Information Processing Theories of Biologically Inspired Design

Starting from in situ studies, we develop an information-processing theory of biologically inspired design. We compare our theory with two popular theories of biologically inspired design: Biomimicry 3.8 Institute’s Design Spiral and Vincent et al.’s BioTRIZ. While Design Spiral and BioTRIZ are normative and prescriptive, our information-processing theory provides a descriptive and explanatory account of the design paradigm. We examine if and how the process of biologically inspired design is different from that of other design paradigms beyond the differences between biological and technological systems. We posit that biologically inspired design appears to be a distinct design paradigm in part because it entails solution-based analogies in addition to the problem-driven analogies typical of other design paradigms.