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LEAVE-A-WISH: Cherish and honor your loved ones - even after they have passed on (Updated 8/5/16- Hifi mocks)

Death doesn't have to signal the end of meaningful connection; connection can be found and nurtured by honoring our loved ones "wishes."

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

UPDATE
My idea is designed for two parties: 1) the elderly who are preparing for their final years and 2) their families who are, or will be, preparing for a life their loved ones are no longer apart of. Leave-A-Wish reimagines the end of life experience by helping families realize that death doesn't have to signal the end of meaningful connection. We can continue to honor our loved ones, and enrich our lives through meaningful connections, by fulfilling their wishes even after they are gone.

LEAVE-A-WISH MISSION

To help people everywhere realize that death doesn’t have to mean the end of meaningful connection with our deceased loved ones and that we can continue to honor them in meaningful ways.  Leave-A-Wish wants to foster this process of enduring connection by facilitating the continued fulfillment of our loved one’s wishes.

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WHAT IS A “WISH?”

We often talk about our loved ones’ “final wishes” as relating to memorial arrangements and plans. While those wishes are important, Leave-A-Wish is focused on other longer-lasting wishes that the family can physically do to honor the memory of the deceased. Such a “wish” can be any sort of request, a memory or tradition a loved one wants their family and friends to continue to or share after they are gone. 

THE CONCEPT

Seniors entering the latter years of their life often yearn that they might find a way to continue to be a presence for good for their family after they have died.  Leave-A-Wish provides a ready vehicle for them to do this.  Their wishes, as well as family memories and traditions, are stored in the Leave-A-Wish platform. After the registered user passes away, Leave-A-Wish would share his or her wishes with his surviving loved ones. The wishes will be calendared so when it’s time for a wish to be shared or fulfilled, an email or other notification could be sent to the surviving loved ones.  As they fulfill the wishes, the surviving loved ones would maintain a connection with the deceased in meaningful way.

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THE BENEFIT

Leave-A-Wish hopes to enrich life through meaningful connection. The recipients of the wishes can honor their loved ones in significant ways by fulfilling their specific wishes. Leave-A-Wish also creates an opportunity for the seniors to enrich their life through meaningful connection with the years they have left. Filling out their wishes allows them to reflect on what matters most and reconnect with their family and friends, therefore creating more stirring memories.

THE INSPIRATION

The end-of-life experience is the last major milestone in the journey of life. During a brainstorming session, my colleagues and I started to ask ourselves how mainstream society celebrates a birth in comparison to celebrating the end-of-life? We found that there is a lack of tools in an end-of-life wishlist space. How can a person nearing death list non-monetary gifts he would like to leave behind for his loved ones?  

Imagine sitting down with your parents or grandparents and helping them fill out their end-of-life wishlist. The types of wishes that could be included are limitless! Here are few examples:

  • "I want you to stay educated about local and national politics. Voting is important to me. It would mean a lot to me if you continued to honor your civic duty throughout your life."
  • "I want you to take your sons on a fishing trip to the same river we went to years ago. These are some of the fondest memories I hold.”
  • “I want you always cut down a fresh Christmas tree during the holiday season. My favorite tradition was cutting down a tree, decorating it, and basking in the smell.”


SURVEY ANALYSIS

We created two surveys: 1) For seniors 2) People under the age of 45.

We shared this survey with family and friends and had over 25 respondents from different backgrounds and age groups.

From our survey we learned that elders prefer communicating through voice and currently transfer memories through photographs. To ensure that Leave-A-Wish is easy to use we think that having an easy way to record your Leave-Behinds in video format will help elders successfully share Leave-Behinds. 

Based on current behavior, we also learned that Leave-Behinds are often of different types and are not limited to just “wishes.” Elders try and transfer “traditions,” “Memories,” “Stories,” and “Values”. The survey helped us refine our concept.

Every respondent indicated that they would enjoy a product like Leave-A-Wish and it would enrich there life in one way or another.

EXPERIENCE MAP

Experience Map: User
Experience Map: Recipient

WIREFRAMES

Wireframes - User
Wireframes - Recipient
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WIREFRAME FEEDBACK 

We used the prototypes to answer our big question- “Will the recipients of the Leave-Behinds be inclined to engage and honor their loved ones?”


We shared the prototype with over 10 people and tested out the value of our concept. People responded positively to Leave-A-Wish and were very open to engaging with the platform.

  • “It’s a way for me to stay connected with my loved ones with minimal effort.”

  • “I would enjoy them. It would be a good reminder of the happy times that were shared with my loved ones. Also, it would help me know and remember what they cherished about me.”



"YOUR DEATH DOESN'T BELONG TO YOU. YOUR DEATH BELONGS TO THOSE WHO LOVE AND CARE FOR YOU."


