Fully Integrated Thinking [FIT]
What happens at the intersection of data and design? For HOK, this question is the inspiration behind a process for innovation called Fully Integrated Thinking™, or FIT.
Created with Biomimicry 3.8, the FIT framework enables us to tap into the wisdom behind the natural, social and ecological systems of a place to inform design and decision-making. It allows us to find answers to today’s design challenges by emulating 3.8 billion years of nature’s genius.
Used on projects around the world, FIT provides an innovative new way to integrate multi-faceted design teams and project stakeholders to solve the complex challenges our clients are facing.
“Every design guideline that we need to plan the future already exists … in the bottomland hardwood forest and the tall grass prairie … Go outside. Quiet your cleverness. Listen to the lessons of the natives.”
Janine Benyus, Co-Founder, Biomimicry 3.8
The FIT approach accepts the idea that the solutions to our design challenges are all around us. When we think in a fully integrated way, we look deeply and critically into the systems of the place to guide our decision-making. In this way, FIT is what happens when we merge a deep understanding of the space (data) with design.
Currently being further developed by a global collaboration of designers, biologists and corporate partners, our FIT process identifies the questions we need to ask of our work to achieve more sustainable outcomes.
Every FIT project includes four characteristics:
1. Multiple Lenses
FIT projects address multiple integrated lenses that support a triple-bottom-line approach. These lenses include ecostructure, water, atmosphere, materials, energy, food, community, culture, health, education, governance, transport, shelter, commerce and value.
FIT projects go far beyond a traditional site analysis methodology to incorporate a deep understanding of the local ecologies.
3. Rooted in Life’s Principles
Biomimicry 3.8’s synthesis of Life’s Principles are at the foundation of FIT. Life’s Principles represent the evolutionarily successful characteristics of all organisms. If our designs mimic these principles, the spaces we create can adapt to perform and succeed over time.
How will we know if we are achieving a positive outcome with our work? Our world needs accountability and the ability to quantify the ecological, social and economic value of our projects. The FIT process establishes a framework for setting goals, benchmarks and performance indicators.
Beyond the Built Environment
While the idea of FIT began in the realm of urban planning and architectural design, fully integrated thinking has far-reaching applications. What does it mean to be a FIT organization? Could FIT help organizations break down the silos that inhibit integrated decision-making? We’re exploring a wide variety of applications for the FIT process. To learn more about bio-inspired organizations, watch this video from HOK’s FIT Gathering.