By: Drew Flanagan

My team and I feel like we have a solid understanding of the user-based need during online learning: more intentional student engagement in purely academic spaces. To approach this user-centered issue, we think it might be best to cultivate a sense of “purposeful wandering” and experiential opportunities as these experiences, of which largely occur on campus and not in a virtual setting, are critical to student development.

Given a strong understanding of the user’s needs, my group was excited to go into week 4 and move into the “Create” phase. My experiences with the “Create” phase has been productive so far; however, it remains challenging to work with stakeholders. We have talked a lot about the “Create” phase involving co-creation with stakeholders. This is difficult though, especially given that many stakeholders have different views about the best way to design with the need in mind. Nevertheless, I am enjoying the open design process because it allows me to have an open dialogue with users and continue to re-think, re-build, and solicit feedback. 

I was initially resistant to adopt the “yes, and” mindset because I think contrast and immediate feedback are important when ideating. However, through my experiences in the program so far, I have come to see that the “yes, and” mindset creates an atmosphere where ideas can flow. In other words, no idea is stunted or challenged until the full process of brainstorming is complete. Then, once we have all the ideas on the table, it is more productive to narrow down and expand. Often, some of our best ideas were a more practical iteration of the ones that seemed too ambitious or nearly impossible.

This week, I feel like I’ve made the most impact in my team sessions. I have tried to keep an open mind as we go about creating while also pushing my team members to think further or helping to clarify our team vision.