LEAVE-A-WISH’S WISH:

Our wish is that society can began looking at death through a different perspective. Ultimately, we believe your death doesn't belong to you. Your death belongs to those who love and care for you - the ones you leave behind. The wishlist is a tool that will help foster deeper and more significant connection.

Why do we have to stop giving gifts to our loved ones just because they have passed on? Why does death have to be thought of as the end of connection between loved ones? Leave-A-Wish can be a portal of connection between the living and the dead and enrich the lives of all that use it.

NEXT STEPS / POTENTIAL PARTNERS:

What makes Leave-A-Wish unique and different from other ideas in this challenge is the scalability.  Leave-A-Wish is a product that would cause many different organizations to jump at the opportunity to enhance their mission and programs.  Some examples of potential partners are:

  • Senior Centers
  • Retirement Communities
  • Hospice Care
  • Nursing Homes
  • Libraries 
  • Funeral Homes
  • Insurance Companies
  • Veteran Organizations 
  • Other Senior Organizations (AARP, Red Hat Society, Senior Corps)


For example, many senior centers are legally mandated to provide numerous daily activities for their residents.  Activity directors are constantly searching for new activities that will engage their residents.  Leave-A-Wish would provide an exciting new activity that enriches their resident's lives.  Incorporating Leave-A-Wish would also be seamless; it does not require a large investment, new equipment, or specialized training.  Leave-A-Wish can reimagine the end-of-life experience, and enrich life through meaningful connection, in a simple, scalable, and uncomplicated way. 


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

Partner with one of our local funeral homes and test out the idea with their families they are already serving.

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

Would people be interested in doing this? Do families see value in this idea? How would we distribute this product? Would people be more inclined to participate in this if an app/website was built out for them?

Tell us about your work experience:

I am a Strategic Marketing Associate at Precoa. Precoa partners with funeral homes across to country to help the elderly they serve preplan their final wishes. Our goal is to serve as many families as possible by enriching life through meaningful connection.

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm

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28 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Caden
Team

Love this idea! I think this is somewhat happening naturally, people doing things to help them remember or feel close to loved ones that have passed on. But to have it be more intentional is something I really like. You'll know when you're out doing something that helps you remember loved ones that they also cherished their time doing those activities with you. It brings it full circle and can make the end-of-life and death experiences more meaningful.

Photo of Joy Johnston
Team

Love this concept, and the reminders that users would receive after their loved one has died, a gentle nudge to take time out for a positive or meaningful reflection in the midst of grief.

Photo of MK Czerwiec
Team

I like Leave A Wish. It captures the goal of the project. 

Photo of Abby Sullivan
Team

I like Legacy Quest. Makes one think of a new beginning rather than an end of something. 

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

I like Leave a Wish.  
Good luck!

Photo of Liz Salmi
Team

This is an interesting idea!

My only concern is about the name (and I know this is probably not the final name). Registries in a healthcare or government setting are usually pretty serious.

I know in California, the advance healthcare directive registry is managed by the the office the Secretary of State, and there are a number of states who maintain electronic POLST registries for capturing the medical preferences for life-sustaining treatment for people who are at the end of their life.

Perhaps this could be called the "After you kick the bucket Bucket List." ;)

Photo of Trevor Woller
Team

Liz Salmi That is a great point!  I don't know all of the details about current healthcare registries.  Thanks for bringing this up; we can definitely change the name!

Photo of SL Rao
Team

 Is there anything from the list that stick out to you- 1) Remembrance Collection 2)RememberMe 3) Tradition Tracker 4) Leave-A-Wish 

Photo of Sarah White
Team

I love this idea because I don't think you are proposing a traditional product and are instead proposing an entirely new societal tradition for how we prepare for end of life and celebrate the lives of the deceased. 

Right off the bat, I think it will be important to consider the mechanism for both collecting and sharing wishes. I also think it will be important to ensure wishes are captured and shared in a way that reflects the individual’s personality and speaks to the relationship of those involved in the exchange.

Offering a suite of options or a "toolkit" could be a nice way to "pilot" this idea with funeral homes. A couple ideas come to mind:

- Handwritten letters/wishes. A toolkit with prompts and examples like you give above could help inspire authors. 

- Voice recordings. Of course, easier to capture but without sacrificing personality. 

- Passing down of objects. Of course, a formal will can be used here but I think there are often physical items that remind us of our loved ones that the dying may not be aware how much we cherish. A toolkit could inspire this passing on of nontraditional momentos.
Ex: A sweater that belonged to your grandmother. A bottle of the perfume worn by a late wife. A record or recording of a favorite song/album. 

Please excuse the stream of consciousness post! Clearly, your idea inspired me! 



