By Suzanne Basra, Content & Internal Communications Manager at Ogilvy UK


When it comes to biomimicry, the design and production of materials, structures, and systems that are modelled on biological entities and processes, few are more in the know than Michael Pawlyn.

The Founder of Exploration Architecture, a design, innovation and strategy company focussed on using biomimicry in order to design high-performance buildings and solutions for the circular economy, Michael was central to the team that designed the Eden Project, and jointly initiated the widely acclaimed Sahara Forest Project.

A well-known TED speaker, Michael will be talking at Nudgestock 2018, Ogilvy's annual festival of behavioural science. Ahead of his talk, we caught up with Michael to talk about the biomimicry field and its relation to behavioural science.

For the uninitiated, what exactly is biomimicry and what does it allow us to achieve?

Biomimicry involves using biology as a source of inspiration for solutions that suit human needs.

Living organisms have evolved some wonderfully efficient structures and remarkable adaptations to resource-constrained environments. We can learn from these to create beautiful buildings that enhance people’s wellbeing, use less materials to build and less energy to run.

After working with some of the leading artists, scientists and consultants in the world, what do you see as the biggest future potential/opportunity that biomimicry can unlock?

We’re hearing more and more about the idea of a circular economy in which we can design out the whole idea of waste.

In my humble opinion, the best source of circular economy solutions is to look at the cyclical, zero waste characteristics of ecosystems and to rethink our cities and industries along the same lines.

What can the field of behavioural science learn from biomimicry, and vice versa?

Biomimicry is replete with persuasive stories about clever solutions that can move people across a threshold of scepticism.

Biomimicry can sometimes produce solutions that are close to technologically perfect, but won’t have a hope of success if their relevance to people can’t be demonstrated - behavioural science could help overcome this occasional impasse.

Can you summarise your Nudgestock talk in 10 words or fewer?

There’s a time for nudging and there’s a time for transforming.


Final tickets to Nudgestock 2018 on Friday 8th June are up for grabs here.

More from our Nudgestock 2018 speakers as we catch up with Mark Brooks on the psychology behind online dating here.