Mimicry Institute Vision Document (Draft) Published

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There has been a slight recovery from global environmental crisis depending on the relative decrease in industrial activities and transportation services and as a positive result of the world wide-ranging restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has affected the whole world since 2020....

VISION DOCUMENT (DRAFT)
MIMICRY INSTITUTE
2021

There has been a slight recovery from global environmental crisis depending on the relative decrease in industrial activities and transportation services and as a positive result of the world wide-ranging restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has affected the whole world since 2020. It is observed that the outdoor air quality has relatively improved, especially in China and Italy, canal waters have been cleaned in Venice, outdoor air pollution has decreased in Istanbul, etc., while global ecological conditions are slightly improving. These changes also provide an opportunity, which is too important to miss, for humanity to appreciate that seeking complete domination over nature, which faces fierce competition from humankind for a long time, is not a rational idea and to reconsider its relationship with nature, while they are revealing the signs of how irreversible the impacts of the current economic system can actually have on the ecosystem. In fact, it is clear that the ideas and examples, which are required for inclusive solutions and practical innovations to create a pathway to achieving this elusive goal in every areas of research, are found in nature and the types of life forms that it encompasses.

Today, various wondrous phenomena, fascinating models of nature, which still remains to be explored in depth, are already the topics of ongoing studies, such as the dragonfly's maneuverability that is superior to that of the high-tech helicopters, certain bees and birds that fly long distances to reach their destinations without a map, the bat's multi-frequency system that works more sensitively and powerfully than any radar device, certain frogs and arctic fish that comes back to life after frozen and even without any organic damage, chameleon and certain fish that instantly changes its color and pattern to camouflage, penguins and whales that dive without oxygen, luminous algae that combines different chemicals to shine, the leaves that perform the most complex chemical process through photosynthesis reactions, and minute quantity of DNA helixes that store huge scale of information.

Mimicry is defined as the act of copying of certain characteristics (sound, behavior, appearance, smell etc.) of a particular person or animal for many different purposes such as hiding or attracting attention, protection or intimidation, lure or repelling, survival or goal attainment as part of natural evolutionary process. Mimicry is a permanent way of life experienced both by plants and animals such as the stick locust, leaf beetle or mantis, and by many other species. It appears that the genetic structures of particular species that have a strong natural inclination toward the mimicry are more dominant over the other species in a particular population compared to those who do not. Those that are much more adept at dealing with mimicry acts have much more potential to survive and reproduce than the others. It is therefore likely to take root instinctively in their organism.

The “Nature“, from the very ancient times to the present, has had deep impacts on the life styles of all types of human civilizations both in technical and aesthetic terms. Observing and imitating the nature in the service of human life is an act as old as human history. There have been many inventions inspired by nature over the centuries. In the 15th century, Leonardo da Vinci, who designed the first "flying machine" based on his inspiration, which he would be able to find during his observation and research efforts about not only the body and wing structures but flight movements of birds, pointed that “Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.“ It was often, until 20th century, a common tendency shared by artists and architectures, who had strong propensity for natural beauties, either by drawing inspiration from nature itself or imitating it in a particular way even though they could build their works based on what they could only see. Today, however, natural forms can be more deeply observed and studied in all their aspects even at nano-metric scales in the domain of natural sciences through aesthetic, technique, optic, thermal, electrical, magnetic, organic, and even molecular perspectives. And the flawless system of organization of nature and its integral parts reveal their secrets as more and more details are reached. Recently, either high-tech outputs and advanced designs or scientific and artistic orientations demonstrate that nature has had a crucial role to play in history of mankind and in each step forward of humanity. Today, there is a more desperate need for nature itself and the lessons from which societies should learn how to live in harmony with their natural environment.

Today, growing importance of efficiency and sustainability of energy resources is forcing societies to return into nature. The Eastgate Center Building in Zimbabwe, which has the first natural ventilation system in Africa inspired by anthills, saves millions of dollars by reducing its energy consumption to 35%. There are already some ideas whether this project could be used as a model for the most hygienic forms and the most cost-effective ways of ventilation of large indoor spaces such as shopping malls, especially under the conditions like Covid-19 crisis. Although it grows in a watery environment with dirt particles and bacteria, "lotus flower" has incredibly self-cleaning characteristics, which already started to be imitated by some companies in their products such as stadiums, which are designed based on the "lotus formula" and marketed with the guarantee of staying clean for a long time without any need for maintenance. Scientists, in order to cut energy use and improve efficiency, are inspired by the feather arrangement of birds when designing aircraft wings. Engineers are inspired by the beak structures of certain birds in the design of high-speed train prototypes.

