Looking for inspiration for your innovation? The AskNature collection of National Geographic’s Great Nature Project could be a good place to start. The AskNature photo gallery showcases eight of more than 1,800 sources of ideas for achieving desired outcomes described in detail at AskNature, which bills itself as “the world’s most comprehensive catalog of nature’s solutions to human design challenges.” Examples highlighted at the Great Nature Project range from tapping into leaf-cutter ants’ expertise in optimizing efficiency in resource accession and transportation to analyzing earthworms’ ability to move through tight spaces. When you’ve exhausted those, you can turn to AskNature itself, where a handy interactive allows you to enter your customized question — say, “How does nature create strong yet flexible structures?” — and see what the collection has to offer in terms of potential solutions previously invented by plants, animals and other living things. View Ensia homepage

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