Kingfisher, credit Charles Tyler

The Kingfisher has been credited with inspiring the shape of the trains used in the Channel Tunnel, an example of biomimicry.

Image: Charles Tyler

Does your business have a sustainability challenge?

The University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) and Business School are seeking Cornish businesses to work with a small group of students this May, to explore how to become a ‘firm of the future’ – a business inspired by nature.

Students on the Business Schools’ One-Planet MBA (Masters of Business Administration) programme are looking to solve sustainable business challenges as part of their studies.

Alex Huke, Research and Knowledge Exchange Manager for the Environment and Sustainability Institute, explained: “In these rapidly changing and uncertain times, business models that served us well in the past are often no longer fit for purpose. In order to survive and thrive into the future, companies need to rethink their models and management approaches. If you are looking to be inspired by nature to future proof your business, we can help you think through strategy, operations, supply systems, human resources and marketing.”

The One Planet MBA students have at least five years direct business experience and will be working on a four day module in May called ‘Biomimicry and Business: Innovations inspired by Nature.’ The module uses frameworks inspired by life principles to design smarter business products, processes and systems.

Alex added: “This is an opportunity for businesses to set the challenge. Our students will work confidentially and for free, they will help businesses identify practical solutions by exploring innovations inspired by nature and prepare a short report outlining innovations that could help create value in the company.”

The ESI is working with businesses and enterprises across all sectors of the economy in Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and beyond to translate research and expertise into innovative business practices, products and services in order to respond to the challenges of environmental change.  It has been funded by the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme (£22.9M) and the South West Regional Development Agency (£6.6M), with significant support from the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

For more information or to put your sustainability challenge forward please contact Alex Huke, ESI Research and Knowledge Exchange Manager, on a.r.huke@exeter.ac.uk or call 01326 255844.

Date: 7 March 2013

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