Sojung Kim and Joon Sang Baek
Department of Human Environment and Design, College of Human Ecology, Yonsei University, South Korea
Infrastructuring has been valued in the social innovation sector since it can support collaborations by connecting diverse actors and arranging resources. Setting collaboration as the goal of infrastructuring, we expect the collaborations of animals to be an inspiration for infrastructuring. Such attempts to apply natural principles to human societies are termed social biomimicry, but its practice and methodologies have rarely been studied. This research aims at understanding social biomimicry practice in the context of infrastructuring. To investigate the empirical social biomimicry process from a first-person perspective, we employed research through design (RtD) method. By designing and operating an open collaboration platform inspired by the self-organisation of social insects, we found that social biomimicry has limitations in address the relational and evolutionary aspects of infrastructuring properly. Discussing how such constraints of social biomimicry leads to challenges for designers, we suggest the necessity of methodologies to support designers.
Keywords: Social biomimicry, Infrastructuring, Research through design (RtD), Socio-technical system (STS)