I’m a biologist by training, and for the last 15 years have been involved in the practice of learning what the natural world has to teach us about design (a.k.a. bio-inspired design, Nature-inspired innovation, biomimicry). I’ve been fortunate to work with the modern founder of bio-inspired design (Janine Benyus) and as a bio-inspired design consultant to several large corporations. At Otis, I co-teach the course Science and Sustainable Design for juniors and seniors, a science-based examination of sustainable development issues, from the innovation and adoption of technologies to the systems in which these technologies interact in human and environmental settings. For the second half of the course, students learn about the fascinating world of bio-inspired design and use the methodology themselves to develop a design concept to address a real-world challenge.

In addition to teaching at Otis, I run The Center for Learning with Nature (, a non-profit organization dedicated to integrating wonder and technological mentorship from the natural world into everyday STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) learning in schools.

I’m the author of Engineering Education for the Next Generation: A Nature-Inspired Approach (, the multiple award-winning curriculum Engineering Inspired by Nature, and a variety of other books and scientific publications on the conservation of wildlife.

Sam Stier’s Picture