To propose a bio-inspired design framework reimagining the value chain as a self-sustaining system of processes which can thrive in its dynamic environment.
This paper attempts to summarize existing Biologically Inspired Design (BID) knowledge into a process and systems design framework. The concept of the value chain is reimagined in a bio-inspired manner. The motive is to promote a sustainable and profitable methodology for large, complex value-producing processes and business units. Biological analogies between a cell and a business unit are promoted throughout the paper in the form of real life examples for clarity of thought and direction.
As BID takes mainstream attention among innovators, inventors and designers; it becomes paramount to apply the same thinking to the linear value chain, to modernize and adapt it better to a circular economy. While there are an unlimited number of singular applications which bio-mimics will be able to distill from the fascinating processes of nature, there are some reemergent themes which can prove to be helpful on the organizational and functional level.
This framework tries to take inspiration from the building blocks of nature to distill biological techniques to navigate organizational tradeoffs. The core of the framework is inspired by the working of single celled organisms. For simplifying purposes, we will be using a eukaryoticcell as our foundational base. A eukaryote is a type of cell with defined DNA material stored in a nucleus which presents itself along with various organelles for information and energy processing. The size of a cell highly influences the level of specialization expressed in various inter-cellular processes, and this is an intimate relationship between the cell and any value chain.
One of the objectives was to make the system, just like organization of cells, have no limit on the scale of operations. This means that the methods outlined in this paper should be equally applicable for any size of organization. Where a singular cell would represent one functional unit of life, multiple would represent various organs and even the whole body of the organism. As such, smaller value chains can be part of bigger ones, and multiple could represent a whole ecosystem or an economy.