Biomimicry and cradle to cradle in product design: An analysis of current design practice

Erik Tempelman, Ingrid de Pauw, Bram van der Grinten, Ernst-jan Mul, K. Grevers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


In the field of sustainable product design, the use of nature-inspired
design (NID) strategies such as biomimicry and cradle to cradle has become
more widespread, resulting in a variety of nature-inspired products. Research so
far has studied NID on the basis of individual, key design cases and student
projects. This paper assesses the state of NID at nine companies that have
applied either biomimicry or cradle to cradle in product design. NID comes to
the forefront as a promising but challenging new design paradigm. Analysis of
best practice reveals that companies that applied a top-down approach, invested
in training and/or external NID-experts, set positive and ambitious design
targets, and included value chain partners early on in their projects were
generally successful in removing barriers towards project success.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-344
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Design Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • nature-inspired design
  • biomimicry
  • cradle to cradle
  • design methodology
  • product design
  • design research
  • Circular economy


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