuation of life as we know them are at stake.

With this posting, I wanted to give you an idea of the topics we will cover in this blog. Stay tuned for new postings from the unique juxtaposition where future trends, biomimicry and marketing meet.

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