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MFA Collaborative Design Lecture: Jay Harman
The MFA in Collaborative Design welcomes Jay Harman as part of the 2013-2014 Graduate Visiting Artist Lecture Series.
Inventor, entrepreneur, futurist, Jay Harman thinks big, outside the box but inside of nature. He is one of the world’s leaders in biomimicry research and development as well as founder of several companies that create industrial solutions that are clean and green and based on mimicking nature’s design solutions. Harman has just published his first book The Shark’s Paintbrush: Biomimicry and How Nature Is Inspiring Innovation.
Harman’s Portland lecture will focus on what he sees as the immense potential for biomimicry to change business as usual and create a shift from a resource depleting and pollution spewing economy to a clean and green economy. Entrepreneurs and scientists are turning to nature to find inspiration for future products, and how to build them in a way that is not only more energy and cost-efficient but friendlier to the environment. Harman has been at the forefront of this movement as a nature-inspired designer of boats, fans, pumps, propellers and mixers, and founder of several companies to bring these products to market. His book, The Shark’s Paintbrush is equal parts memoir, explanation of biomimicry breakthroughs, and business advice.
A native of Australia and now a U.S. citizen working out of San Rafael, California, Harman is a gifted storyteller and successful businessman. Best selling author Paul Hawken says of Harman and The Shark’s Paintbrush, “Imagine Indiana Jones, Huckleberry Finn, and Erasmus Darwin rolled into one person, and you will have some sense of what it is like to roam and see the world through Jay Harman’s biomimetic eyes.”
Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, manufacturers have built things by a process now known as “heat, beat, and treat.” They’d start with a raw material, use enormous amounts of energy to heat it, twist it into shape with heavy machinery, and then maintain its design, strength, and durability with toxic chemicals. Harman encourages government and industry to consider biomimicry, to respect nature’s talent as the ultimate designer of more effective, efficient, powerful, profitable, and cleaner technologies not to mention profound biotherapeutic discoveries made by applying nature’s secrets to biotech and the business of public health. A force of change in industries as diverse as construction, biomedical devices and pharmaceuticals, transportation, and information technology, biomimicry is inspiring a new industrial revolution that will dramatically alter the landscape of the business world.