Bethany Koby: Creative Pioneer

“Koby’s lecture drew tangible links between her background as a designer and an enterprising ambition to create positive social change. She identified a very real problem in society, one that I have been affected by myself (as somebody who considers themselves technologically illiterate), it was inspiring to see how her creative thinking and entrepreneurial spirit made ‘Technology Will Save Us’ a genuine possibility, empowering a new generation of young people across the world – amazing” Ricky Simmonds, Year 4 GMD

On 16th January 2018, designer and entrepreneur Bethany Koby kicked off the second part of the Design School ‘Pioneers’ lectures with a truly inspirational talk about her design career and explained how she became founder of one of the UK’s most successful start-ups this decade.


Bethany and her partner invented a huge range of coding kits and STEM toys for kids encouraging children around the world to make, invent and code at home and in school. Technology Maker kits have been fundamentally important for establishing the Maker Movement in Europe and the UK. The movement was spurred on by the introduction of new technologies such as 3D printing and the arduino micro-controller, alongside the opportunities created by faster prototyping and fabrication tools with the direct distribution of products online. We must not underestimate this stimulation to innovation – these new tools inspire invention in everything from computers to cardboard surfboards and synthetic biology for operations.

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“I was really delighted to invite and introduce Bethany Koby to the Pioneers Lecture series. The lectures are intended to introduce a whole range of diverse Pioneers – extraordinary people who have taken risks and explored unknown territories – individuals who legitimately can be described as game changers. Bethany explained that there are many ways that a designer can launch a business start-up – it does not have to be limited to starting your own design practice – creativity is fundamental to all new business.” Sarah Temple, DPS Course Leader.

Bethany’s timeline:

  • 2000 Graphic Design scholar at Rhode Island School of Design
  • 2003-2012 Creative Director at international branding and innovation consultancy Wolff Olins
  • 2012 Founded Tech Will Save Us with Daniel Hirschmann
  • 2015 Raised $1.8m investment
  • 2016 Produced Maker kits which raised $50k+ in crowd funding in just two days.
  • 2017 TWSU awarded Major Innovation Awards.

Outside of the UK, Bethany has pursued her commitment to international perspectives and innovation. She has led workshops at the social entrepreneurs school KaosPilot in Denmark and was invited to join Fabrica, Benetton’s creative research and development hub in Northern Italy. She also recently completed a Masters in Responsibility and Business Practice at Bath University specifically to inform and advance her work in design.

 

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