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New Stories for Dying

Shift the culture which approaches death as an opponent and dying as a fight.

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

Designed for everyone throughout their lives - we need to change our cultural narrative about death, the language we use to describe it, especially for the elderly or ill.

A cultural movement that moves us from speaking about (and therefore perceiving) death as a battle to be overcome, toward it being a natural, beautiful part of life. So much of the rhetoric in the stories we tell about death (in books, movies, to each other) is combative. It is something to be fought, therefore dying is inherently a failure, a loss,.  What if we reimagined death in our cultural stories. By making death an ally, not an opponent we will be more able to talk about and prepare for it. 

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

Blog posts about this idea. Local speaking opportunities.

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

Co-creating a new vision for death and lexicon to encapsulate it. Ways of disseminating this, creating a movement of people speaking about death in a new way - from authors, to script writers, to educators, to end-of-life and medical professionals.

Tell us about your work experience:

I have experience in communications, design, technology, not-for-profits and entrepreneurship.

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual


Join the conversation:

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Photo of Barbara

Jessica, is this such an important concept that we may need to embrace even before any other aspect of death and dying. I agree that we currently view death as a failure somehow. Death is the next great adventure - the last frontier so to speak, that we have not yet truly explored. I read somewhere recently that there is a culture in India that celebrates the dying and mourns new birth, which might be interesting to study. You may want to look up as they are trying to change the conversation around death and dying.

Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi Jessica, interesting post! Any chance you could find an image to go along with it? Images help grab attention and tell a story. You should be able to use the Edit Contribution button on the top of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there. Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring insights on OpenIDEO.