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Design Thinking & Biomimicry Thinking Masterclass Cape Town

  • Soil for Life Constantia South Africa (map)

Hosted by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.

Facilitated by Dr Rael Futerman, Chief Learning Officer, Cartedo, & Claire Janisch, Director of BiomimicrySA, this masterclass combines the best of two innovation processes used for solving complex challenges.

Register through this QUICKET link

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The skills that make for a great design thinker —the ability to spot patterns in the mess of complex inputs, to synthesize new ideas from fragmented parts; to empathize with people different from ourselves—can all be learned.
— Tim Brown
We believe that the widespread adoption of nature-inspired solutions will catalyse a new era in design and business that benefits both people and the planet....Biomimicry represents the possibility of a revolutionary change in our economy, transforming many of the ways we think about designing, producing, transporting and distributing goods and services.
— Fortune online: 5 Trends to Ride in 2017


We are living in an ever increasing state of complexity and uncertainty. Technological advances and their impact on the changing future of work and study require new skills and knowledge.

Design Thinking is the essential ability to combine empathy, creativity and rationality to meet user needs and drive business success. The Biomimicry Thinking methodologies distil the most relevant principles from nature’s forms, processes and systems, and applies them to solving design challenges so that you and your business can benefit from an R&D lab with 4billion years of experience.

This hybrid workshop will teach the core skills of Biomimicry Thinking blended with the process and mindsets of Design Thinking. The focus will be less on the theory and more on the practical application and relevance to your work and our world. You will leave with transferable knowledge of design for complex systems, which you can apply in your workplace.


Venue: Soil for Life, Constantia, Cape Town

Date: 11th October 2019

Time: 8h30-17h00

Cost: R3000pp (discounted rates available for students, educators & NGOs)

Questions email:

To register: use this QUICKET link


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Design Thinking is a human-centric approach to complex problem framing and solving. It follows and iterative process in which we seek to understand the people’s real needs and aspirations, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems in an attempt to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding. It is a way of thinking and working through complex problems, as well as a collection of hands-on methods. Design Thinking is often referred to as 'outside the box’ thinking, as designers are attempting to develop new ways of thinking that do not abide by the dominant or more common problem-solving methods. This thinking can be applied to the design of new products, services, systems and business models.



Every so often an idea comes around that is a game changer. After we hear it and understand it, we never see the world quite the same ever again. Biomimicry is such an idea. Nature's forms inspire efficiencies beyond what we thought was possible. Its processes are cutting edge technologies. Its systems encompass the wisdom and genius of billions of years of experience in adapting to constant change on a finite planet. Discover why and how we are learning from and emulating nature for transformative innovation driving the future of technology and business. Don’t just think outside the box – #ThinkOutside. In the end, biomimicry has the potential to change our world- view as well as our world.

Biomimicry Thinking is a framework that is intended to help people practice biomimicry while designing anything. There are four areas in which a biomimicry lens provides the greatest value to the design process (independent of the discipline in which it is integrated): scoping, discovering, creating, and evaluating. Following the specific steps within each phase helps ensure the successful integration of relevant nature-based strategies into human designs.

While market research is often the driving input into most design processes, most radical innovations come from outside of the norm, be it visions of a possible future, completely unexpected connections and inspirations, or purely brilliant insights. In many ways, Biomimicry Thinking best serves radical innovation because natural models generally aren’t standard sources, yet nature’s strategies can provide very compelling future visions and brilliant insights, proven by 4 billion years of R&D.


Rael Futerman


Rael is a co-founder and Chief Learning Officer at Cartedo, an educational technology organisation focussed on soft skills development for the future of work. He is also a Programme Manager at the HPI d-school at UCT. As an educator, academic manager and organisational advisor/consultant his work spans academia, industry and public sector organisations, designing and developing innovation programmes aimed at developing participants’ creative confidence, management skills and entrepreneurial mindsets.

Claire Janisch


Claire is the founding Director of BiomimicrySA. As a Certified Biomimicry Professional, Claire spends her time exploring nature’s genius in diverse ecosystems and shares this new way of viewing and valuing nature through biomimicry expeditions and coaching– teaching & training professionals, students and scholars.She also dives deeper into research for companies and organisations - translating nature’s innovation and sustainability principles for the design of new products, processes & systems.

(Biomimicry’s) potential impact cannot be overstated. It’s clear that entrepreneurs who understand nature is a treasure trove of innovation, have an advantage in this Innovation Economy. Biomimicry will become part of the R&D processes at every major company.”
— Forbes
Earlier Event: October 7
Biomimicry in Africa Webinar
Later Event: December 12
Sacred Ecology - RedWoods, San Francisco