Claire Janisch

Co-creator, Genius Lab

She has a master's degree in environmental process engineering, but Claire Janisch doesn't build dams. Instead, she focuses on how to produce things that don't make a mess in the first place. Janisch is the co-creator of Genius Lab with art therapist, Amanda Gifford. They have created aninnovation hub, which offers everything from environmental workshops for curious kids to seminars for businesses in innovative thinking.Janisch is also an independent consultant on projects for big business: at Eskom she looked at ways of cleaner production of the Duvha power station and at Nedbank, she completed an environmental products and services feasibility study. She tries to help different types of organisations � from factories and mines to conventional and organic farms � seek new ways to solve old problems, always integrating what she learns from one place to another. For example, it turns out that there's a lot a cow can teach you about ingenius factory design, such as eat green grass, make whitemilk with zero waste. It's this kind of holistic thinking � and making connections in different fields with different organisations and people � that genius solutions is all about. But Janisch is taking this all one step further. She's researching ways to design systems that are actually good for the environment She recently started on her second master's degree with the Biomimicry Institute in the United States, in which she is one of 16 people in the world who are studying solutions adopted by nature with the aim of imitating these designs and processes to solve mankind's biggest problems. As part of her studies, she's just returned from the Amazon. Soon, she'll be packing her bags for a trip to Costa Rico. Lucky for us, Janisch will be coming back to impart her genius back home. � Jane Steinacker

Lunch spot: Piggly Wiggly, Natal Midlands