Brian Crotty has spent the previous 8 years as the lead project manager and operations director for Roundtree Visuals, an art consultancy firm in Emeryville, CA. He has overseen art and digital installation projects throughout the Western United States for some of the leading names in Architecture and Healthcare including NBBJ, HKS, KMD, One Workplace, Swedish Health and Kaiser Permanente. In both 2010 and 2011, the firm was named as one of the 100 Faster Growing Small Businesses in Silicon Valley. Most recently they completed the artwork and graphic panel installation for the Kaiser Permanente Flagship Hospital in Oakland, CA.
Additionally, Brian served as the Media and Technical Director custom digital media installations since 2009. In 2011, he coordinated the launch of a SaaS-based Digital Content Management and Distribution System. The software provides a centralized management point for a corporate brand, access to award-winning digital content and plug-and-play distribution.
In 2014, Brian became the Co-Founder and CEO of BioInspiration, a firm dedicated to Expanding the Organic Material Evolution. The firm developed after speaking with his Co-Founder Thorsten Perl about their common interest in alternative materials and Biomimicry. He has been able to pivot his management, marketing and production networks to this new industry – one that challenges our material selection to be compostable, upcyclable, harmless, innovative and resilient. In July 2015 they launched WillowFlex, the first flexible 3D Printer Filament made from Compostable Raw Materials via Kickstarter. (kck.st/1Omvd7R)
As a cross-disciplinarian, Brian occupies a unique role in being able to translate between the languages of art, design, digital media and hands on production to bring projects of all types into reality.
Brian has a BA in Communication and a Certificate in Art & Technology from Northwestern University. Originally from San José, California – Brian currently lives and bases BioInspiration in Eberswalde, Greater Berlin, Germany.
What do you do best?
Execute innovative projects that fall between traditional disciplines.
What makes you the best?
Over 10 years ago when I was studying at Northwestern University I was part of a multi-disciplinary program called the Certificate for Art and Technology. We were exposed to artists, creators, programmers and scientists who worked at the edges between those two categories. They speakers presented from direct experience how exploring the edges with their work created projects that truly pushed the boundaries and opened possibilities that were “invisible” before.
The cross-pollination of ideas and disciplines is the same current that initially drew me towards Biomimicry. Instead of learning from other disciplines, we are benefitting from 3.8 Million years of “in the field” testing by Mother Nature. And she proves time and time again that you can find the solution to your problem in nature with a correctly framed question.
Along with my Co-Founder Thorsten Perl, we take the proven approaches of Biomimicry and Cradle-to-Cradle methodology and apply those lessons specifically to the raw Materials that drive our production. We also concentrate on solutions that are decentralized (the Maker Community) because that is how Mother Nature works. We collaborate directly with the innovators and inventors, most of whom also already have the solutions developed, to create direct applications in products.
This wide view allows us to trace development trends and identify the achievable possibilities that can be translated into the real world.
How will you stay the best?
We are constantly monitoring the horizons, trends and market gaps to inform where we put our energy to develop next generation material opportunities. We partner that information with the clear material benchmarks that we set for our products: compostable, upcyclable, harmless, innovative, resilient.
This ensures that what we are offering is both at an equal or higher quality as the material it is replacing while adding an environmental awareness to the product. When those criteria are met, there is little room for failure because the core principles are so specific.
As a firm, we also have the luxury of maintaining an “agnostic” approach to our partners. We are not tied specifically to a single product or market, but rather to a goal of expanding the material offerings. This selectivity in both partner and product choice allows us to only work quality projects that meet lead us towards our larger goal.
As a firm we also intent to expand both horizontally and vertically, to grow “a business like a rainforest” – a full business ecosystem as Janine Benyus so aptly put it.
What are your aspirations?
Personal: I am the father of three children and my wife and I pride ourselves on maintaining a work-life balance that allows both us to spend time being an integral part of the daily life and development of our children. As a Start-up founder – that balance is not an easy task but it is our primary orientation. I intend to continue a lifestyle that includes 3-4 hours per afternoon just being part of my family and maintaining a calm daily life pattern.
Our three children will all learn outside of the school system. We have arranged our life so that my wife and I can give that time to our children, that we can share our knowledge and experience with our children. At home, I ultimately serve the supporting role to my wife who is raising the three day-in, day-out. But I love that we have come to a point where I can have an active role and daily look at how they grow and develop.
Business: BioInspiration is a young company, just having launched in 2014. Our intension is to have at least 2 offerings in each of our core concentrations (BioPolymers, BioResin, Wood, Fabric, Compounds, Processing) by 2017/18. Ultimately we want to become one of the primary locations for finding material alternatives and see a significant shift in industry towards cradle-to-cradle materials and business concepts.
What fascinates you?
Nature and her breadth of possibility. I love to explore her possibilities both by being in the outdoors and experiencing the wonder around me and discovering the intricate details through science. Returning to a circular method of living is in my eyes a key to rediscovering ourselves.
“All things share the same breath - the beast, the tree, the man. The air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.” ― Chief Seattle
Anywhere with a beach. The fresh, crisp, salt-water soaked air. The waves crushing onto the shoreline in rhythmic patterns. Bright sunlight warming my face and the sand around me where I lay.
I think distributed and collective learning are some of the most fascinating phenomena of our time. I love seeing the development of online platforms like Coursera, Udacity or iversity (here in Germany) and browsing classes and concepts that catch my eye.
I also love Thingiverse’s 200,000+ free downloadable 3D print designs. We are quickly reaching a point where almost anything you can imagine is available as a download as a model. And with recent integrations to 3D animators (such as the The Foundry’s NUKE ability to directly connect and upload to Thingiverse) the quality of the models will make a substantial increase in the coming years. I love seeing what things are becoming available and printing them!
I am also fascinated with the idea of distributed manufacturing and have been learning how to do CNC Milling and 3D Printing in the past year to directly apply to my work with BioInspiration. The idea that everything that you need to live can be made in your local makerspace is not far away, and I love being on the front edge of that movement.