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End of Life Challenge: Announcing Our Top Ideas

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For our End of Life Challenge, we explored a pressing question: How might we reimagine the end-of-life experience for ourselves and our loved ones?

Over the last 3 and a half months, we invited our global community to share their stories, reflections and ideas. The effort gathered enormous momentum and we were blown away by the support and stories shared around a deeply personal topic.

We’re excited to recognize 10 Top Ideas for their innovation in the end-of-life space, integration of community feedback, and alignment with our evaluation criteria. This challenge was a monumental success. We put a big topic — possibly the biggest topic — out to the world and were met with gratitude, vulnerability, and kindness. Those who spent time with our challenge have shared that it brought new perspectives and inspiration to their lives – an outcome we couldn’t have predicted and are hugely grateful for.

Thank you to the 10 ideas below and the collective actions within the challenge that they represent.

End of Life Top Ideas

Sound Will — Some people say hearing is the last sense to go. What’s the last sound you wish to hear? Sound Will helps humanize the patient experience by turning hospital beeps and alarms into harmonious sounds.  |  WHAT'S NEXT: Yoko is continuing to gather research to inform her idea and will be prototyping a future sound room at Sibley Memorial Hospital.


Vykarious — Imagine you can connect with people around the world who will cross off bucket-list items you cannot and share back the experience with you. Vykarious is a platform for the ill or elderly to connect with others, even from the hospital bed, who are doing things they’ve dreamed of.  |  WHAT'S NEXT: Vibhu is continuing to iterate upon the designs for Vykarious, and is currently looking for app and web developers to help build out the technical components. 

InMyHands — Thinking about end-of-life preferences early can dramatically shift the way we die. InMyHands is a light-hearted digital platform for individuals to capture and update end-of-life wishes.  |  WHAT'S NEXT: Liz is developing a proof-of-concept to pilot in Victoria, Australia and will soon be ready to gather user feedback. 

I Know Something About This — How might we learn from everyone who has gone through the end-of-life experience to understand that we’re not in this alone? Jim is building a peer-to-peer storytelling platform to help people navigate through the often overwhelming and emotional experience.  |  WHAT'S NEXT: Jim is collecting additional stories and feedback for his prototype.


Get To Know Me 2.0 — The Get To Know Me program, which captured personal information about patients so that hospital caregivers could get to know them, was originally conceived as a printed poster in Mass General. In version 2.0, the posters will be digitalized – allowing patient profiles to be updated by loved ones over time.  |  WHAT'S NEXT: Ken is exploring partnerships with healthcare facilities and working to bring the technical component of his idea to life. 

Respite Care Share — Drawing on her experience as a caregiver to both of her parents, Joy is building the Respite Care Share platform to provide vouchers for family caregivers. Respite Care Share will offer no-cost packages like mini-getaways to rental properties on Airbnb, massage, and fitness classes to caregivers.  |  WHAT'S NEXT: Joy plans to prototype this model on an existing platform and gather feedback. 

Living Fully Guide — Justin’s grandmother elected him to make health care decisions – a responsibility he wasn’t prepared for. Justin is now building The Living Fully Guide to provide patients and their families with local resources for end-of-life care roadmaps and providers. This idea is part of an initiative to make Louisville, Kentucky the “model city to live fully into death.”  |  WHAT'S NEXT: Justin is in the process of building out narrowly-scoped prototypes and gathering in-depth feedback. 

Music at the End of Life — Ned is building on the momentum of his live event series, You’re Going to Die, with a project called Music at the End of Life. The project will allow musicians to perform for patients and their loved ones and throw concert fundraisers, proceeds from which will go to families of patients.  |  WHAT'S NEXT: Ned is exploring partnerships and locations at which he might be able to carry out Music at the End of Life. 

Death-Ed — Inspired by sex-ed, Death-Ed is a high school health curriculum that aims to normalize and prepare youth for the last phase of life. Jessica and Dawn are palliative care physicians with experience teaching sex-ed and prenatal-ed to high school students.  |  WHAT'S NEXT: Jessica and Dawn are designing the death-ed curriculum and looking for support in developing a tool for measuring the impact of their course. 

Home Death Care Resources — The option to die at home has become more accessible over the last 20 years, but many families are still not aware of the steps necessary to have a home death. Home Death Care Resources will work to increase awareness of the option by providing families with the who, what, when, where, and how of the process.  |  WHAT'S NEXT: Paul is developing web resources in multiple languages and exploring potential partners. 

Additional Highlights

In addition to our 10 top ideas, we’re highlighting Connecting Lives, Gardening Connection and When I Die, I Wanna be… for their incredible effort during our Refinement phase. These three teams have been active collaborators and done a remarkable job incorporating community feedback to develop their ideas in a human-centered way. We hope to see them continue to develop beyond the End of Life Challenge.

Continuing the Momentum

One way we’re building on the momentum generated by this effort is by participating in a series of events in San Francisco. It’s an effort to spark a broader movement, offering a time for individuals and organizations who are shining a light on how we die to come together, share ideas, and start new conversations. We’d like to extend the invitation to you to get involved, even if you’re not in San Francisco. Interested? Please let us know by filling out this simple form.

Share Your Impact Story

We hope that everyone passionate about this topic will continue to collaborate, refine, and work at bringing ideas to life. Help us celebrate your efforts by sharing your story in the upcoming Impact phase. The Impact Phase is a space to post updates on how projects are progressing beyond the challenge. Use this template to guide your thinking.

Congratulations to our Top Ideas and thanks to our entire community for joining the collaborative effort to reimagine the end-of-life experience for ourselves and our loved ones.

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End of Life Challenge


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