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Bio Brainstorm


The effects of climate change threaten all of Life’s interconnected systems. The need to develop effective adaptation and mitigation strategies is understood by many in the community but the uptake is not occurring quickly enough.

Team Lichen Learning, Biomimicry Professionals Jane Toner, Diana Hammer & Sue Okerstrom, worked on the premise that mobilising individuals and communities is more likely to effect profound societal change. If people have an understanding of the effects of climate change in their own locality and the adaptation strategies their community need to enact, they are more likely to support adaptation and mitigation strategies globally.

To support community organisations in advancing community engagement programs around climate change awareness, adaptation and mitigation and to connect people with their local environment, Lichen Learning explored the question “How does Nature learn (to adapt and evolve)?”


Our Bio Brainstorm involved systematically researching biological literature for 100 or so organisms to discover learning strategies they employed. From this, we abstracted design principles and deep patterns and then honed in on the champion adapters for each of those. The deep patterns for learning included:

  • Communication - information sharing, signaling towards alignment, networks and collective action

  • Direct Experience 
- practice, demonstration, play

  • Learning from Others 
- mentors, observation, social learning

  • Conditioning - change/adapt, progressive challenges, innovation and adverse motivation 

  • Cultural/Best Practices 
- passed across generations​

Crows_Abstracted Learning Strategy.png

Abstracted Design Principle for New Caledonian Crows.

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