Janine Benyus, a proponent of biomimicry in design and innovation, has won the Design Mind category of the 13th annual National Design Awards program sponsored by Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York. Benyus is the co-founder of Biomimicry 3.8, the global leader in biomimicry innovation consulting, professional training, and educational program and curricula development.
“It has been my privilege and my lifelong passion to bring nature’s wisdom to the people who design our world,” said Benyus. “Being honored by this creative community is a halleluiah moment for biomimicry—a coming of age for nature-inspired design.”
Benyus is a biologist and author of six books, including “Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature,” which introduced a broad audience to the concept of looking to nature for breakthrough ideas on improving products and manufacturing methods. In 1998, she co-founded the Biomimicry Guild, the world’s first bio‐inspired consultancy, bringing nature’s sustainable designs to more than 250 clients, including Boeing, Nike, General Electric, Herman Miller, HOK, IDEO, Interface and Procter & Gamble. In 2006, Benyus co-founded the Biomimicry Institute, home of AskNature.org, an online library of life’s best ideas. In 2011, she launched Biomimicry 3.8 to train, equip, and connect the growing network of biomimicry professionals worldwide. She has received numerous awards, including the 2011 Heinz Award, and was Time’s 2007 International Hero of the Environment.
The Design Mind award is given in recognition of a visionary person, such as an educator, author, critic, curator, or designer, who has had a profound impact on design theory, practice, or public awareness. The National Design Awards program, which was first launched at the White House in 2000, celebrates design in various disciplines as a vital humanistic tool in shaping the world, and seeks to increase national awareness of design by educating the public and promoting excellence, innovation, and lasting achievement.
National Design Week will be celebrated October 13-21, 2012. Benyus and the other nine category winners will be honored at a gala dinner Wednesday, October 17, in New York.
A jury of design leaders and educators from across the country, convened by the museum, reviewed submissions resulting from thousands of nominations submitted by the general public. Winners were selected based on the level of excellence, innovation, and public impact of their body of work.