By: Caroline Surret

My experience with Open Design+ has taught me several important lessons. 

Radical collaboration makes for impactful solutions.

Working with my team was the most joyful part of my Open Design+ experience. Throughout the process, we bounced off of each other, debated approaches to research and solution-finding, and grew a strong working relationship. Our team’s collaboration allowed us to think outside of the norm and work toward a better future for Duke, but collaborative action didn’t only exist within the team. In conversations with 40+ stakeholders, I learned the value of integrating as many perspectives as possible into the design process, and I truly believe that this radical collaboration led my team to lay the framework for an incredibly impactful solution.

Reflection is an integral part of purpose-finding. 

My team’s research was focused on the ways that students find purpose at Duke, and we learned that reflection is crucial to path-finding. This research insight has led me to reflect more on my own journey at Duke and I’m in the process of re-evaluating where I dedicate my time and energy. As I prepare to start a new semester, this reflective practice has been helpful in clarifying the courses and experiences that I want to dedicate my time to in the fall semester.

Negative feedback is good feedback too. 

The open design process taught me to turn negative feedback into opportunity for change and improvement. Throughout the design stages, my team was able to iterate quickly to address feedback, and we learned to love it. While it’s not always easy to hear, negative feedback is good feedback too. I am so grateful for the Open Design+ experience and all that it has taught me. As I look into the future, I am excited to integrate these lessons-learned into my personal journey at Duke and beyond.