Beth Rattner: Exciting Opportunities Through Biomimetic Design [Ep. 132]

If you only have two minutes, click here for a highlight from the interview.

Beth Rattner is the executive director for the Biomimicry Institute, a non-profit co-founded by Janine Benyus. Beth directs the Institute’s strategic vision and mission to create a new generation of nature-inspired innovators and oversees the organization’s three programs: Youth Design Challenge, Global Design Challenge + Launchpad, and AskNature. She is a frequent speaker on how biomimetic design in products, cities, and agriculture can bring about a new level of repair and cooperation to our economy and ecosystem which in turn will spur new levels of social equity. 

Prior to this position, Beth worked with William McDonough and Michael Braungart on The Upcycle, the sequel to Cradle to Cradle, before she helped co-found the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute and became its first executive director and vice president. Beth was also a managing director for one of the first sustainability business consultant firms, Blu Skye, and business manager for Hewlett Packard’s Emerging Market Solutions (EMS) group. This HP internal “start-up” championed a new lens on providing technology solutions to those who earn less than $2 a day. The team launched HP’s first multi-user, daisy-chained computer for poorly funded schools and a solar-powered printer. The printer provided microfinance opportunities for women who brought paid photography to remote villages, allowing people to photograph their family events for the very first time. Beth is a graduate of U.C.L.A. and Loyola Law School and lives in Marin County, California.

Beth Rattner with old pup.jpeg

Some highlights from Kevin Bayuk’s conversation with Beth Rattner include:

  • A brief introduction to the field of biomimicry

  • How so much of what we depend upon in the chemical & materials world could be addressed through structural design

  • Examples of exciting products inspired by biomimetic design

  • How biomimicry is a perfect compliment to many of the solutions proposed in Project Drawdown

  • How the Biomimicry Institute can capture the genius of today’s engineers and designers to solve today’s most pressing challenges


Book: Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired By Nature

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LIFT Economy is an impact consulting firm whose mission is to create, model, and share a locally self-reliant economy that works for the benefit of all life.


Andrew Baskin, Partner & Executive Producer at LIFT Economy, specializes in regenerative ag-related enterprise and impact investing that advances the health of our soil, food-system, and climate.  You can email Andrew at


Kevin Bayuk, Co-founder and Partner at LIFT Economy, works at the intersection of ecology and economy where permaculture design meets next economy organizations intent on meeting human needs while enhancing the conditions conducive to all life. He is the Senior Financial Fellow at Project Drawdown and a founding partner of the Urban Permaculture Institute.  You can follow Kevin on Twitter @kevinbayuk or email him