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As innovations change societies and complex problems become more interdisciplinary, having representation of all voices is essential for flourishing communities. Key contributors to human flourishing include health, education, economic development and community development. Despite aspirations that innovation within these areas will transform humanity, human stakeholders have often been left out of research and development processes.

Design thinking and human-centered design approaches are gaining traction as effective ways to understand stakeholders. While these approaches to innovation are an improvement in integrating stakeholder perspectives, ultimately the reason for the integration is to make the solution more marketable. Though there is a heightened focus on how humans will interact with the byproduct of an innovation process, the process is not equitable. Traditional design thinking and human-centered design processes still turn humans into end users. What is needed is an approach to innovation that foregrounds equity and co-creation in processes and solutions.

Project Description

This project team aims to employ an equity-centered innovation approach to co-create solutions across social sectors, thereby elevating the voices of stakeholders who have traditionally been excluded from problem-solving and decision-making processes. Team members will engage open design through four phases with stakeholder co-creators:

  1. Understand: Empathize with stakeholders to define the needs, desires and hopes of the community
  2. Create: Ideate and prototype to find radical ways to build and share
  3. Evaluate: Test and iterate to determine which experiments can move forward
  4. Share: Communicate research findings

Team members will work in four subteams: 

  1. Education: Co-create culturally relevant and project-based computer science curricula for K-12 students)
  2. Health: Explore and improve healthcare experiences of youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities in various healthcare settings
  3. Necessity-driven entrepreneurship: Conduct landscape analysis and needs assessment of necessity-driven entrepreneurship ecosystem in Durham
  4. Community-based innovation: Co-create solutions to community-identified challenges with local partners

Click here to learn more about this project and Duke Bass Connections.

Team Leaders

  • Aria Chernik, Social Science Research Institute|Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Kevin Hoch, Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Richard Chung, School of Medicine-Pediatrics: Primary Care Pediatrics
  • Bruce Grady, Divinity School
  • Lalita Kaligotla, Sanford School of Public Policy-Hart Leadership Program
  • David Ming, School of Medicine-Medicine: General Internal Medicine
  • Josh Yates, Divinity School

Community Partners

  • North Carolina School of Science and Math
  • Durham Public Schools
  • North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
  • IBM
  • Easterseals UCP
  • Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center
  • Family Resource Center South Atlantic
  • Helius Foundation
  • Recity Network
  • Oak Grove AME Zion Church
  • Hinton Rural Center
  • BRIGHTspot Center