Working Groups: Design Jam!

What is a Design Jam!?

After the working groups develop their nature-based design principle cards, they will host an event called a Design Jam! to give network participants the opportunity to learn the natural strategies they discovered and use their design skills and creativity to discover new ways of thinking about challenges in the built environment.

Each event will take place in the after-work hours from 5:30 – 7:30pm on one Thursday in their given month. Certificate of completion will be provided by Biomimicry Chicago for self-reporting 2 CEUs to relevant professional regulating bodies (i.e. AIA, ASLA, GBCI, etc)

Typical Agenda

5:30pm - Networking
5:45pm - Introductions, outline of the process, and showcase of research / tools
6:15pm - Design Jam! 60 minutes broken down into three (3) sections:

    • Discovery (15 min): read the cards and discover biology
    • Creating (30 minutes): come up with new ideas and sketch
    • Evaluating (15 min): teams describe their work and discuss how their ideas help create ecosystem functions for their project scale

7:15pm - Closing thoughts / synthesis
7:30pm - Adjourn

Learning Objectives:
    1. Define ecosystem services and give examples of its current application to the built environment;
    2. Recognize resilience and sustainability challenges in current business and community systems;
    3. Recognize resilient and sustainable systems in nature as represented by local ecology;
    4. Begin to look to natural systems as a reference for good design, decision making and strategic planning

Spread the Word

Suggested language to help get the word out about your Design Jam! event through social media:


Creating a new paradigm for urban resilience in the face of climate change (i.e. Food security, flood and drought mitigation, energy resilience, carbon drawdown, waste elimination, etc.)

    • Water blurb: In native ecosystems, water is a life-giving resource, not a damaging waste product. By reimagining our relationship with rainfall, we can create a built environment that provides clean water for inhabitants while minimizing flooding. Explore new ways of designing and building our world, one that incorporates ecosystem functions back into our built environments, by participating in our upcoming Design Jam, in collaboration with the Living Building Challenge Collaborative: Chicago.
    • Carbon blurb: Ecosystems regulate carbon and our climate as well as provide shade and shelter to ameliorate extremes in weather and climate, both at local and global scales. Explore new ways of designing and building carbon and climate regulation back into our built environment, by participating in our upcoming Design Jam, in collaboration with the [Partner Organization(s)].
    • Biodiversity: TBD
    • Materials: TBD
    • Community Connections: TBD
Short blurb:

It’s time to #ThinkOutside and explore a new way of building and designing our world, one based on nature’s blueprints! Join us for an interactive Design Jam! and learn how nature can influence your design process and set your career apart!

Longer blurb:

Designers are continually looking for new and innovative ways to create beautiful, livable spaces that are environmentally responsible and rooted in a unique sense of place. Increasingly, designers on the leading edge are looking to nature as a source of inspiration. This process of biomimicry disrupts traditional design thinking by offering new perspectives and inspiration for naturally sustainable, inherently resilient design. Discover nature’s innovation strategies and brainstorm new design ideas in an interactive Design Jam innovation session led by Biomimicry Chicago network leaders and begin to explore how biomimicry methodology can set your career apart.