Repairing with young product designers

We had an excellent day yesterday at Central Saint Martins, one of the University of the Arts London campuses, most associated with product design. We started the day with a lecture to second year students about what we have learned working with hundreds of frustrated electronics owners over the past nine months.

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Our top 4 messages to future product designers…

  1. Say NO to planned obsolescence“kill chips” and other tricks are simply unethical and no longer acceptable, and designers must push back
  2. Let us OPEN our productswhat difference does 1-2 millimeters make if we cannot open up our own devices?
  3. Make documentation accessible – or face an insurgent, service manual “wikileaks”, or crowdsourced, reverse-engineered manuals like from iFixit
  4. Longevity through consistency of parts – spare parts markets are so outrageous because manufacturers are constantly changing parts that need not change

The most powerful thing about The Restart Project is that we do not just talk. The students who attended our lecture all came immediately after to our Restart Party and began repairing their laptops, iPods, phones, and various other gadgets.

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Check out the photo album on our Facebook page.

Future product designers could experience first-hand all of the points we raised above – a powerful moment that we hopes empowers and shapes their work in future.

Thanks to Jane Penty of Central Saint Martins for hosting us, thanks to the enthusiasm of her students, and we hope to be able to return. If you work for a university, or are a student and would like to host us, please get in touch or comment below!

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