OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign up, Login or Learn more

Going Deep

A series of provocations to encourage deeper connection in life. Don't wait 'til it's too late to really get to know the people you love.

Photo of Becky Lee
6 8

Written by

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

This idea is designed for people who have loved ones they are with every day and others who they rarely see. This idea is designed for anyone who wants to feel closer to the people they love. This idea is designed to replace the anxiety of having loved ones pass away with comfort that you knew them deeply enough to carry on their spirits. This idea is designed to replace the fear of dying alone with a sense of acceptance in knowing that there are people on earth who truly know you.

When I think about my loved ones dying, one of my biggest fears is whether I ever really knew them. When I think about my own mortality, one of my biggest fears is whether anyone will have really known me. 

End of life stories are often about people discovering things about their loved ones in death that could have brought them closer together in life, or wishing that they had more time to get to know their loved ones. While we can't always have more time together, we can make the time we have together more valuable.  The goal of this idea is to bring people together in life to make death more peaceful, with the added bonus of making life more enjoyable, too. 

In fostering open and honest communication in life we can ease anxiety and unknowns in death. Through a set of provocations or questions, we can have better conversations and encourage deeper connection with the people we love. This idea could come to life in many forms: an app that sends you a deep question every morning to build into your daily conversations, a place for people to anonymously share moments of connection, a place for people to privately share deep thoughts and questions with loved ones, different sets of questions to get to know different people in your life (grandparents, parents, significant others, friends), an open challenge to hold deeper conversations and place to record them, a place to track moments of connection and great conversations (with who, about what, where, how you felt).

How might we naturally encourage more interactions that lead to deeper connection with our loved ones? 

Inspired by The 36 Questions that Lead to Love and StoryCorps

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

- send a deep question to the last 10 people in my text inbox - every Monday pick a deep question to weave into at least 3 conversations that week - every night, keep a log of the 3 moments that day that I felt most connected

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

- When did you most feel connected to another person and why? A shared experience? Feeling vulnerable? Feeling safe? Learning something new? Having your personal beliefs challenged or evolved? Being a good listener? Being listened to? - What is keeping you from having deep conversations with your loved ones? Awkwardness? Apathy? Distraction?

Tell us about your work experience:

I build relationships professionally at IDEO in San Francisco and personally, through conversation, writing, photography, and travel.

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual


Join the conversation:

Photo of Garrett Lee

This is a powerful idea!  Have you thought about how you might generate prompts that inspire meaningful conversations and connections?  From your research so far, have you found any favorites? 

Photo of Bruce Camber

Every day of our life we could hear the challenge to "Go Deep" if only we would listen to our dreams. After deep sleep, we dream. Within those dreams are deep conversations that actually challenge us to take on new tasks within the new day. Becky understands.

Photo of Becky Lee

Hi Jamie Whittaker  

Thanks so much for the feedback! Your comment made me think about how revisiting and reflecting moments of connection could create just as strong a sense of connection as the original experience. I love the idea of VR as a means to "relive" and ultimately share moments to carry on that deep feeling of connection beyond end-of-life.

My idea started out asking how might we naturally build in more and better moments of connection with loved ones during life? One thought to build on both of our ideas would be to have loved ones create archival VR snapshots together, so the creation of the legacy is an added opportunity for connection in itself. Could also help people feel more like they were a part of their loved one's legacy, in addition to being a recipient. 

Some questions we could think about together: How might we capture natural moments of connection in a VR environment? How might we use VR to create more opportunities for connection? How might we design not only the means, but the motivations to both have and "relive" moments of connection? 

Let's keep the conversation going! 

Photo of Jamie Whittaker

Going Deep  Hi Becky, these are important and valuable questions. Would you like to post them on our Mortal(IT)y submission to get a conversation started with the others on the team? And we invite you to join in the conversation or to join the team if you're interested! You have great insight into this topic and we'd like to give you credit for these fantastic questions.

Photo of Shane Zhao

Thanks for the share Becky! It's great to see that you've already built off of The 36 Questions that Lead to Love and StoryCorps. Here are two other likeminded idea posts you might be interested in synergizing with: Birth and Death: sharing values on your birthday and I Know Something About This 

Photo of Jamie Whittaker

Hi Becky,

This is beautiful! Any thoughts on capturing these conversations and thoughts in a VR environment for review at end-of-life and/or as a means for passing on that wisdom to future generations? Would love your insight on how our two ideas might merge.
Here's our submission:

Thank you!