Best,


Sarah

Photo of SL Rao
Team

Thank you so much! This is really great feedback. We will make sure to incorporate the "toolkit" or a start guide of some sort as we start working towards finalizing the concept. We are also trying o finalize the name. Is there anything from the list that stick out to you- 1) Remembrance Registry 2)RememberMe 3) Tradition Tracker 4) Leave-A-Wish

(we're heard feedback that the in the medical community registry has a different meaning so we might move away from it)

Photo of Michael Curry
Team

I think this idea a lot because it is a simple and natural way a family can focus on the person's life and a way the deceased can participate in helping their loved ones grieve and heal. I think of how going to a headstone to remember someone isn't a super uplifting experience. Staring at the headstone and your loved one's place in the ground helps solidify reality, but it doesn't feel right when trying to remember the person or celebrate them. 

By having a list that the deceased had provided, I can "remember" and memorialize my loved one in a way that celebrates them and involves me in things that remind me of them. A gravesite is not where I want to think of my parents or friends whom I've lost, I want to think of them as I eat at their favorite restaurant, develop a skill they valued in life, or participate in some activity that they loved to do. It's more involved and optimistic. And the fact that the deceased has requested it makes it carry so much more value.

Photo of SL Rao
Team

Hi Michael Curry it's great to know that we're hitting the mark with this idea. We wanted to reach out to you to see which of the names we're thinking of represents the product-
1) Legistry
2) Remembrance Registry
3) Tradition Tracker
4) Leave-A-Wish

(we're heard feedback that the in the medical community registry has a different meaning so we might move away from it)

Photo of Mark Bradford
Team

Wow! What a thoughtful and creative idea! I've had the (not very fun) conversation with my parents about funeral arrangements and last wishes. But I would really enjoy having a conversation about their wishes for loved ones after passing. This would bring great insight to what they valued most in life. One thing I might like is to have it called something like a Legacy Registry. Just a thought.

Photo of Trevor Woller
Team

Mark - thank you so much for your comments.  We are in the process of changing the name.  Everyone agrees the "End-of-Life Registry" doesn't encapsulate the entire purpose of the idea.  I am glad to know you would find value in this type of product.  If you have any other suggestions, please share them! 

Photo of SL Rao
Team

Hi Mark Bradford , we're trying vote on some other names as well. What do you think of the following
1) Legistry
2) Remembrance Registry
3) Tradition Tracker
4) Leave-A-Wish

Photo of Tönten Jeppson
Team

This is a sweet idea! I look back at some of the loved ones I have lost and would definitely appreciate having a connection like this with them. I could even see this as being a beneficial system to use amongst the living. At the end of high school, college, moving out of state, etc. when you know you'll be more distant from those who you care about but might not get to see as frequently. Friends especially. 

Photo of Trevor Woller
Team

Tanton - thanks so much for your comments.  You provided valuable insight.  Why does this registry just have to be for those nearing the end of life?  Why can't we have products that facilitate connection through every stage of life?

Photo of SL Rao
Team

Hi Tonten, we're trying to find a name that would represent this idea. We would love your feedback, what do you think of
1) Legistry
2) Remembrance Registry
3) Tradition Tracker
4) Leave-A-Wish

Photo of Mike Conroy
Team

I like Remembrance Registry the best as to me it signifies an act by the loved ones, friends, colleagues, of the person at the center.  Could go for Leave-A-Wish as well!

Photo of Trevor Woller
Team

Once again, I would like to thank everyone for their feedback.  One suggestion we have heard frequently is that we sound change the name from "End-Of-Life Registry," which seems a bit dreary, to something a bit more friendly and cheerful.  Our team has brainstormed a lot of ideas and have come up with four finalists.  We would love for your vote on which name you think best represents the entirety of our idea.  The names are:
1) Legistry
2) Remembrance Registry
3) Tradition Tracker
4) Leave-A-Wish

Please vote by commenting on this post.  We REALLY appreciate your feedback!  Thanks!

Photo of SL Rao
Team

I like Leave-A-Wish. It might be interesting to indicate in the title that you want people to vote!

Photo of Shane Zhao
Team

Great suggestion on including a call-to action in the title SL! 

I particularly like 2) Remembrance Registry and 4) Leave-A-Wish  What do you think Joanna Spoth ?

Photo of Joanna Spoth
Team

This is so exciting! I like "Leave-A-Wish" best.
The feedback we received from our Advisory Panel was that "registry" has a different connotation in the medical sphere. I'll try to get some additional eyes on this post so we can try to gather some more of those insights.

