Saturday, January 11, 2014

Art of Science Learning Chicago Innovation Incubator

The memo on my desk seven years from now, I said in my Biomimicry Professional application, was from the mayor indicating I had been selected to solve the urban nutrition issue, using biomimicry of course, in the most forward thinking city in the universe. While I am very interested in urban nutrition issues, I know very little about them but have always wanted to know more. Today I joined 100 other people in the first day of the Art of Science Learning Chicago Innovation Incubator which, over the course of this year, will look to innovate viable solutions around the issue of urban nutrition. I am so excited!

While I don't think I'm on my way to becoming a true expert in urban nutrition or selected to lead any such effort in the near future, not only will I be learning a lot about the subject and meeting amazing people, but perhaps more importantly for the long term I'll also be learning about tools to inspire innovation through interaction with the arts. I am not sure that this could have come at a better time - getting a well-rounded education around inspiring innovation through Biomimicry Thinking AND the arts will allow me to figure out ways to combine the two and hopefully be even more effective in reaching/connecting more people to biomimicry.

Today we explored a technique called "metaphorming" which is the physical construction/creation/expression of an idea. We broke out into groups and used styrofoam balls, pipe cleaners, markers, magazines, tape, tin foil, etc. to create a representation of our ideas and concepts around innovation. My group's process was messy and evolving and didn't really come together until the end - but fun and definitely something to try again in a different context. It got me thinking - how could this process be incorporated into a biomimicry workshop? Or how else might the biomimicry community be able to use tools like this? There was this constant dialogue running in the back of my brain all day and I suspect as I learn more in both programs the application of each to the other will take on its own form. I encourage you to read about the activity at the link above. 

I'll let you know about my experience with this program and hopefully once we start innovating around urban nutrition I will be able to share ways in which I can bring some level of biomimicry into the process and eventual solutions.

Do you use arts to stimulate your creative innovation juices and facilitate those aha moments? Do you play music while you work or perhaps doodle while listening to a talk? How do the arts play a role in your right to left brain (or unconscious to conscious) communication in your own head? Do you practice these skills? Aside from nature journaling, how can we bring that (re)connection with nature into processes like these with at the individual or group level?

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