Highway from nature

Every few weeks we’d like to share with you some inspiring future-proof business cases. This month we start with Roosegaarde’s highway from nature.

We would have loved to see faces of the people of Heijmans when artist and social innovator Daan Roosegaarde presented his ideas about a new smart highway in a management team meeting. What he showed to the board members of this Dutch construction company, is a video of jellyfishes dwelling in the ocean and changing colors with every light spark they hit. “This is more or less what I’m thinking about.” Roosegaarde said, leaving an astonished and flabbergasted crowd.

The highway Roosegaarde had in mind, was one that needed no lamp posts, but just several luminous solar stripes and sensors that will reload during the day and lit up by the lights of a car passing them. In this way, no electricity is needed to light up the highway in the dark.

The power of metaphors in nature

Highway from nature

This out of the box metaphor of the jelly fishes is a perfect example of sustainable business innovation. Inspired by nature and these slimy creatures in the ocean, Roosegaarde came up with a brilliant idea that wouldn’t just be another innovation. This one is multi-leveled, whereas it makes the lighting on highways sustainable on the one hand and it provides a new business opportunities for Heijmans on the other. At the moment it’s just 1km of highway close to the little Dutch town of Oss. But imagine the impact it would have if the whole Netherlands or even the whole of Europe would adopt this new way of lighten high ways. In terms of saving energy, creating business and jobs. Very cool and very future-proof!

The Blue Economy

Gunter Pauli is another amazing fellow who observes natural ecosystems to come up with sustainable innovations that serve the needs of the world at large. For instance, can you imagine making paper out of gravel from abandoned Chinese mines? This guy does it! No wood is needed, just gravel and dust. So all trees life happily ever after.

Gunter Pauli believes in the Blue Economy. This an economy of innovation, new solutions and using the already brilliantly designed natural ecosystems. All we have to do is observe and let ourselves be inspired by all possibilities that are already out there in this world, instead being held back by all that goes wrong in it.

Inspiring future-proof business

It’s a true classic, but in order to come up with new and inspiring things and solutions, you need to go beyond your own imagination. This is what these two guys did and how they created these future-proof business cases. Innovations that are sustainable, economically viable and overall very cool. We dare you to do the same!

Written by Tim de Broekert