By: Jonathan Browning

This design process has felt like a sprint since the beginning – perhaps that’s the point. But, even though I may have put more hours into the Evaluate phase than any other, something feels less rushed. For me, there’s been this release of tension that I didn’t realize I was carrying. Since our initial design idea – which I guess was only a week ago but feels like months- everything has been curated by myself and my team. That’s not to say we haven’t been trying to get authentic feedback but, in my sessions, I’ve been trying to present our solution in the best light possible – really focusing on the good and emphasizing changes when the bad (or at least, less polished) comes up. Switching to evaluation has allowed us to put our idea into the world and see how it comes across, without us explaining it step-by-step

Part of this is freeing, but part of it also pains me. I can no longer defend or elaborate on the idea when presented with criticism. It’s been hard for me to separate criticism of the product as different from criticism of myself. I want this concept to succeed but I know that solutions only get better when you face the weaknesses. For this reason, I have wholeheartedly embraced iteration because I know that it gets us ever closer to the point where we can say “This could actually make a difference in someone’s life.” 

I’ve learned a lot about using criticism, crafting questions, and evaluation in general. But, most surprisingly, I’ve also learned hard skills involving creative outlets I’ve never used before, including Canva and Photoshop. Open Design has opened me up to learning new skills on the fly and I believe my greatest impact has been in readily embracing these skills.