By: Florence Wang

Wow. This week has really been a rollercoaster. Having been in this extremely divergent and “open” mindset for so long, it has definitely been a change in pace transforming into a convergent mindset and truly diving deep into the solution space. It’s kind of ironic because I’ve been aching to start designing a solution and now that it’s finally here, it almost feels foreign. However bizarre the beginning of ideating felt, I have experienced such a tremendous surge of eagerness and have developed an extremely anticipatory attitude towards what our team can create. 

For our first idea, my team and I have decided on a sort of “virtual Duke map” that has embedded zoom links on the map in correspondence with the actual events or academic resources that would normally occur in those physical spaces. We hope that through this idea, we can use a virtual platform to create a more realistic, “day in the life” experience for Duke undergraduates.

The “yes, and” mindset has been very challenging but at the same time, so rewarding. I think it’s easy to remain in one’s own perspective instead of considering all possible ideas, especially when working in a team atmosphere. However, this mindset encompasses the ideals of “open source” learning and truly working with and alongside our team members. By fully embracing this idea of “yes, and,” we have learned to build off of one another’s ideas and experience levels of creativity and innovation that wouldn’t have been possible before. It was also through this process where I felt the most impactful. It was rewarding to work with other people’s ideas and thoughts as a foundation of something great, and in turn, have that be reciprocated. 

My most memorable learning experience was affiliated directly with this idea of “moonshot thinking” that we were all encouraged to implement. I seem to be saying this a lot throughout the program, but at first, I was skeptical. How are these outlandish ideas supposed to help us come up with a feasible solution? Our goal is to be designing for the here and the now–why are we spending time on thinking about these impossibilities? However, through the design sprint and our own team brainstorming process, I realized that the greatest obstacle of the initial ideating process is letting mental barriers and fears of feasibility get in the way of creativity. That initial spark–no matter how fantastical or unrealistic it may sound–is the key to unlocking potential solutions that can truly address the greater implications of the problem at hand.