Innovator: Yves Béhar

Yves Béhar
Yves Béhar Michael Kovac/Contour/Getty

As founder and CEO of Fuseproject, Yves Béhar is known for socially responsible design—a $100 laptop for poverty-stricken children, a robot that keeps seniors company, a wearable sensor that measures exposure to ultraviolet rays. But the Swiss designer's newest idea really hits home: Tiny prefabricated houses that can be installed in your backyard. Ranging from 250 to 1,200 square feet, these “accessory dwelling units” cost less than $300,000 each and aim to address California's affordable-housing shortage. Made from environmentally friendly materials, they take a day to build and can be customized to suit homeowners' tastes and the local climate. Béhar, who is also planning an ADU for under $100,000, sees possibilities for them in suburban and farm areas too. But he knows he doesn't have all the answers: In 2015, he helped launch Spring, a startup accelerator that supports entrepreneurs looking to transform the lives of the estimated 250 million girls around the world who live in poverty. “If we keep [our values] in mind,” he says, “we can change the work that we do, the companies we work with, and eventually, together, we can change the world.”

About the program

We're saluting innovators who have developed creative solutions to the problems that face our world—pollution, economic disparity, war, discrimination and more. Say hello to the creative class of 2019.