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Passwords to the secrets of my heart

Creating a platform to post online videos and letters to loved ones you want them to watch/read after you die - with passwords not lawyers

Photo of kay ess

Written by

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

Busy people who don't have time for a will. But have time to upload video from home People who have secrets they don't want to share until they die. Again don't have trusted executor. People who want to express feelings to loved ones in event they suddenly pass People who want to share their passwords for various things like email, bank accounts etc.

I am a busy mum and I don't have time to do a will although its critical! (Look at Prince!) The problem is we all think we are not going to die tomorrow. Reality is that sometimes death is sudden. If you have children or other loved ones - how will we ever get to express what they meant to us? (or to tell them where your secret stash is?), split our wealth? Tell secrets we want to share post life.... It would be great to access this online as a temporary measure in case we die suddenly...! It would require some kind of online platform like facebook, but only triggers when say... your are memorialised. I am not sure how it would work yet.

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

I would probably at this stage see if people would be interested. If they ARE interested... perhaps work with current social platforms to see if they can add it as a feature.

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

To conduct the research on the feasibility and demand of the idea...

Tell us about your work experience:

I work in the healthcare industry. I have a daughter and often wander if I die, how will I get to share my adult thoughts with her which she may not be ready for when she is young.

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

Inspired by (1)

Remaining Social


Join the conversation:

Photo of Morgan Meinel

Kay ess, This is a really fascinating idea. As a Palliative Care Nurse, I am often encouraging others, especially my loved ones, to make their wishes known while still in healthy and lucid states of mind. I think it's really important that we all make it a priority to do so, even if the task seems arduous. 

That being said, I really love your idea of creating a platform to post online videos and letters to loved ones that may be accessible after that person dies. My mother recently shared with me that she has a box of letters of life lessons and shared personal experiences that she's written down and wishes for me to open only after her death. I became very emotional when she shared this with me, but I imagine that this box of letters she's preparing for me will give me much comfort and meaning after her death, and also provide me with a way to remain connected to her. To have something physical/tangible (and written in her own words) after she dies seems like a really beautiful gift and way to carry on her legacy. 

Thank you so much for sharing your ideas to this end of life challenge! I look forward to seeing how your ideas manifest. All the best to you :) 

Photo of kay ess

Thank you Morgan I appreciate your feedback and encouragement. I love what your mother did for you. That must bring you so much comfort. I suppose my idea really came after I had my daughter who is only just turned 8, and as a single parent I am so busy I just don't even have time to do a will! I have opened up a private gmail account for her in her name and write to her often, (whilst alive) but always think to myself... WHAT if I die before I can pass on this password to her without sharing it with someone else who may exploit the situation?  Thanks again for your encouragement.

Photo of Morgan Meinel

Thank you so much for your thoughtful response, kay ess ! I am very grateful for what my Mom has been collectively doing for me over the past many years - without my knowing until very recently! How beautiful. I also think it's very beautiful that you've been writing to your daughter often. It's so important to stay connected in this intimate way.  

Thank you for offering such great perspective. I imagine many people - especially single mother's share a very similar experience as you. Perhaps keeping the password in a safe and secure place, and writing her a letter that would be easy for her to access could help. 

Best wishes to you, and thank you for your thoughtful idea and response! :) 

Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi Kay, 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.

Photo of James Senior

Hi Kay - thanks for your post. I echo some of the other comments, and Morgan's thoughts about memorialization. Why not take advantage of all this accessible media technology and design? There is something about this nugget of an idea that could go in many directions which a great design firm like IDEO could help guide and shape. For example, a quick service for a "busy mom" could come out of a design phase looking like a "wishes" kiosk at a Walgreens or Boots Chemist. Would a solution like that solve the speed issue, but perhaps not the problem of privacy or intimacy that Morgan talks about. Making time to think about wills, end of life, memorialization, rites, lawyers and passwords seems like the task none of us want to get to on our todo list, and one of those ones that just keeps expanding :) However, I do like the idea of time-boxing this initiative - for example, could there be a series of three 1-hour appointments in a place of joy and calm (rather than a funeral home or a lawyers office) where we can deal with these todos - maybe it is retail main street, or has a real-world mortar component, so that it can be done on Saturday errands days? Keep going - great stuff :) 

Photo of Hongbo Guo

Great idea!

Photo of kay ess

HI Shauna Curry thanks for inspiring me in our semester for IE - and your social media post got me remembering something I always wanted to do for my daughter in case I died!

Photo of Shauna Curry

Hey kay ess,
Thank you for you lovely discussion with me last class. I would like to say I love this idea.
I have noticed with my family even people that have wills often forget to make changes as circumstances change; that would result in a very different will.  I think this would make it so much easier than the traditional process of writing a will.

Photo of Kate Rushton

Do you just imagine this would be details such as email passwords and bank details or also people to contact after your passing and/or advice e.g. a message for them after their high school graduation?

Photo of kay ess

Hi Kate,
Thanks for your question. It was only the email and bank details etc. But I can imagine it could be used for anything you wanted. Everyone has so many different agendas and levels of secrecy. So it should be a platform that is created to cater for all those needs. Thanks for pointing that second idea out.