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Table 1 Definitions, disciplinary origins and organizational levels in chronological order

From: From innovation-as-usual towards unusual innovation: using nature as an inspiration

Definition Author(s) Terminology Disciplinary origin Organizational level
Studies nature’s models and emulates natural forms, processes, systems and strategies for solving human problems Benyus (1997) Biomimicry Natural resource management System level
A scientific style inspired by technological considerations and a fresh look at nature Bensaude-Vincent, Arribart, Bouligand, and Sanchez (2002) Biomimicry Chemistry Molecular level
A system development tool Rice and Martin (2007) Biomimicry Social sciences Systems level
Biological phenomena for inspiring solutions to engineering problems Mak and Shu (2008) Biomimetics Engineering sciences Conceptual level
Transfer from one or more biological examples to a technical system Sartori, Pal, and Chakrabarti (2010) Biomimetics Product design and manufacturing Product level
A source of inspiration and a toolkit for solving practical design problems Volstad and Boks (2012) Biomimicry Engineering sciences Industrial design level
An interdisciplinary scientific research that makes nature a new source of inspiration Habib and Watanabe (2012) Bio-inspiration Engineering sciences Technology level
The imitation of a product or process found in nature Rawlings et al. (2012) Biomimetics Biosciences Protein level
A field that seeks to interpolate natural biological mechanisms and structures into different applications Lurie-Luke (2014) Biomimicry Applied sciences Applicational science level
Varying levels of biomimicry (strong and weak) Blok and Gremmen (2016) Biomimicry Social sciences Philosophical level
Imitate general abstracted mechanisms that render many natural systems sustainable for long periods of time Troncale (2016) Biomimicry Systems engineering Systems level
Instantiation of progressive techniques Fisch (2017) Biomimicry Social sciences Philosophical level
The practice of human designers mimicking an organism, behaviour aspects of ecosystems Zari (2017) Biomimetics Architecture Industrial design level