WEBINAR: Using Nature to Inspire Design

Webinar recording coming soon!

Biomimicry is innovation inspired by nature, and its implementation isn’t just a good idea, it is a roadmap to a thriving economy and environment. Natural systems offer over 3 billion years of R&D and can bring insight to solving challenges. Everything that exists in the natural world has a strategy that works, and learning from biological systems can lead to greater innovation and enhanced sustainability. 

With nature as a guide, biomimicry can help companies and organizations design applications or products that use less energy, consume fewer resources, and generate less material waste. Inviting biology to the design/solutions process instantly opens the way to look for creative solutions.

During the April webinar, attendees heard examples and Great Lakes case studies that sparked creative thought for solving human challenges from nature-inspired design, and why this kind of innovation is important. 


Trisha Brown, Co-Director, Great Lakes Biomimicry

Trisha is Program Manager at Ohio Aerospace Institute (OAI) and Co-Director of Great Lakes Biomimicry (GLB), a subsidiary of OAI.  She has been with GLB since 2015 in varied roles from business outreach, to finance, to strategic planning for the organization and innovation services for clients. Working with businesses, educators, communities, economic development professionals, environmentalists, and academics, she aims to create the conditions for innovation inspired by nature.

Trisha was with the Corporate Sustainability Network prior to GLB, helping companies utilize a forum for exploring and discussing sustainable action in their operations. Other positions include real estate development, advertising, and finance.

Carol Thaler, Co-Director, Great Lakes Biomimicry

Carol is Program Manager of Great Lakes Biomimicry, now a subsidiary of the Ohio Aerospace Institute.  She was a part of developing Great Lakes Biomimicry, starting 2012 in varied roles from administration and outreach to strategic planning for the organization and innovation services for clients.

In 2012, Carol completed training in Theory U, developed by Dr. C. Otto Scharmer of MIT. This practical social technology is a set of principles and practices to guide groups to collectively create the future that wants to emerge.  She completed the Biomimicry Specialist training in 2013. Carol has 25 years of experience in city and regional planning, natural area preservation, community master planning, land development review and organizing to reach sustainable goals. 

Peter Niewiarowski, Co-Director, Biomimicry Research and Innovation Center at the University of Akron

Evolutionary Biologist and Ecologist, co-director Biomimicry Research and Innovation Center at the University of Akron. Conducts research on ecology and evolution of amphibians and reptiles, especially physiology, biophysical ecology, and biomimicry/bioinspired design of gecko adhesion, and including research on methods and application of biomimicry.


Lora Shrake, Senior Program Director, Business and Sustainability, Council of the Great Lakes Region

Lora Shrake is the Senior Program Director, Business and Sustainability for the Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR), where she is working with a growing network of business leaders to connect across sustainability issues and support the advancement of cross-sector solutions. Some of the programmatic areas include circular economy, water stewardship, and climate change and decarbonization. She also facilitates CGLR’s monthly business and sustainability webinar series, providing a platform for knowledge sharing and amplifying regional best practice.

Lora’s career experience spans across non-profit operations, environmental program management, stakeholder engagement, strategy, and research. Prior to joining CGLR, Lora led a national green building council in the United Arab Emirates where she oversaw all aspects of the organization’s cross-functional development, including its impact and reach.

About Great Lakes Biomimicry

Great Lakes Biomimicry is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Ohio Aerospace Institute. We are a non-profit focused on accelerating innovation based on the solutions already tried and tested in nature. Since nature’s solutions are inherently sustainable, biomimicry can help meet Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals as well as net-zero operations and overall sustainability goals. 

About Biomimicry Research and Innovation Center

The University of Akron (UA) Biomimicry Research and Innovation Center (BRIC) is an internationally recognized leader in the rapidly growing field of biomimicry. BRIC is dedicated to connecting artists, businesspeople, designers, engineers and scientists to catalyze biomimicry-based innovation. Interdisciplinary research projects draw inspiration from organisms as diverse as ants, bacteria, birds, cacti, fish, flies, geckos, mussels, snakes and spiders to inform the development of permanent/reversible adhesives, building construction techniques, color-producing additives/structures, robotic actuators/control systems, thermal management systems, water harvesting/repellent materials and more. Beyond research, BRIC activities include training next generation innovators by developing and implementing undergraduate- and graduate-level curricula, promoting awareness of biomimicry through public seminars, and, accelerating innovation through co-delivery of professional services with Great Lakes Biomimicry. BRIC’s vision is for biomimicry to become a driver for sustainable economic development in Northeast Ohio and beyond.

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