Bio-Inspiration and Value Creation

What are the different aspects of bio-inspired design? Why is it so important to implement in our society?

Throughout this course, students are provided with knowledge and tools to answer these questions and form their own opinion about bio-inspired design. The course is all about shifting the mindset of students, changing them from reductionists to system-thinkers. They understand how to create value, now and in their future career.

Theory and self-reflection

The first part of the course focuses on theory and philosophy by discussing interesting articles and recently published books about all topics related to circularity and mindset shifts. Think about Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economy, Rutger Bregman’s Humankind and Inheritors of the Earth by Chris D. Thomas.

Circular Business Model canvas

After this introduction to system-thinking, it is time to put it into practice. It is very likely that most students end up in starts-ups or other businesses promoting innovation. But prior to the design phase, you need to understand the pains and gains of your potential customers. This is achieved by making a value proposition of a sustainable product by choice. Around this value proposition, students build a circular business model canvas that covers the entire development process, from key activities and partners to resources and distribution.  

Life-Cycle Analysis

The final weeks of the course are designated to develop a life cycle analysis (LCA). Making an LCA provides great insights in all the effort, energy and labour that goes into product development and increases the awareness of the value of products. Students team up with a classmate and together they choose a product or service that they want to investigate, from the extraction of natural resources to the end of life stage. We have seen a lot of great products and processes being analysed, including sunscreen, glass recycling, an IKEA couch and many more.  


Ecological Quickscan

Ecosystems services are benefits to our society that nature provides. As BII students and sustainability professionals ES are one of the ways you can demonstrate the benefits of natures to businesses. Measuring ES can also be used to determine the ‘value’ a piece of land produces and the value lost by changing land use. This section will teach you about ES and the frameworks that were used to produce them. Students will go on to learn how to use ESII – a tool developed to measure ES heuristically to measure ES within the city of Utrecht, contributing to an active body of data collection.