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

Do more instead of regret

overcome the fear of death and change the way we think about death can transform the way we live

Photo of Xiang Zhu
5 4

Written by

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

The idea is designing for the people who are facing disease. Disease and death are not shamed, people should accept what cannot be changed reduces suffering.

There's so much shame in the western culture around aging and death. People themselves when they're aging feel that there's something wrong with them and they're losing value.

For many of us, a sense of failure and shame accompanies sickness and death. This is even apparent in the language we use to describe disease (for instance, "He lost his battle to cancer"). This shame can actually become a way of hiding and avoiding confrontation with the reality of our situation -- it helps us to avoid asking the tough questions (How am I going to age? How many years do I have left? How will I cope with these changes in my body?). We need to get more interested and more curious about how it is to be where we are now.

'Our inability to meet the change that is constantly taking place is the cause of suffering', and a recent study confirmed its truth. Researchers at Deakin University in Australia found that the ability to accept what can't be changed was a major predictor of life satisfaction among older adults living in residential care.

When faced with death, many people say that they learn for the first time what it really means to love -- and that the relationships they've created are the most important things in their lives.

When they were dying, it was really about whether the people in their life loved them and knew that they were loved by them. So many of us are running, running, running; achieving, achieving, achieving, and then when it comes down to it, it's really about the relationships and about loving. It's about learning how to love yourself and the world. 

This idea emerged from

  • A student collaboration


Join the conversation:

Photo of Morgan

Xiang, thank you for this very well-constructed and thoughtful post. You shed light on so many challenges that our Western culture are confronted with.

You could not have been more on point! As a Palliative Care Nurse, nearly every one of my patients tells me that what has been most meaningful in their life has been the loving relationships they've been able to cultivate and sustain throughout their lifetime. Hands down, the number one contributor to their happiness and overall well-being. 

How do you see our culture as a whole specifically addressing these issues and ultimately allowing space for more acceptance, self-love, and value - especially for our aging population and those with illness?  I would be very interested to know more of your ideas! 

 There is great potential in this! Thank you so much for contributing :) 

Photo of Xiang

Morgan Meinel Thanks for your feedback Morgan:)  My own my story is after I graduated from the UK, in order to stay with my girlfriend I gave up the work chance in china and came to Australia. Now I have already been living in Australia two years and married here, and have a lovely baby right now. Western culture has a big influence on me, living the UK gave me an enlightenment about the faith, and I find my faith in Australia.  The different culture  established my view of life.

 The aging population and illness is  the common problem in many countries including China and Australia, especially in Europe and Japan .But on the other hand, there are increasing technologies and  ideas to connect people and extend the relationships with them. Collaboration and interaction is the trend and the power to let the world be better, it also is the origin of humanity. This is difficult to stop aging population and illness, but we can keep positive energy to face these problems. .

I think that building the connection is important at this time. In china, the family relationship is warm let people not alone.  In christian cultural based countries, the connection with god and brothers and sisters provide them power to face life. Love and positive energy are the most beautiful things in every culture.   Just like here, OpenIDEO give a great potential to bring people together to solve or face a problem. Moreover, I work in a real estate development company in Sydney. Our future plan is focused on building a New type of integrated community which has a great connection with  residents and also with  facilities such as nursing homes, child care, hospital and primary school. The mission is let people live here with colorful connections and never alone.   

In this big data era, people should use the technologies to build and enhance the relationship with the world.  Self-love and loving others; personal value will be enlarged in the connection process. 


Photo of Morgan

Xiang Zhu Thank you so much for this thoughtful response; I appreciate it so much.  Your positive energy is infectious! Thank you...and congratulations on your marriage and family!

I'm so glad for your reply - you're absolutely right! We live in a technological world now, so utilizing platforms such as this one really allows us to connect to one another in an intimate way. Although some of the older generations may have some difficulty with this, we can certainly guide them. 

You're right on point - love and positive energy are the most beautiful things in every culture. A universal and healing experience for all.  It seems that you you're participating in a lot of innovative and meaningful work though the means of technology and design - providing a way to connect people with one another. This is remarkable! All the best to you :) 

View all comments