Fixperts

Selected by Jane ní Dhulchaointigh

As well as the more obviously inspiring examples of failure, I was really keen that FAIL BETTER should also include everyday failures—those on the scale we all experience every day, and often learn not to see anymore. There’s so much beauty and potential to be found here if we just slow down enough to see it.

I’m a passionate believer in the power of making and fixing in order to change our relationship with the ‘stuff’ of the world, and create a more laterally thinking, skilled society while we’re at it. It’s for these reasons that I’m a huge fan of Fixperts.

Like a lot of successful collaborations, it all started with an open conversation. James Carrigan, a designer and my co-founder at Sugru, couldn’t forget about how amazing it felt to help a local school kid by fixing a broken joystick on her electric wheelchair.

Daniel Charny (curator of the V&A’s blockbuster show The Power of Making) couldn’t shake the thought that fixing could be seen as a form of design, that it might have the potential to open up design thinking to a whole new set of people, and bring more meaningful projects to design education. They hit on a big idea. Life is full of endless, small failures, which most people can’t fix, or think they can’t fix. Designers and makers are full of potential —they have skills, confidence and they often love to make a difference. What if the people with needs could be paired up with a designer or maker? A fixpert of sorts? And so, Fixperts was born!

In the eighteen months since that conversation, design schools in ten countries have paired up with local community groups to work together on fixes. Many more individuals have been connected, and seemingly small problems have been solved simply, with incredible spirit, and often to life-changing effect. There are now almost 100 fix films on Fixperts.org explore what others have done, and if you like the stories, become a Fixpert yourself!

About Jane ní Dhulchaointigh

Jane ní Dhulchaointigh, one of the FAIL BETTER curators, is the inventor of Sugru (inspired by the Irish word for play), an innovative product that has been described as “21st century duct tape” by Forbes and was named alongside the iPad by TIME Magazine as one of the Top 50 Inventions of 2010. Jane was studying product design at the Royal College of Art in London in 2003 when she had her big idea. From that initial spark, she led a long and dedicated scientific development process to develop a brand new silicone that the user can form into whatever shape they like before it air cures into a tough, flexible, colorful silicone rubber. Used in this way, it can make all kinds of products safer, more comfortable or simply better. Jane is passionate about promoting a culture of fixing, creativity and resourcefulness, and sees it as an antidote to the throwaway mindset.