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Endow your passion

Build a community/database of souls in need, let the dying choose one willing recipient to share their passionate belief/skill/talent with.

Photo of Robert Smith
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Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine the end-of-life experience?

Most of us want to be remembered, and are disappointed that what we have learned, that what we care deeply about, be it a craft, a skill or a passion, will be lost. This personal sharing allows the dying to pass on their passion to someone who is receptive to it.

One from a group of receptive individuals can be endowed with a treasured thought, skill or understanding, the singular passion that defines a dying person's life.  By sharing a need or a desire for a deeper understanding of a craft, skill or subject, individuals can make themselves available for a conversation with a dying person and the receiving of their gift of enthusiasm, knowledge or belief.  By sharing their words and passions, the dying can pass on the power of their life's experience.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Let a care facility know that you are willing to listen to and receive the gift of a dying person's thoughts.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

How might a database of willing receivers be shared with a dying person so that it would not overwhelm them yet be specific enough to help them find an appropriate individual with whom they could converse.

Tell us about your work experience:

I am an industrial designer and storyteller.

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual


Join the conversation:

Photo of Katherine Hill

I truly appreciate this idea. It incorporates many of the broad themes seen in the Inspiration Phase -

1. Providing a purpose to those nearing end of life
2. Connecting People
3. Knowledge Sharing
4. Promoting Creativity & Self Expression
5. Bringing end of life to the forefront of a younger generation in order to encourage planning

The idea is clear and easy to understand. Very cool. 

I wonder- can you expand on how you see it working? Would caregivers have profiles/accounts on the platform in order to facilitate communication between the dying person and potential mentee? 

Photo of Robert Smith

Thanks for your thoughts, Katherine.

I can imagine two account pools- those for people near their end-of-life and another for people willing to be recipients, each categorizing their specific interests.  Having caregivers facilitate the first pool certainly makes a lot of sense, and they may also be the primary users tasked with finding appropriate matches from the second.  Living family members may also choose to contribute and some thought should be given to easing the potentially difficult situation where a surviving spouse or relative does not share the passion of the dying.

To simplify making a connection, match criteria could be initially limited to a fixed set of broad-stroke categories such as; Historical Interests, Arts, Technical Skills, Literary Interests, Spiritual Matters, etc.  Within each category there could be further specializations.  Or, perhaps a visual method could be employed using images or videos that capture interests from a different POV, such as; earth, fire, air, water, life leading to connections related to agriculture/gardening, geology, flying, sailing, biology... 


Photo of Katherine Hill

Couldn't agree more- broad categories of passions would be a good place to begin. And, I'm happy to hear you agree that caregivers (whether family or professional) would most likely need to facilitate the communication. You just never know someone's capabilities with technology (especially when health might be a factor). This article might be food for thought on the unique challenges of bringing those nearing end of life together with others via technology.

Another component I enjoy about your idea - it brings a number of existing constructs/models together for a new purpose. We already have programs that align those nearing end of life with younger generations (whether through religious or community groups). And, we already have online platforms that bring people together via their shared passion. However, I have not found anything that combines the two initiatives. 

With a quick search, Google tells us there are a number forums/platforms/businesses revolving around the idea of connecting people via their passion., WeGoDo, ONE, and even many dating sites are just a few examples. They can offer easy examples of aspects you would want to include in an this online platform and aspects you would not. 

What do you see the initial test group/process looking like? 

Photo of Robert Smith


Great insights!  What we're talking about here is absolutely comparable to the dating and connecting sites you mentioned, with the caveat that it's likely a one-time event.  It's also interesting to consider that the individual nearing their end-of-life is at the initiation/selection/gift-giving end, whereas the recipient is in more of an acceptance/confirmation/gift-receiving role.  I wonder how potential recipients would react to that more passive role...

To get started, some contextual inquiry should take place with both seniors and potential recipients.  Care centers, senior centers, churches and families would likely be good places to find folks to talk with.  We could ask what sorts of things each user would claim as personal 'passions' and what some key words or images are that would closely relate.  Clues could also be pulled from sites such as the ones you cited, like ''.

Then it would be a matter of mocking up an interface and conducting some formative usability testing.

Do you have experience or interest in any of these activities?  Would you like to join the team?

Thanks,  Bob