Posted in Community, Repair Data Follow our work

Exciting new online developments to grow activity offline

From the beginning, we began logging repairs at our community events because we had a hunch the data was valuable and we wanted to understand what was happening at our ad-hoc events. In 2015, with the help of small seed funding from Defra and Wrap, together with The Engine Room, we built our original “Fixometer” software to log our repairs, and we began opening it up to other groups.

The Fixometer is our tool for measuring our impact

The “Fixometer” is our tool to monitor the growing impact of our community repair activities and those of our network of partners. It allows members of the Restart community to log fixes occurring at the events they run, capturing the environmental and social impact of their work.

Groups that use the software have told us it helps them secure small grants, because it helps them generate statistics about their impact.

Since 2016, we continued to improve the Fixometer software with support from the Shuttleworth Foundation, and we’ve been asking users how we can make it more useful.

Over the past months, with the support of Nesta and DCMS we’ve been intensively developing the Fixometer to help make data entry easier, to make it easier to use on mobile, and we’ve added some new features that help event organisers communicate with fixers.

We have come to think of the Fixometer as the engine that powers our event impact tracking tool. But we’ve also come to see it as a piece of a larger platform for those who want to participate in electronics repair events.

Evolution to our platform for volunteers

Starting up a local group is crucial to organising events, but we’ve been hearing from lots of people in the network that it’s too hard to connect with each other; Restart Party hosts sometimes struggle to find enough Restarters, people interested in getting involved can’t find others in their area, there’s nowhere accessible for everyone to share experiences and learn from each other and so on.

It’s still very early days, but we aim to make our new “Fixometer-powered” platform a central point of contact and reference for everyone in the network instead of being split across a bunch of different channels and platforms.

On the platform you will be able to

  • Participate in global (and local discussions)
  • Get notifications for events and RSVP
  • Find and join local groups
  • Create a profile visible to other fixers and event organisers so they can see your skills
  • Help improve our repair log after events – sharing valuable resources
  • Contribute to the Wiki

We want to help people who need a little extra support connect with people who have skills and experience as well as make it easier to find other people in your local area. It will also be a place to share useful tips and resources making it much easier to learn from other groups and test out new ideas collectively.

Ultimately, we think the easier it is for everyone to talk to each other, the easier it will be for more people to organise or attend more Restart Parties and have more fun doing so!

At the moment, existing users of the Fixometer and London volunteers are trying out the new platform in private beta, and we will make improvements before we release it as a public beta later this month. So watch this space!

2 responses

  1. dan lawlee

    HI, I think your scheme is a great idea and the repair of older electronic items, which when operating, had a longer life than the newer, ‘improved’ (sic) items that are so designed by the large conglomerates to have a shorter expiry life and ‘intergrated’ over bloated cost of spares to ensure that it is overwhemingly over cost effective to repair.

    1. janetgunter

      Thanks Dan! Hope you can join us soon, when the platform is opened up to new people and the public. We’re doing a lot of thinking about how to track the need for spares, and whether we are able to access them at a reasonable price. Noting: this is one of the issues that the European Commission plans to address with product standards, and will be central in the coming years/months.

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