Student Life

Student Life

Business owners Rebecca and Katharine bringing real experiences to the ‘learning portfolio’.

Over the past few weeks our final year students taking the module; New Product and Service Development, had the pleasure of learning from guest speakers: Rebecca Marley; Founder of We Are Auburn and Fempowerment Box, and Katharine Paterson, Founder and Director of Karekot. This was facilitated by the lecturer – Nick Howey.

The module covers topics such as innovation, ideation, entrepreneurship, business models and funding as well as hypothesis testing, S curve analysis and pivoting of ideas, despite significant emotional and physical investment. Guest speaker Rebecca Marley of We Are Auburn and Fempowerment Box shared her experience as an entrepreneur, from starting with an idea and developing her business model, to the failures she endured. This was a great way to practicalise the module for students, as Rebecca’s business experiences are in line with the topics covered in the module. Most outstandingly is Rebecca starting out with a lingerie line to her current business. She realised the lingerie idea wasn’t working and decided to build a business out of the large following she built from the website (We Are Auburn), which aims at making women feel confident. Rebecca then further capitalised on her website to build her second business; Fempowerment Box. As earlier stated, these experiences in her business lends to ‘pivoting’, as she realised her initial lingerie business wasn’t working and ended it. Also, this is an example of entrepreneurship and ideation, amongst other topics.

Guest speaker Katharine Paterson showed a different aspect of business which included ideation, funding and hypothesis testing. Katherine is the Founder of Karekot, an innovative cot bed for babies and toddlers. Currently, the products are not in the market as they are in the process of hypothesis testing and funding. Katherine’s lecture especially practicalised innovation and motivation, as the product has taken ten years, from ideation to the current state of testing the product and seeking funding. One of the students, Jeanette stated:

“I love how much effort Katherine put into creating a new cot that no one else has done despite the ridiculous number of babies that die or get hurt due to older cot designs. It also made me understand that new products and services take tremendous time and effort to develop, and that it’s extremely important to persevere”.


The guest speakers provided a real sense of realism to the innovation process which underpins the module; New Product and Service Development. It was great to hear from them both and learn from their experiences. Lecturer Nick Howey stated:

I can’t thank Rebecca and Katharine enough for agreeing to talk to the students, they bring real experiences to the ‘learning portfolio’. These experiences are scalable to larger organisational contexts and it is well documented that most radical innovation comes from business start-ups as opposed to established industry incumbents.

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