Design for America Duke was founded in 2013 by a group of undergraduate students eager to take action without having to graduate first. From there, other dedicated students joined to expand the club to the 46 member studio it is today. Each member is split into one of seven teams and ventures out into the community to solve a variety problems. Our approach is centered around face to face interaction and collaboration with community members. We solve problems with solutions that meets the expectations of people by interacting with real users at every step of the process. At the foundation of our mission is enabling students to interact with the community to solve real world problems.
The design process we use begins with identifying the problem. Next, we immerse ourselves in the environment. The knowledge and research enabled a group to reframe the problem. From there, teams ideate by proposing a variety of solutions. By rapid prototyping the compelling solutions and then testing them, the team is able to refine the solution into something significant. While this may seem simple, problems are bound to occur. Mistakes will be made. This is why Team Leads and mentors provide guidance throughout the process.
Problems we address come from a variety of areas, such as education, health, or energy use. Every team aims at solving challenges that are daring, feasible, and applicable to communities. Members learn to coordinate, empathize, and create. Not only do these projects enable us to create innovative solutions, but also prepare us to lead in tackling future world problems.
DFA Duke is fortunate to be supported by exceptional faculty and staff who encourage and challenge us to reach our potential.