Stop Fearing, Start Thinking: The Fixperts Social Project

We're lucky. I mean, really lucky. We live in a global culture of makers, imaginers, and inventors. Every single day brings with it amazing, new technological advances. But somewhere between the constant innovation and endless product releases, we forgot something important. We forgot how to fix. Worse, we started to fear it.

When did people start believing that stuff was too complicated or too far-gone to repair? Why would a society of creators fear the things it creates? The answer lies in design. Under the guise of sleek and sexy branding, manufacturers seal things up with glue. They make products that are disposable and unfixable. Consumers get psychologically bullied into thinking that repair is beyond their capability.

And we are compliant. We agree to purchase $600 phones every year. We accept that our clothes fall apart after a couple of washes.

But when we don't fix our things, we risk something far more vital than just the money in our wallets. We risk losing the ability to be thinkers.

Fixperts, a social project in the UK, is based on one simple idea: Fixing is thinking. It's a simple idea, but one that is more important now than ever before.

"We tend to forget that fixing is really a gateway to creating, making, building, and imagining beyond fixing a cracked drawer in a fridge," says London-resident and Fixperts' co-founder James Carrigan.

The last decade has seen a rise in organizations that share the same sentiment. Repair cafés and repair coalitions—groups like Mend*RS and Fixit Clinic—are popping up all over the world.

And these organizations—like our company iFixit, a free online repair manual for everything—want to help people foster their own independence, explore their stuff, and learn to fix broken things with confidence.

"Repair is global. People are hungry for this," Carrigan says.

Fixperts' goal: Feed the people. The social project centers on collaboration between designers and everyday people. And then sharing that experience with the world. Step 1) Partner an expert fixer and a person with a problem. Step 2) Solve the problem together. Step 3) Film the process for the world to see.

"When you have a maker connect with someone who is not a maker, you get this interesting sharing that happens naturally—because there is a reason to share," Carrigan explains.

Want to see Ben, a cycling paramedic in London, waterproof his medical equipment? Or Mr. Lui, a retired professor in Tonji, develop cat canteens to safely feed strays? Or even 102 first-year students at Brunel University work on 16 different fix projects?

The social project happens out on the street, in homes, and in offices—it’s even being implemented in schools. People who aren’t necessarily trained to fix anything, take apart everything. Fixperts is an opportunity to finally understand the complicated, scary technology that surrounds us all.

It's a fight against fear. It's a fight to be thinkers.

And with footage streaming online, you can be a part of those fixes, too. Carrigan explains, "The reason we created the Fixfilm, was to share with people the journey. You know, failure is part of making something and part of solving the problem. And a big part of what we do is to educate people and make people comfortable with failure."

That's the reality of fixing. Even if you're an expert, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. And it's encouraging to see other people—after multiple failures—try, try again.

"Quite often people experience failure at fixing for the first time—game over. And they aren't going to try again," Carrigan notices. But what happens when you don't accept "game over" as the answer? You fix something, and that makes someone’s life just a little bit better.

So how can you get involved? Watch some of the awesome Fixfilms. Call up your local school and tell them about Fixperts. Ask your best friend if you can help her fix her broken glasses. Look around your neighborhood and find out what can be improved.

"It’s literally unlimited with what you can do and who you can approach—if you're passionate," says Carrigan.

Grab a person, a camera, and start fixing, so you can finally stop fearing. And start thinking.

Image courtesy of Fixperts.

via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less

Villagers rejoice as they receive the first vaccines ever delivered via drone in the Congo

The area's topography makes transporting medicines a treacherous task.

Photo by Henry Sempangi Senyule

When we discuss barriers to healthcare in the developed world, affordability is commonly the biggest concern. But for some in the developing world, physical distance and topography can be the difference between life and death.

Widjifake, a hard-to-reach village in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with a population of 6,500, struggles with having consistent access to healthcare supplies due to the Congo River and its winding tributaries.

It can take up to three hours for vehicles carrying supplies to reach the village.

Keep Reading Show less
via Keith Boykin / Twitter

Fox News and President Trump seem like they may be headed for a breakup. "Fox is a lot different than it used to be," Trump told reporters in August after one of the network's polls found him trailing for Democrats in the 2020 election.

"There's something going on at Fox, I'll tell you right now. And I'm not happy with it," he continued.

Some Fox anchors have hit back at the president over his criticisms. "Well, first of all, Mr. President, we don't work for you," Neil Cavuto said on the air. "I don't work for you. My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you, just report on you."

Keep Reading Show less