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

Life Event Storyboard Cards For Memoir Team Writing

Young people collaborate with older adults to mutually capture memories of major life events and write a memoir of each of their lives using life event storyboard cards

Photo of Avi Solomon
32 19

Written by

How would you describe your idea in one sentence?

Young people collaborate with older adults to mutually capture memories of major life events and write a memoir of each of their lives using life event storyboard cards. This is a mutually beneficial relationship that leverages the unique talents of each team member.
"Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world."
-Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:1 (23a)

A storyboard is a sequence of images and words drawn together on a page to form a narrative. A storyboard is an apt metaphor for how we make sense of our own life history. Storyboarding can be used to sense emergent patterns in our own life story and to envision the life experiences that we wish to welcome into our future.

A Life event storyboard card is a paper storyboard template with life event prompts (e.g. what is your first memory, who influenced you the most, what is the recipe for your favorite dish etc.) printed on the back of the card to help quickly capture major life events.

The life event prompts can be adapted from the list of questions in Barbara Haight's Life Review Form.

Young people will collaborate with older adults to mutually capture memories of major life events and write a memoir of each of their lives using life event storyboard cards. This is a mutually beneficial relationship that leverages the unique talents of each team member (even people in their teens can benefit from writing a memoir). Two young people (combining drawing and writing skills)  could work together with one older adult. Interviews would be conducted in person and the writing could be done over the course of a semester.

A memoir storyboard would be made using the life event storyboard cards to capture and guide writing and structuring the content of the memoir, which can also be accompanied by relevant multimedia. The final edited memoir document could be published as an ebook and a print book with the older adult's permission and all revenues would accrue to the older adult.

References:
The Handbook of Structured Life Review by Barbara K. Haight and Barrett S. Haight. Health Professions Press, 2007.
Telling the Stories of Life Through Guided Autobiography Groups
by James E. Birren and  Kathryn N. Cochran. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001
.

Who are the target users of your idea and how does your idea speak directly to their needs, life stages and goals?

High School and College Students.

How might your idea scale and spread to reach as many people as possible?

The life event storyboard card template could be made freely available in multiple languages as a PDF download for global distribution and use by anyone interested.

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to test any assumptions you might have about your idea?

Interview an older adult to storyboard the main events in their life.

What aspects of your idea could benefit from the input, skills or know-how of our OpenIDEO community?

Prototype this: http://www.scribd.com/doc/235263627/Life-Event-Storyboard-Prompt

Evaluation results

15 evaluations so far

1. How well does this idea inspire and engage young people to support older adults through mentorship?

Really well – this idea clearly activates young people to support older adults - 40%

It’s getting there but could use a bit more work to flesh out exactly how - 40%

This idea doesn’t really address how to inspire and engage young people as mentors to older adults - 20%

2. How clearly does this idea outline a path to scale so that it can spread from one local community to around the world?

Crystal clear – I understand all the milestones that this idea would need to hit in order to spread beyond one local geography - 20%

It’s pretty clear that this idea has the potential to scale but the steps needed to grow aren’t detailed enough - 53.3%

Not very clear – I’m not sure this idea is designed to scale given how it’s explained here - 26.7%

3. How well does this idea define who its target users are and the ways that it can meet their needs and life stages?

Very well – I understand exactly who this idea is meant to engage and how it will support them - 40%

Ok – I’m not sure I could tell you exactly who the target user is but I might be able to guess - 53.3%

It’s hard to tell who this idea is actually meant to engage and support - 6.7%

4. Overall, how do you feel about this idea?

It rocked my world - 26.7%

I liked it but preferred others - 53.3%

It didn’t get me overly excited - 20%

32 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Kaixuan Liu
Team

A storyboard card, contains elders' memory and experience would greatly benefit youth in their future life. The design of engagement of a variety of age ranges is fascinating! Congrats!

Photo of Leigh Cullen
Team

A fun idea Avi! I can see how this could capture the attention of a variety of age ranges -- creating a life event storyboard. The idea makes me smile :)
Great work, and best of luck!
Leigh

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Beautiful Avi and the comments are wonderful as well. I am not sure that for everyone the final version really needs to be shared - ie: a book. For some the process can be shared with between the pair and that is enough. There is so much potential to be creative here. Drawing, collage, paint, words - remembering the past and dreaming of the future. It feels very activating. Great idea!

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Great to see your question prompts, Avi. Have you had the chance to try the process out with any friends or family creating stories using your prompts? We're excited to hear how things went and what was learnt along the way!

