design | May 29, 2013

Innovation Through Innocence: Neri Oxman On Inventive Design In Forbes

Design speaker Neri Oxman and her team at the MIT Mediated Matter group don't just mimic nature, but actually create designs that merge with the natural world—objects that grow and adapt to their environments. At the C2 Conference in Montreal, she discussed how her work starts with biomimcry and expands upon natural processes to create objects for human use. In a post-conference interview with Forbes, she states that her intention is to create products and processes that move beyond the traditional mantra of "better, faster, cheaper, bigger."

Forbes featured her tips on innovation in their article about the top speakers at the conference. Oxman's method of channeling innovation is to approach the world with a child-like innocence. The big innovations don't take place in a vacuum, she says. Nor do they come from solving a narrow problem. Rather, she's convinced that "being vulnerable" and "taking a different worldview" allows you be truly inventive and tackle new problems creatively.

One of Oxman's most recent projects, for example, was the development of a silk pavilion—created by 6500 silk worms. As Oxman said previously, her team studies the way silk worms operate in the hopes of applying the same process to 3D printing machines. Oxman doesn't design with a product in mind, but instead, designs with the intent of creating processes to change the world around us. She wnts to change the our relationship to material by harnessing the power of the natural world to solve humankind's most troubling issues. With goals such as these, and with mind-bending research developments coming out of her lab regularly, it's no wonder her keynotes are so intriguing.

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open data | May 28, 2013