The ways and means that animals or plants use in satisfying their natural needs and overcoming environmental difficulties have led researchers and designers to understand and imitate nature in their searching for methods and designs. The term "biomimetic", which was coined by the American biophysicist, engineer and inventor Otto Schmitt in 1969, is a combination of the Latin (or Greek) word "bio or bios" (life) and the Greek word "mimesis" (imitation). It refers to creating designs or strategies by imitating life forms, such as animals or plants, and to being inspired by nature in satisfying the needs, solving the problems of human populations. Its first appearance in literature as “biomimicry“ is in the book titled "Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature" written by natural sciences author Janine Benyus and published in 1997. "Biomimicry", as stated by Benyus, who is acknowledged as the founder of modern biomimicry science, "is the conscious emulation of life's genius" that seeks to learn from nature's wisdom at each step of design, from the key idea to the test.

Biomimicry is already being acknowledged as an individual discipline, and comes to the forefront of interdisciplinary studies, in addition to its intermediary position as a bridge between many disciplines, especially biology, which are based on the principles of nature. Not only are dozens of others, including scientific meetings, forums and scientific textbooks provided in this field, but also there are initiatives, which are stimulated by the growing interest to the field, to establish research centers and institutes as well as departments of engineering or design in many universities. The underlying idea of certain other areas, such as bionics, biomimetic, biomechanics, bio-design, organic design, is to learn from nature's wisdom through biomimicry that inspires and guides researchers and designers for the sustainability of human life and civilization. "Inspiration", in biomimicry, is not only associated with forms of things, but also with their materials, structures and functions, which provides unique vision and innovative ideas while opening new horizons by offering different perspectives through the conscious emulation of life's genius.

The term used for all kinds of tools, mechanisms and systems designed by imitating nature partially or entirely, in a variety of fields, inspired by "natural models" is defined as "biomimetic" as stated above. Its reflections, as the world of the future is already being designed, appears in many fields such as health, science, art, industry, architecture, technology, nano-technology, artificial intelligence, robotics, transportation, and defense. Today, a common feature shared by a new wave of experts or designers, who develop products, solutions and strategies based on biomimicry methodology, is to be inspired by life itself, by respecting the observed designs in nature, researching its patterns minutely, and to produce innovative solutions for the problems of humanity. Humanity has learned a lot and continues to learn from nature or life itself as a model, measure, and method, which is a unique source of ideas as well as a wise mentor. Innovations, driven by the growing admiration of human for nature, are increasing, especially over the last decades, partly because of new discoveries about life itself.

Biomimicry, also known as "innovation inspired by nature", which is not solely about inspiration and imitation, is defined based on three variables of imitation of "forms or functions“, “natural processes“, and “natural systems“. Biomimicry regards natural forms, processes, cycles and systems in earth as a guide, by respecting for all life forms that it embraces, to solutions to the current problems of humanity, as well as a source of inspiration. For example, “sustainability“ is the top of the list of nature's ingenious solutions. Whatever is in its immense boundaries is constantly changing or evolving in uninterrupted way without any deviation from its natural order. Nature, which represents a tremendously impressive model and a constant source of inspiration and is essential to survival and reproductive processes of a very large variety of life forms, prevails the minds of people from different professions including scientists, engineers, designers, artists and even politicians. Nature engenders and maintains all its living forms, processes and life-cycles under the very natural conditions for billions of years, as the most ambitious work of art and the most inclusive R&D laboratory. So it is perfectly natural for humanity to turn to nature as a source of solution for all sorts of problems, from the simplest to the most sophisticated.

Scientists and experts from the professions such as management, business and organization have already started to show more interest in this biomimicry concept, due to the fact that the recent studies around it provide very effective results in design, engineering and especially in innovative product development processes. As strategist Giles Hutchins stated, conventional management and leadership rules are often ineffective in dealing with rapidly increasing political uncertainty, climate change, hyper-stress and disruptive technologies. So, as the importance of adaptation and innovation for businesses increases, there should be a paradigm shift from mechanical systems to those living ones. Hutchins considers that the mechanical and hierarchical systems based on the data such as optimization and effectiveness are ineffective in the current chaotic circumstances, so it is essential to construct other systems based on dynamic models of sophisticated relationships or biological networks, which can readily be observed in countless examples in nature and life itself.

Given the characteristics of today's successful managers, it is seen that they are expected to manage many serious and unexpected changes at the same time. The operability of existing leadership and management methods has become more questionable as the severity and scope of these overwhelming changes enlarge. Additionally, there has been a growing need for businesses and organizations to shift to inter-relational and adaptable systems inspired by nature in harmony with the laws imposed upon the life on earth by nature itself. There still remains a need for discovery, perhaps with biomimicry, which makes it possible for organizations both to create value and to make profit without doing any harm caused by fierce competition, and maintain their business life by taking inspiration from nature and prioritizing the humanity rather than economic growth.

