5 ways exploring biology drives creativity

Everywhere Jay Harman looks, he sees the same thing. In galaxies, whirlpools, nautilus shells, the anatomy of the inner ear, human skin pores, tornados, the structure of DNA, firestorm flares, even in the spacing and arrangement of our teeth, he sees a deep, deep pattern - the mathematics of spirals. “Every living thing goes through a liquid phase in its development, so it takes on the geometry of turbulence. Every living thing on Earth has this [spiral] geometry built into it,” says Harman.

Harman and his team of mathematicians and physicists at PAX Scientific are constantly working to adapt this algorithm to the industrial world where fluid dynamics is the key challenge, including wind turbines, fans, and impellers. The Lily Impeller is a particularly shining example that outperforms its competitors at churning water stored in enormous tanks by about 30 percent on average with a fraction of the machinery. It’s the geometry of the shape that does the trick, not the force applied.

These creative industrial product ideas were born from geometry that Harman was initially struck by and continued to observe in nature. It was the creative insight that the natural world had to offer that drove Harman to explore its potential in improving human designs. This approach to ideation is taken by creatives like Harmon from all over the world in all industries. They leverage the creative spark that learning from nature offers them for design, business, education… you name it.

Next page: Why creatives look to nature for inspiration and why you might want to do the same