Photo of Madeline Duhon
Team

I think this idea is wonderful. I really like your use of examples that are experiential, the kind of things that you can imagine family members continuing to do years down the road and time smiling each time when they think of their deceased parent or grandparent. I imagine that the format would invite sincere, meaningful thoughts, ideas, and traditions to be passed down.
 
When I was reading your description, I was reminded of a legacy left behind by a former student of the college I went to. Though I am not completely sure if this is true, the story was that she built and supported the construction of a dorm on the condition that there would always be fresh, scoop-able ice cream available in its dining hall. I love the idea of leaving behind a legacy where years later, students get to benefit from her legacy and feel that a former alumnus they have never met is looking out for their happiness. My impression is that the registry would allow similar seemingly-trivial details, ideas, thoughts, bits of wisdom that might otherwise be lost to pass down from generation to generation. 

In many cases, I wonder if it would be helpful for elderly to complete a registry before they are nearing end of life. In particular, I'm thinking of grandparents with conditions such as dementia, where their contributions to their registry may be better earlier on, as opposed to during those final months of life. Would their be a way to allow this to be something that grandparents could fill out without it being a suggestion of nearing end of life? One word that comes to mind is "legacy." I wonder if using the word "legacy" could be helpful for allowing people to complete their registries before they are some time away from end of life. Just a thought.

One other question I had was about the timing for passing on the registry from the dying to family members. Do you envision that the family would read and potentially even contribute to the registry while their dying family member is still alive, or would the registry be provided after death, almost as a sort of "time capsule" for the family to discover once the elderly passes on?

I think this is a great idea, and would like to see it evolve!

Photo of Trevor Woller
Team

Madeline Duhon  thank you so much for your insights!  I am glad you caught the vision of the idea.  The whole purpose of this "registry" is to facilitate the process of meaningful traditions and ideas transitioning from each generation to the next.  

Thank you so much for your suggestion about the name of the registry.  You bring up a great point.  You are certainly right; we want elderly to fill this out who still have years of vigorous live ahead of them.  In fact, in my head, I imagined this "registry" to be specifically designed for the elderly with years of live ahead of them.  Obviously it could be utilized for those with dementia, but not to the same extent.  I think your suggestion of a "Legacy Registry"  is a great alternative.  That is something we really have to consider in this refinement stage.

In response to your final question, I imagined families having the ability to choose when they received the registry.  I think there are different benefits to both scenarios.  Filling out the registry together would be an extremely eye-opening experience.  On the flip side, receiving the registry as a time-capsule could provide a different level of excitement and meaning.  You would be receiving brand new communication from a loved one that you haven't heard from in years.  Hopefully that makes sense :)

Photo of Trevor Woller
Team

Madeline Duhon  thank you so much for your insights!  I am glad you caught the vision of the idea.  The whole purpose of this "registry" is to facilitate the process of meaningful traditions and ideas transitioning from each generation to the next.  

Thank you so much for your suggestion about the name of the registry.  You bring up a great point.  You are certainly right; we want elderly to fill this out who still have years of vigorous live ahead of them.  In fact, in my head, I imagined this "registry" to be specifically designed for the elderly with years of live ahead of them.  Obviously it could be utilized for those with dementia, but not to the same extent.  I think your suggestion of a "Legacy Registry"  is a great alternative.  That is something we really have to consider in this refinement stage.

In response to your final question, I imagined families having the ability to choose when they received the registry.  I think there are different benefits to both scenarios.  Filling out the registry together would be an extremely eye-opening experience.  On the flip side, receiving the registry as a time-capsule could provide a different level of excitement and meaning.  You would be receiving brand new communication from a loved one that you haven't heard from in years.  Hopefully that makes sense :)

Photo of Madeline Duhon
Team

Hi Trevor, 

Thanks for your reply! I imagine that a couple different set ups could be exciting in their own ways; for the families that want to fill in the registry together, going through that process together could be very eye-opening, while for those that want to be surprised (or to surprise their family members) might appreciate the time-capsule style. Looking forward to seeing more during this refinement stage!

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Welcome to the Refinement phase Trevor! Here are some key questions and milestones we encourage all idea teams to consider in the Refinement phase:

1. How might this idea address the unique needs of the target audience you're designing for?
2. Clearly summarize the value offering of your idea in 1-2 sentences
3. Communicate your idea in a visual way with user experience maps http://ideo.pn/UX_Map
4. Identify assumptions that need to be answered in order to validate your value offering: http://bit.ly/1Oi8ZHu
5. Collect feedback from potential partners and users to answer the assumptions you’ve identified.

Lastly, here's a useful tip: When you update the content of your post, it'd be helpful to indicate this in your idea title by adding an extension. For example, you can add the extension " - Update: Experience Maps 07/12" to you idea title. This will be a good way to keep people informed about how your idea is progressing!