Nav: Home

Biomimicry is a promising approach for driving innovation, study finds

August 04, 2016

A case study, "Biomimicry: Streamlining the Front End of Innovation for Environmentally Sustainable Products," shows that biomimicry, a relatively new field that seeks to emulate nature to find solutions to human problems, can potentially expand intellectual property, increase energy savings and accelerate product innovation. This case study, conducted by GOJO researchers, was recently published in Research-Technology Management (RTM).

"At GOJO, sustainability is a key driver of innovation and biomimicry is energizing how we create sustainable value for all stakeholders through new product development," said Tom Marting, co-author of the study and facilities and resources management director for GOJO Industries. "Nature is one massive field testing laboratory that has been operating for nearly four billion years. If it doesn't work in nature, it's not going to be around very long."

A cross-functional team of 15 GOJO employees dedicated 165 hours in workshop sessions on biomimicry, attempting to increase the energy efficiency and environmental sustainability of liquid soap and sanitizer dispenser pumps. Ultimately, four patent applications for novel dispensing systems resulted from the team's efforts with the inspiration for each system stemming from nature.

To determine the extent of the advantages offered by biomimicry, the biomimicry project's performance was compared to a similar pump development project GOJO executed in 2010. The preliminary data strongly suggests that biomimicry may offer real advantages in the front end of innovation for both improved innovation performance and improved sustainability.
  • Double the intellectual property -- with a greater proportion of the concepts from the biomimicry project converting from notices of invention to patent applications
  • Double to quadruple the energy efficiency compared to technology in the market today
  • Impressive results with approximately one-sixth of the personnel and financial resources


GOJO was one of the first Northeast Ohio companies to support a biomimicry Ph.D. fellow from the University of Akron. Co-author of the study and GOJO Biomimicry Fellow Emily Kennedy spends two days a week within the GOJO research and development department.

"This case study takes a closer look at how the GOJO team found inspiration from plants, skunks, blood circulation and other wonders of nature," said Emily Kennedy. "While, further studies are warranted to determine how and to what extent the results of the study are generally applicable, this study found that biomimicry is a highly promising approach and key tool to advance sustainable product innovation while providing a high return on investment.
-end-
About GOJO

GOJO Industries is the inventor of PURELL® Hand Sanitizer and the leading global producer and marketer of skin health and hygiene solutions for away-from-home settings. The broad GOJO product portfolio includes hand cleaning, handwashing, hand sanitizing and skin care formulas under the GOJO®, PURELL® and PROVON® brand names. GOJO formulations use the latest advances in the science of skin care and sustainability. GOJO is known for state-of-the-art dispensing technology, engineered with attention to design, sustainability and functionality. GOJO programs promote healthy behaviors for hand hygiene, skin care and compliance in critical environments. GOJO is a privately held corporation headquartered in Akron, Ohio, with operations in the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Canada and Brazil.

GOJO Industries

Related Sustainability Articles:

Assigning workers to new networks boosts sustainability
Innovation comes from people in different units who have new knowledge, and a new study about conservation organizations suggests encouraging employees to think and act outside network boxes from time to time.
People believe achieving environmental sustainability could hinder quality of life
Social wellbeing and community, not wider economy, uppermost in people's concerns over sustainability policies.
Study identifies way to enhance the sustainability of manufactured soils
Through its FABsoil project, the University of Plymouth -- in partnership with the world famous Eden Project and businesses in Cornwall, such as the Green waste Company -- is leading the quest to fabricate soils which could ultimately lead to the creation of custom-made, sustainable products across a range of locations and markets.
Sustainability-linked loans provide opportunities for chemical firms
Spurred by calculations showing that companies with a lower environmental impact are less of a financial risk, banks are beginning to offer cheaper loans if chemical firms hit agreed-upon levels of environmental performance.
Plainification holds promise for improving material sustainability
Researchers from Institute of Metal Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences proposed to advance material properties by plainification, which means tailoring stable interfaces at different length scales instead of alloying.
Newly proposed system of measurement could help determine community sustainability
A newly proposed system of measurement known as the community sustainability assessment system, or CSAS, could be used to define what it means to be a sustainable community as well as evaluate the impact of individual communities on global sustainability, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.
The living wage may help us achieve social and environmental sustainability
Paying a living wage could be a step toward global economic and environmental sustainability, finds a first-of-its-kind study by the University of Surrey.
Environmental sustainability should be inherent to dietary guidance
It is the position of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB) that environmental sustainability should be inherent to dietary guidance, whether working with individuals or groups about their dietary choices or in setting national dietary guidance.
The science of sustainability
Can humans drive economic growth, meet rising demand for food, energy and water, and make significant environmental progress?
For wineries, competition boosts profits from sustainability
An international study of small- to medium-sized wineries and vineyards finds that the more sustainability practices a winery has in place, the better its financial performance -- and the effect is enhanced when a winery perceives significant pressure from competitors.
More Sustainability News and Sustainability Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

In & Out Of Love
We think of love as a mysterious, unknowable force. Something that happens to us. But what if we could control it? This hour, TED speakers on whether we can decide to fall in — and out of — love. Guests include writer Mandy Len Catron, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, musician Dessa, One Love CEO Katie Hood, and psychologist Guy Winch.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#543 Give a Nerd a Gift
Yup, you guessed it... it's Science for the People's annual holiday episode that helps you figure out what sciency books and gifts to get that special nerd on your list. Or maybe you're looking to build up your reading list for the holiday break and a geeky Christmas sweater to wear to an upcoming party. Returning are pop-science power-readers John Dupuis and Joanne Manaster to dish on the best science books they read this past year. And Rachelle Saunders and Bethany Brookshire squee in delight over some truly delightful science-themed non-book objects for those whose bookshelves are already full. Since...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab