Meet a Maker - Technology Will Save Us
We were really excited to start stocking Technology Will Save Us kits, and it seems like you guys were too, they flew off our shelves over Christmas. The kits encourage people to explore technology in a fun and exciting way. We caught up with CEO and founder Bethany Koby to find out about their design-led, technology startup. Tell us about why you set up Technology Will Save Us? We started Technology Will Save Us in response to a couple of different things. We found a laptop in our bin and thought it was crazy that someone would throw a working piece of technology away. It really highlighted the role that tech has in our everyday lives and our relationship with it. We don’t really understand it, yet it pervades everything. Both myself and my co-founder Daniel were teaching at the time and were keenly aware of how long it takes for education to catch up with the pace of technology. The maker movement was growing and the world of creative tech tools was on the rise, we felt there was a need for a business that would empower the creator generation and empower parents while inspiring kids to make and be productive with tech in a fun and hands-on way.
How long have you been working together? We started Tech Will Save Us in 2012, just after our son was born. It started with just two people developing kits around our kitchen table and now there are nearly 30 of us in our mini-factory in Hackney.
What sort of kits do you make? We make DIY Kits that are inspired by everyday life, like gardening, cycling, gaming and music we think people learn more when they care about what they are making. We also have created an ecosystem to guide people through the making process with interactive guides and easy to access support.
Why do you think it is it important to introduce technology in a fun and creative way? It’s really fun to make things—it feels really satisfying to feel successful when you actually achieve something, especially with something like technology, which a lot of people can feel disconnected from or not in control of. I think the skills that our kits help people become exposed to are completely relevant in today’s society, and when you feel confident in making something your ability to see how you can apply that to other things grows exponentially.
Who are your kits aimed at? I think although we absolutely are designing for a particular young age group, there’s a whole generation of young adults that have not necessarily been exposed to these types of skills. That just hasn’t happened in a long time; the last generation that had any kind of programming or engineering in their curriculum was at least two generations ago.
Do people need to have basic tech knowledge to use one of your kits? Our kits alongside our resources on our website help guide people with little to no prior knowledge of tech. We would suggest starting with our DIY Electro Dough Kit, then moving up to the Synth or Thirsty Plant before moving onto our DIY Gamer or Speaker Kits.
What skills do people learn with a Technology Will Save Us Kit? Our kits will teach you all about the basics of making with tech, from coding to soldering to electronics. They help open a window into technology that is usually glued shut, our DIY Gamer Kit, takes you through the whole process, from soldering your kit together to coding your own game on it.
Which of your kits is a personal favourite and why? It is so hard to choose as each kit is such a labour love, I couldn’t choose just one. However, I never go anywhere without my DIY Gamer Kit it is so iconic and everyone is so fascinated to see how it works.
What’s coming up in the pipeline for you? We are only just getting started! The maker movement in the UK is still relatively young, we have lots of opportunities to continue supporting the growth and understanding across the country. According to the NESTA over 8M young people in the UK are estimated to have an interest in trying ‘digital making’, but only 130,000 such learning opportunities were available in 2014. We hope to help expand that opportunity and encourage learning at home around the kitchen table as well as growing after school clubs ability to support digital making.