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The Open Design Studio at Duke University is a collective of educators, students, and community partners who are learning, researching, and practicing an equity-focused design methodology.

 What is Open Design?

Open design is an equity-focused innovation methodology that foregrounds active inclusivity, transparency, and collaboration. 

Open design is used across social sectors (such as health, education, and economic development) to co-create solutions to complex challenges that have prohibited the ability of all people to flourish.

In a learning context, engaging in open design enables students to develop critical, creative, and courageous thinking skills and habits of mind necessary for a participatory and self-determined life.

Anchors and Stars:
The Guiding Values of Open Design

As anchors, these values ground our community and what we co-create. The processes and end results of our work must be fastened to these values in concrete and identifiable ways. These values are our first principles; they are the forces that root and connect us. As stars, these values are also aspirational; they form constellations that guide our paths toward transformation that we chart together.  

 Active inclusivity | We acknowledge that power inequities and discrimination manifest in intentional and unintentional ways that are destructive and inhumane. We are committed to co-creating solutions with people traditionally underrepresented in design and decision making processes, and to advancing inclusive and equitable communities.

Transparency | We strive for transparency in our procedures, strategies, and interpersonal interactions. We recognize that knowledge thrives in the open, and we are committed to access to information and to sharing what we learn and make by developing openly licensed resources for reuse and remix.

Collaboration | We actively encourage each other to accomplish our shared and individual goals, and proactively ensure that each member of our design community feels supported and empowered to do inspiring work. We understand that solving complex problems requires empathetic collaboration across sectors, disciplines, and lived experiences.

Four Iterative Phases of Open Design

UNDERSTAND | empathize + define

What are the needs, desires, and hopes of the community?

CREATE | ideate + prototype

What are radical ways we can build to share?

EVALUATE | test + iterate

What are experiments we can run to move forward?

SHARE | reflect + connect

What are we noticing, contributing, and communicating?