Jay Harman, Biomimicry: The Next Big Thing

September 25, 2013

FOR RELEASE ON September 25, 2013
Contact: Lisa Radon, Communications Specialist
lradon@pnca.edu 971-255-5528
Becca Biggs, Director of Communications
bbiggs@pnca.edu 503-821-8892

Biomimicry: The Next Big Thing Inventor, Entrepreneur, and Futurist, Jay Harman on Nature Inspiring Radical Innovation

Portland, Oregon – September 25, 2013 – The MFA in Collaborative Design program of the Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies at Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) is pleased to present ”Biomimicry: The Next Big Thing – How Nature is Inspiring Radical Innovation,” a lecture by Jay Harman on Monday, October 7 at 7 pm in Swigert Commons. 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 learn 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 has founded 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.

About the MFA in Collaborative Design
A program of PNCA’s Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies, the MFA in Collaborative Design fosters creative practices that require collaborative, experimental, and interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving. Using design thinking and methodologies, students cultivate an entrepreneurial and critical approach to meaningfully address the emerging challenges of the 21st century. This distinctive program draws on the city of Portland and the wider Pacific Northwest expanse as a living learning lab of innovative and sustainable business, government, and community practices. Students work with mentors in dynamic teams to assemble and maintain networks of people, places, and artifacts (referred to as design ecologies), engaging in iterative design solutions as they respond to project briefs containing environmental, social, and technological challenges. The program is enhanced by a number of visiting artists, designers, and scholars, including recent visits by Kevin Carroll, John Fregonese, and Jonah Lehrer, among others.

About Pacific Northwest College of Art
As Oregon’s flagship college of art and design since 1909, Pacific Northwest College of Art has helped shape Oregon’s visual arts landscape for more than a century. PNCA students study with award-winning faculty in small classes. In the last seven years, PNCA has doubled both the student body and full-time faculty, quadrupled its endowment, and added innovative undergraduate and graduate programs. PNCA is now embarking on its boldest venture yet by establishing the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design as an anchor for the College’s vision of a new campus home on Portland’s North Park Blocks. Focusing on the transformative power of creativity, the capital campaign, Creativity Works Here, was launched in June 2012 with a lead gift from The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation of $5 million. PNCA’s new home will be a bustling hub for creativity and entrepreneurship, reflecting the influential role of art and design in our 21st century economy – both in Portland and beyond.

For more information: pnca.edu.