Duke Students Design Innovative Solutions to Wellness Challenges

Duke students want to improve how they deal with stress and time-management challenges, and they sometimes struggle to navigate the many resources available to them—so agreed the student groups who presented at the recent Open Design Sprint for Transformative Health and Wellness at Duke, organized by Duke Student Affairs, Duke’s Office of Undergraduate Education, and Open Design Studio, a partnership between Bass Connections and Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship (I&E).

Yet the students were enthusiastic and optimistic about the potential for solutions founded on community building and improved communication. Working in teams over three weeks, groups identified health and wellness challenges at Duke and created solutions using open design, an innovation methodology rooted in active inclusivity, transparency, and collaboration. Their solutions were informed by deep user research—interviews, discussions, and concept feedback sessions with fellow students—to better understand the challenges.

“I was inspired by the depth of what students learned and accomplished in such a short period of time,” said Aria Chernik, co-founder of Open Design Studio and associate professor of the practice at the Social Science Research Institute and Duke I&E. “Students volunteered their time and energy to the wellness sprint not for academic credit, but because they genuinely care about innovating new solutions to wellness challenges. This speaks to how problem-based learning can be an authentic driver for student engagement.”

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