The Essence of Sustainability

What is left after you’ve peeled off the eco-groovy labels and unwrapped the post-consumer recycled-content packaging? Will the product underneath stand the test of time? Will the business you run survive the next recession? In a word, are they resilient? Resiliency is all about being able to take the heat, stress, impact, pressure, market changes,

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Road to Sustainability: You Are Here…

If the word sustainable reminds you of brown paper wrappers and clunky design, competitors are leaving you in the dust! They see the advantage of an approach that inspires staff, reduces costs, and increases market share — and are running with it. Where do these advantages come from? Almost any designer will do a better

The Noodle Scratcher

I was forced to wear a bike helmet when I was a kid. Our house was on a fairly busy road and my mom was (and still is) a total safety nut; a bad combination. What she didn’t know is that I tossed the helmet into the woods whenever I got beyond the view of


Quieting Our Cleverness

“But, why?” These may not have been the very first words I uttered as a child but, much to my parents’ chagrin, these were certainly my two favorite words to say, repeatedly, incessantly. To this day, they remain a daily inquiry. Not to say it’s a bad thing, I owe these two little words a

Idea Ecotones

After sitting and observing in my local park for several minutes, I was taken aback by the incredible number of edges that I noticed: cloud-shaped boundaries between plants, pockets of light and dark where snow gave way to dark soil beneath, trails of use and lack thereof. The more I considered these edges the more

Nature’s Business Plan

If you have a new idea for a business, conventional wisdom says that you need to write a 3- to 5-year business plan and then execute that plan. You want a business loan? Write a business plan. Want a grant? Write a business plan. It’s easy, of course – there are hundreds of websites and

The Year in Biomimicry: Mussels, Elephants, Water Bears and More

It’s that time of year again; time for the second annual Tommies, my 2010 kudos to the most impressive of recent bio-inspired designs or discoveries. As always, I will arrange the awards by the creatures that inspired the innovations, and invite any of the discoverers to have an Irish coffee with me at the Buena

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