While humans now have the ability to order nearly anything at the push of a button, our over consumption of almost everything has unwittingly created a throw-away society. How did we end up in a world where we surround ourselves with short-lived or disposable items?
Frustrated by the realization that we don't fix things anymore, a young designer called Jane ní Dhulchaointigh embarked on a mission to empower people who want to repair and enhance their products rather than throw it in the trash and replace with a new one.
A big motivation for this journey was to educate and encourage those who may not see themselves as DIYers to use their hands and think more creatively. She bizarrely found herself randomly thinking, what if a space rubber that could mend and improve anything? A chat with scientists followed, and the rest is history.
The result was Sugru. Sugru is a moldable glue that sticks to almost anything and turns into a strong, flexible rubber overnight. The colorful putty will stick to virtually any material forming a strong bond to aluminum, steel, ceramics, glass, wood and other materials including some plastics and rubbers.
Upon first impressions, Sugru looks like Play-Doh with its vibrant colors, but this waterproof putty can be shaped around almost any object. The most interesting aspect of this creation is how almost everyone that picks it up will find a different use for it.
Fixing a frayed iPhone cable, replace broken appliance parts, pimp your games console controller or even creating a prosthetic leg for a chicken. These are just a few examples of the thousands of uses people have found for Sugru.
Like its creator, Sugru has so many different properties it often wears many different hats. But, she has a mountain of good problems to contend with. Ní Dhulchaointigh advised that her biggest challenge is scaling to meet demand.
"We are now stocked in over 8000 stores across the UK, US, some parts of northern Europe and South Africa and are just about to launch in France with a German launch planned for 2017. Going into retail apparently, helps us grow as a brand, but the work involved and level of investment is huge.
Still, it's been an incredible journey that she wouldn't change. Since its 2010 launch, Sugru has been sold in 165 countries and was even listed at no. 22 in TIME magazine's Top 50 inventions in the world.
Although over 5 million mini-packs have now been sold, ní Dhulchaointigh believes that the success is not just because the product's so good, but because of the feeling people get when they fix or redesign something to work better for them.
It's an everyday problem solving and a way for consumers to be more proactive about the things around them. This simple feeling that comes with modifying or fixing items with a small piece of putty should not be underestimated.
The online community appears to have taken the product to heart by showcasing thousands of different uses for Sugru on YouTube and the products website. Inventor and CEO of Sugru, Jane ní Dhulchaointigh, recently appeared on my podcast. We chatted about the impending rebel tech kit and how it is helping users with thousands of lifehacks.