LFKK10412U Innovation - Inspired by Nature

Volume 2014/2015

Throughout history, nature has continuously inspired humans to create better and new solutions to our problems. Among other things, it has inspired hunting strategies, modern technology, design solutions, business models, and even structures in social organization and communications. In the knowledge-driven societies of today and considering the big global challenges we face, innovation based on biology is becoming even more important in our transition towards a sustainable bio-based society. Innovation requires wedding multidisciplinary skills and competencies to imagination and thus demands that people from a variety of disciplines are brought together. This course will focus on innovative solutions inspired by nature in a multidisciplinary context. It will do so by bringing together both students and teachers from various disciplines, with different interests, and from a number of educational backgrounds (natural resources, biology, biotechnology, engineering, humanities, management, design and so on).

Students will work together over three weeks to develop innovative solutions to real problems provided by companies, non-profits, or governmental organizations. Selected partners from the service industry, private or public companies will challenge a group of students to create new solutions inspired by nature to a specific problem, process or design. Each group will meet the commissioned holder of their specific assignment a few times during the course. Facilitators will accompany the meetings and classes in general.

Learning Outcome

The course will enable students to manage innovation processes based on inspiration gained from the plethora of highly evolved biological functions, systems and processes found in nature. They will gain a basic set of theories and tools in innovation and design. They will be able to create, select and transform ideas into e.g. a prototype, new process, design or method based on a specific assignment and they will be trained in multidisciplinary work. This will be complemented with knowledge on commercialization and implementation strategies for the problem providers from private, non-profit, or governmental organizations.

After completing the course the student is expected to be able to:


  • Understand biology as a source for innovation
  • Obtain an overview of concept and theory of innovation managements, innovation process models, exploitation and exploration, and creation
  • Understand how to manage a collaboration process in a multidisciplinary setting


  • Read and interpret specific articles and textbook chapters
  • Describe and categorize biological solutions according to a specific assignment/topic
  • Distribute tasks and responsibilities in a multidisciplinary environment
  • Communicate ideas clearly, concisely and confidently in writing and orally to stakeholders


  • Find and explain the evolved solution of specific issues
  • Transfer biological knowledge into innovative solutions
  • Ability to discuss, evaluate and decide among creative solutions
  • Explain innovation models and use novel tools for innovative creation
  • Ability to make use of own and other persons competences in multidisciplinary work

Course material consists of selected scientific articles and book chapters. Students are expected to identify additional group specific literature.

It is a multidisciplinary course where you will work in a number of functions and draw on a diverse set of experiences and knowledge and therefore it is difficult to specify recommended prerequisites.
The teaching and learning methods will include: Lectures, e.g. on biological organisms and systems - keystone to inspiration, bionics methodologies and innovation process. Exercise and practical assignments, e.g. on team work and communication. The major part of the learning will take place during group work where the students will have to develop an innovative model and learn how to work in a multi-disciplinary setting and how to unite the competences and backgrounds present in the whole group. Each student will be assigned to a group beforehand by the teachers taking into account their interests and background. Each group will have representatives from various Universities and disciplines and each group will get a facilitator. In addition it will be possible for the groups to book consultant hours from a panel of teachers with different expertise. Furthermore, students will give and receive feedback on their project work and will practice communicating their ideas through intermediary pitch talks and final presentations on the development of their venture idea. Preparation: Reading of literature handed out before course start is needed.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 4
  • Guidance
  • 20
  • Lectures
  • 20
  • Practical exercises
  • 20
  • Preparation
  • 30
  • Project work
  • 120
  • Total
  • 214
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Written assignment
Exam registration requirements
Active contribution to multidisciplinary group work (reflection on group dynamics, the innovation process and communication)
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Internal examiner
Criteria for exam assesment

The assesment will be based the learning outcomes