meet our core network

beyond this core network there is a larger network of individuals locally and globally that we work with

claire janisch: founder and strategist  (ecosystems engineer)

Claire Janisch is a Biomimicry Professional, Sustainability Advisor, futurist and Keynote Speaker. As a Biomimicry Professional, Claire explores nature’s genius in diverse ecosystems and shares this new way of viewing and valuing nature through biomimicry expeditions, speaking engagements and teaching & training professionals, students and scholars. She also dives deeper into research for companies and organisations - translating nature’s blueprints, recipes and principles for the design of new products, processes & systems. She has worked locally and globally initiating biomimicry projects – one of which was a finalist in the European Greentech Awards in 2014. Claire has an MSc Chem-Eng in Clean Tech and is a both a graduate of (the first cohort) and a trainer for the Biomimicry Professional Program offered by Biomimicry3.8. She is the founder of and strategist for BiomimicrySA (Biomimicry network leader of the year 2013), Imaginature and Greenhouse Systems Development. Claire was selected in the Mail & Guardian's 200 young South Africans in 2009, 2010 & 2011 and was a finalist in the Most Influential Women in Business & Government awards in 2012.


justin friedman: connector and fundraiser (pollinator)

Justin has supported the biomimicrySA network since 2010. He has also recently provided support to Biomimicry3.8. His skills are in networking, fundraising, connecting and supporting the people who make biomimicry happen in South Africa. Over the past 16 years Justin has lived and worked in the UK, Europe, Asia, India, North America and South Africa. Justin has consulted on the development and licensing of brands for clients in the conservation, health & wellness, fashion, FMCG, personal care, and publishing fields. In 2006 Justin started Greenhouse in order to provide research, capacity building, stakeholder connectivity, strategic thinking and communication strategy for social entrepreneurs, NGOs', Foundations, Government Depts., aspirant ethical brands, eco-labels, CSI Projects, celebrities and artists. Justin founded the FLOW (For Love Of Water) initiative in South Africa linking Government, Corporate, Media and Civil Society through Design & Innovation in order to create lasting behaviour change. 


justin beswick: entrepreneurial innovator (superorganism)

Justin has been supporting and working with the BiomimicrySA network since 2011. His main function is in applying his innovative business mindset to the design and operation of our projects and finances. Justin is a high impact entrepreneur based in the Silicon Cape. He has a background in Biotechnology, Financial Analysis & Portfolio Management and the ‘school of life’ as an entrepreneur. Justin’s primary passion is where technology and biomimicry intersect. He also aims to enable others by transferring his fortunate knowledge and experiences gained from incubators, business competitions and business-startup learning’s to other aspiring entrepreneurs – with the larger goal of facilitating the development of entrepreneurship in his phenomenal home country, South Africa. Justin’s life philosophy is: Have Fun. Create Value. Change Lives.


gamelihle sibanda: support and communication (baobab)

Gamelihle, a Certified Biomimicry Professional, fuses his training in civil engineering (BSc Eng Honours), business (MBA) and biomimicry (CBP) towards creation of a sustainable world; where there is enough for all forever. A visual story teller and rapid ideator, his diverse skill set enables him to be an Engineer at the Biomimicry Design Table, where he integrates Biology into Design through abstracting strategies from nature to create solutions for human challenges. He co-developed the Biominga Innovation Model based on evolutionary strategies that nature has continuously tested and refined over the past 3.8 billion years. Where others see things that are and ask why, Gamelihle dreams about things that do not exist and asks why not? Gamelihle’s professional experience spans over 24 years in  over 13 countries working in various capacities; liaising with Governments, Infrastructure Authorities, Employers’ Organizations, Unions, Donors, United Nations Agencies, Universities, Consultants, Contractors and Communities on the policy, financing, feasibility, research, design, training and implementation of infrastructure and environmental projects in both rural and urban environments. Gamelihle also brings experience in documentary video production, TV/radio acting, adaptation to and mitigation of negative effects of climate change and facilitation of brainstorming and strategic planning sessions.


rob janisch: biomimicry nature guide and consultant (honeyguide)

Rob helps you discover the genius of nature in nature and at the design table. He brings his skills as a nature guide and biomimic to our expeditions and projects. Born and bred in South Africa, Rob has since worked in the wilds of Swaziland, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. He spent his early guiding experience in the Kruger National Park and surrounds as well as the Okavango Delta. He has spent the last 4 years in the newly re-emerging wilderness areas of central & northern Mozambique, specialising in the wildlife & birds of Gorongosa National Park and Niassa National Reserve. Rob has a fascination with all things living, wild and woolly, although he has also assisted various national parks boards with their social ecology development plans, and has a particular affinity with taking kids into parks to expose them to the wonders of nature. Recently, Rob has spent some time studying the field of biomimicry, and is inspired by the endless opportunities that nature provides for solving some of the world’s ‘Big Issues’.


shannon royden-turner: advisory and application (honeybee)

Shannon has worked with the biomimicrySA core network since completing her Learning Journey in 2012. Most of our big projects have had an urban component and Shannon brings both her expertise in urban design/architecture and her natural biomimicry and systems thinking skills to our projects. Shannon seeks to bridge the divide between technology and humans, between research and implementation, between disparate disciplines, between formal and informal sectors, and between natural and artificial [cities or towns] ecosystems. Contemporary responses to the planning and implementation of urban infrastructure in Africa tends to be driven exclusively by a technical agenda, often lacking an adequate understanding of the existing system and how it functions, resulting in increased social disparity and environmental degradation. African cities are often perceived to be disorderly and desperately in need of a new imposed order. Shannon sees existing African urban systems as filled with the unique wisdom of self organising and emergent systems, and seeks to find solutions that work with, rather than against, this wisdom. This is achieved through the use of integrative systems thinking, to facilitate participatory research, planning and implementation of new urban infrastructure in a way that ensures deeper levels of social and environmental justice. Shannon works with biomimicrySA on our Genius of Place and Bioremediation projects and seeks to integrate biomimicry thinking into her urban design projects.