In an ideal society, with a learning culture driven by high expectations, all individuals are expected to play a full part, think, question, research and produce. However, for this idealistic vision, they need to access an education system that encourages them to learn, question, research, produce and innovate, and that allow each of them to discover their interests and skills and improve them. Biomimicry, as a branch of science or an academic discipline, may help the individuals to develop their creativity and innovative thinking, which are the parts of the necessary skills for 21st century, by bringing them closer to nature and encouraging them to understand it from a different perspective. The incorporation of biomimicry courses into the school curriculum along with the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), which has become quite widespread in modern schools, will have a significant contribution to awareness building among the next generations as part of the efforts for a scientific and technological edge.

A Mimicry Institute is established as a first of its kind in our country not only to contribute to relevant national scientific or sectoral innovative efforts at collaborative events and meetings, but also to study and research about huge high-quality added value potential of biomimicry in all areas of life from innovation to recycling, from creativity to sustainability, from design to arts, from research to development, from production to marketing, from education to health, from transportation to defense and from management to strategy.

The Institute, which is an initiative by TASAM Turkish Asian Center for Strategic Studies, will begin its works by a team of experts with a competitive edge, including academics, designers/engineers and strategists in "biomimicry" and further expand its fields of work to the degree which it will be include science, arts, industry, business groups and public organizations.

Mimicry Institute aims to make academic contribution to creativity and sustainability aspects of social development policies and to develop national and global proactive interactions and suggestions about biomimicry-based design and strategy development. It also aims to make innovative contribution to enterprises in terms of competition in global markets, growing and shifting or repositioning demand, productivity, cost-effectiveness, profitability, as well as search for new markets and entrepreneurial growth.

The Institute also aims to make academic contribution towards the discussion of raising awareness on the basis of biomimicry and in the context of improvement of social development, in addressing production/management needs and problems, in addition to cooperation efforts as part of Turkey's innovative policy shifts, strategic outputs and interaction, and national capacity building. Mimicry Institute, which is planned to be established within the framework of these considerations, also aims to develop a systematic and proactive approach in order to identify and understand the current and possible high-impact changes in a more effective way.

The Institute will not only guide the discussions about the entire spectrum of research areas in question, such as providing solutions to the problems with technology, economy, society and politics, following-up and uplifting relevant international actions, sharing experiences, improving Science Diplomacy and Thought Diplomacy activities in particular, and being a "role model" in sectoral deepening, but also contribute to revealing the role and position of biomimicry, design and strategy instruments in development, raising a common awareness underpinned by various activities between Turkey and other countries, developing cooperation and increasing civil societal interaction.

The Institute, in this context, will provide certain services such as preparing periodic strategic reports on Turkey's partners and potential partner countries, providing research, analyze, information, coordination, organization and communication services. The Institute will also give report support to actions and activities planned by public authorities by analyzing more effectively the views of biomimicry and biomimetic experts, and sharing the emergency assessment executive summaries produced in times of crisis and tension with the relevant authorities.

The psychological threshold for Turkey to come out well over its regional and global engagements and to uplift and expand the scope of its international cooperation is sectoral and strategic deepening. Mimicry Institute will undertake such an important mission that meets the sectoral needs emerging in this context.

The Mission of the Institute can be introduced under 3 topics:

- Modeling studies on product, system, strategy and doctrine; developing training, interaction, and transformation programs based on these models; and processes (in collaboration with other actors such as public institutions, universities, other educational institutions, economic organizations, private sector, NGOs, media, etc.)

- Innovation, research and publications (which will be shared with local/global actors as part of activities) that will contribute to strengthening the vision of production, management and socio-economic competition.

- Sustainable events, both national and international levels (and all of which focus on sharing/improving the outputs of the vision developed by the institute), for biomimicry-based design and strategy development.

KEY AREAS OF ACTIVITY
Modelling (Product, System, Strategy, Doctrine)
Strategic Studies, Publications and Reports
Establishing and Maintaining International and Regional Networks
National and International Events/Trainings

MAIN TOPICS
Mimicry in the Realm of the Living Things
Biomimicry in Innovation and Inventions
Mimicry and Biomimicry Concepts
Biomimicry Science: An Interdisciplinary Bridge
Biomimicry Shaping the Future
Innovative Biomimicry Applications
Biomimicry in Ensuring Ecological Balance
Biomimetic Universe and Current Examples
Biomimicry in Science, Art and Architecture
Biomimicry in Education, Teaching and Design
Biomimicry in Politics, Management and Intelligence
Biomimicry in Security, Defense and Strategy
Biomimicry in Technology, Biotechnology and Nanotechnology
Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Biomimicry in Space
Biomimicry in R&D, Production and Energy
Biomimicry in Industry, Trade and Economy
Biomimicry in Business, Organization and Control
Biomimicry in Health, Sports and Transportation

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