Series 14 – Episode 9 – Spotlighting sustainability: the 'Fight to Repair'

3rd May 2024
Paige West

Paige West speaks with Jude Pullen, Creative Technologist & Physical Prototyping Expert about sustainability and the ‘Fight to Repair’.

Pullen, whose background spans from chemistry to fine arts, initially hesitated to pursue a creative career. However, inspired by the television programme ‘Better by Design’, he realised that merging technical skill with creative vision was his true calling.

During the podcast, Pullen discussed several high-impact projects that leveraged technology to solve real-world problems. Among these, he highlighted his work on the ‘Big Life Fix’ series, which utilised cutting-edge technology to assist individuals with disabilities. This project, he noted, was not just about design but about creating meaningful interactions and enabling participants to lead the design process. This approach underscored the importance of designing ‘with’ people rather than ‘for’ them, an ethos that brought both emotional depth and technical innovation to the forefront.

Pullen's career has included collaborations with major organisations such as the BBC, Channel 4, RS Group, Raspberry Pi, and Lego. Each partnership allowed him to explore different facets of technology's potential. However, it was his engagement with RS Group on the ‘Fight to Repair’ project that particularly stood out during the discussion. This initiative focused on encouraging sustainability and long-term usability in consumer products, a timely issue given today's environmental challenges.

The ‘Fight to Repair’ project was born out of Pullen's personal frustration with repairing a pair of headphones. This led to a broader exploration of why many electronic products are not designed with repairability in mind. Pullen argued that creating products that are easier to repair is not just about environmental responsibility but also about smart design and business sense. The project explored the complexities of product design in the modern world, where sustainability should be at the core of business practices.

Pullen also addressed the need for a shift in how companies view environmental impact and sustainability. He suggested that the push for repairable products should extend beyond mere compliance with environmental standards to become a cornerstone of brand identity and consumer trust. This approach, he insisted, requires a reimagining of product lifecycles and a commitment to circular economic principles.

This conversation highlights a crucial turning point in the industry, where businesses are increasingly expected to prioritise environmental impact and sustainability. Pullen's insights suggest that the future of technology will rely heavily on its ability to reconcile with ecological concerns, making the design process not just a matter of engineering but of ethical consideration as well.

To hear more about the ‘Fight to Repair’ and much more, you can listen to Electronic Specifier’s interview with Jude Pullen on Spotify or Apple podcasts.

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