By: Caroline Surret

The start of the create phase was incredibly intimidating to me. Given the nature of the open design process, our team was trying to make sense of all the qualitative data we’d collected while adding more every day. At some points it felt as if there was just too much information to process, but with persistence and a little moonshot thinking we were able to arrive at a solution that feels meaningful. 

My team is currently in the process of iterating our idea and collecting feedback from potential users, and it is now more than ever that I understand the value of open design methodology. In co-creating, our team is addressing a real need and creating a solution that has the potential to make lasting change.

In the understand phase of the open design process, our team became acutely aware of the role that connection and community play in facilitating purpose-finding. The create phase of the open design process is proving this to be true, in that the more I connect with students and create community around designing a solution, the greater sense of purpose I feel in the work we are doing. 

In our interview process, my team asked almost all of our interviewees either “When do you see students the happiest,” or in the case of students, “When are you the happiest at Duke?”. When someone flipped the question back onto me, I answered that I am the happiest at Duke when I feel like I’m a part of something bigger than myself. The create phase of the open design process is allowing me to feel that sense of involvement, and, despite the difficulties that come with this work, it is remarkably rewarding.