California Investment Network


Recent Blog


Pitching Help Desk


Testimonials

"This is the best money I've spent so far trying to attract qualified investors. I've attended several VC and Angel Investor events over the past year to attract investors and this site has attracted the most relevant and qualified investors so far. Thanks! ~ James Fitzgerald - ChainStar USA"
James Fitzgerald - ChainStar USA

 BLOG >> Recent

Stacking Functions Pattern [Permaculture
Posted on September 8, 2016 @ 03:25:00 AM by Paul Meagher

I am enjoying a new book by Shawn Jadnricek called The Bio-Integrated Farm (2016).

There are several reasons I like the book:

  1. He offers up new Permaculture designs for greenhouses, ponds, food growing systems, pest control and more.
  2. He goes into rigorous detail on how to implement these designs, often involving some math.
  3. He is practicing/teaching permaculture concepts in an academic context at the Student Organic Farm at Clemson University. The co-founder of Permaculture, Bill Mollison, was often reluctant to partner with universities for a variety of reasons; however Shawn has found a way to make Permaculture practical and innovative in an academic context.
  4. Shawn puts the principle of Stacking Functions at the center of his approach to Permaculture design. This is just one design principle in traditional Permaculture; however, it is interesting to see it being used as the central design principle.

Stacking functions is sort of like designing things so they can be multifunctional, however, the multiple functions are not so much a property of the thing itself but how it inter-relates to other aspects of a system. A pond, for example, can be designed as an aesthetic feature of the landscape but there are a host of other functions it could serve and when we design ponds so they serve multiple functions then that would be considered a good permaculture design or bio-integrated design as Shawn likes to call it. Shawn argues somewhat mysteriously that if your design serves 7 or more functions then it often takes off - requires less maintanance and leads to greater abundance. In the case of a pond, we could also design it so that is used to harvest rainwater. If we position it right we can also use the reflection as a source of heating to another building. If we populate it with fish we can harvest those fish for eating. If some of the fish we include are good at catching mosquitoes then it can help reduce mosquito populations. We can of course use the pond as a source of irrigation for crops. If there is fish poop in the water it can also be a source of fertilization as well. We can also use the heat from the water, run through hoses on a grow bench, to germinate plants. These are just some of the functions a pond can have and which they do have in Shawn's pond designs.

In my last blog post on Patterns of Innovation I discussed 3 patterns used to create innovative designs. I think we can add another innovation pattern called "Stacking Functions". Whenever we are confronted with a design task there is always the opportunity to consider whether we can add more functions to our design and when we do so we might hit upon a combination that leads to greater utility and less maintenance work and for that reason might be a design that is copied as a new innovation. I think we can go overboard and sometimes we just want a toothbrush to brush our teeth. Our tendancy, however, is probably in the other direction. We often underdesign by not considering other functions a design element might have. We don't place it in a wider context and consider the other functions it might have in that context.

To learn more a bit more about Shawn and the Student Organic Farm he manages you can watch this YouTube video:

Permalink 

 Archive 
 

Archive


 December 2019 [1]
 November 2019 [2]
 October 2019 [2]
 September 2019 [1]
 July 2019 [1]
 June 2019 [2]
 May 2019 [2]
 April 2019 [5]
 March 2019 [4]
 February 2019 [3]
 January 2019 [3]
 December 2018 [4]
 November 2018 [2]
 September 2018 [2]
 August 2018 [1]
 July 2018 [1]
 June 2018 [1]
 May 2018 [5]
 April 2018 [4]
 March 2018 [2]
 February 2018 [4]
 January 2018 [4]
 December 2017 [2]
 November 2017 [6]
 October 2017 [6]
 September 2017 [6]
 August 2017 [2]
 July 2017 [2]
 June 2017 [5]
 May 2017 [7]
 April 2017 [6]
 March 2017 [8]
 February 2017 [7]
 January 2017 [9]
 December 2016 [7]
 November 2016 [7]
 October 2016 [5]
 September 2016 [5]
 August 2016 [4]
 July 2016 [6]
 June 2016 [5]
 May 2016 [10]
 April 2016 [12]
 March 2016 [10]
 February 2016 [11]
 January 2016 [12]
 December 2015 [6]
 November 2015 [8]
 October 2015 [12]
 September 2015 [10]
 August 2015 [14]
 July 2015 [9]
 June 2015 [9]
 May 2015 [10]
 April 2015 [10]
 March 2015 [9]
 February 2015 [8]
 January 2015 [5]
 December 2014 [11]
 November 2014 [10]
 October 2014 [10]
 September 2014 [8]
 August 2014 [7]
 July 2014 [6]
 June 2014 [7]
 May 2014 [6]
 April 2014 [3]
 March 2014 [8]
 February 2014 [6]
 January 2014 [5]
 December 2013 [5]
 November 2013 [3]
 October 2013 [4]
 September 2013 [11]
 August 2013 [4]
 July 2013 [8]
 June 2013 [10]
 May 2013 [14]
 April 2013 [12]
 March 2013 [11]
 February 2013 [19]
 January 2013 [20]
 December 2012 [5]
 November 2012 [1]
 October 2012 [3]
 September 2012 [1]
 August 2012 [1]
 July 2012 [1]
 June 2012 [2]


Categories


 Agriculture [71]
 Bayesian Inference [14]
 Books [15]
 Business Models [24]
 Causal Inference [2]
 Creativity [7]
 Decision Making [15]
 Decision Trees [8]
 Design [37]
 Eco-Green [4]
 Economics [12]
 Education [10]
 Energy [0]
 Entrepreneurship [61]
 Events [2]
 Farming [20]
 Finance [25]
 Future [15]
 Growth [18]
 Investing [24]
 Lean Startup [10]
 Leisure [5]
 Lens Model [9]
 Making [1]
 Management [9]
 Motivation [3]
 Nature [22]
 Patents & Trademarks [1]
 Permaculture [35]
 Psychology [1]
 Real Estate [2]
 Robots [1]
 Selling [11]
 Site News [15]
 Startups [12]
 Statistics [3]
 Systems Thinking [3]
 Trends [7]
 Useful Links [3]
 Valuation [1]
 Venture Capital [5]
 Video [2]
 Writing [2]