Photo of Avi Solomon
Team

Sorry Meena, have been toiling under a crushing workload this month! Would love it if members of the OI community could help test out the prototype of the life event storyboard prompt card http://www.scribd.com/doc/235263627/Life-Event-Storyboard-Prompt

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Perhaps you could make a clear call-to-action around this prominently on your post & get the word out on Twitter, etc to encourage folks to prototype? (and good luck with all your other work! :^)

Photo of Andi Doane
Team

I love this idea as it can be used in so many different contexts!

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congrats on your idea making it to the Top 20 shortlist, Avi! There’s clearly a lot of enthusiasm and rich conversation happening around your idea already. What we love so much about your idea is that it is ripe for prototyping. Has your team tried it yet? We’re excited to hear your insights and see how the storyboard cards begin to evolve visually. Lots of room to tangibly explore various evolutions of how they will look and feel. There’s been a strong theme in the challenge of the value in preserving personal memories and stories. We could see existing organisations, like 4H (per Deirdre’s comments), Mentor Up or StoryCorps getting really excited about implementing your idea within their programming. Also, this activity fits nicely at a local community level but is also scalable – how might you envision this idea getting packaged in ways that enable it to spread internationally? We can’t wait to see your idea evolve throughout Refinement! For more tips for this Refinement phase, check out http://ideo.pn/ym-refine-tips and catch our Lowdown on Refinement at http://bit.ly/oi_refine

Photo of Suzie Prince
Team

This reminds me of an assignment I had in school to write a biography. I choose to write about my neighbour who was 90. I spent a long time talking to her and learning about her experiences. I then wrote a "book" on her life. It has lasting memories for me and I often think of her experiences today.

I think she also valued the opportunity to tell her stories, to get the "book" and also learn about my life at school . Likewise the technology I used to record her and write down my notes.

If there had been a community that helped me publish the memoir or share it more widely I think she would have been very proud.

Photo of Avi Solomon
Team

Very nice Suzie!

Photo of Cristhian Parra
Team

The book idea is wonderful and it gives both the storyteller and the listener of the story a comeback, an artifact that represents their shared experience... This is one of the most interesting things we saw in our experience with using a tablet for capturing stories and bringing together older adults with younger listeners of the stories. At the end, we gave each of them a book and a month after they received it they keep talking and sharing their books with everyone, showing great pride about what they have built together... Definitely, the are wonderful opportunities of intergenerational mentorship and collaboration in: sharing the stories face-to-face, preserving them in digital format and finally converting everything into a wonderful book. A book that can have both the narrator and the listeners as coauthors :-)

Photo of Cristhian Parra
Team

BTW, take a look to the posting i did to read a bit more of the tool I was working on and the program we organized with it: https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-mentor/ideas/reminiscing-together-an-it-supported-mentorship-program-that-bridge-generations-through-memories-sharing-stimulation-and-collaboration-in-its-preservation

Photo of Alaine Newland
Team

I love this idea! When my great-grandma was 99 we tape-recorded her life story for her. It was so incredible to capture snippets of her adventures – and for us to have record of that for generations to come! I wonder if this idea could be a two-way capture, where both generations create memoirs. Afterall, if the younger generation begins to capture their life stories starting now, imagine the details and memories they'd keep.

Photo of Avi Solomon
Team

Absolutely Alaine! The mutual memoir process might also have a profound immediate effect on the outcome of the young people's future life.

Photo of Ashley Jablow
Team

LOVE the idea of mutual memoirs to create understanding and empathy on both ends. One idea: what if it looked like a pack of playing cards, with each card saying something directive about recalling a particular memory. It could ask questions like, 'what did/do you want to be when you grow up?' or 'share a story about your best friend in high school'...just a thought! But I think it could be a fun, social way to capture stories and memories.

Photo of Avi Solomon
Team

Awesome suggestion Ashley! The titled major life event storyboard cards could be a great trigger to capture and compare memories of all the participants. The older adult's answer to them might influence the younger person's choices (for the better) in the events that are still in their future. I'll try and rig up a prototype of the cards, time permitting:)

Photo of Annie Valdes
Team

What a fun and inspiring idea—I love the builds and variations on how to make this a more interactive tool!

Photo of Avi Solomon
Team

Thanks Annie!

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Nice one, Avi – and we're especially excited that you're planning to try this out with your grandmother. Looking forward to seeing what you learn towards evolving this idea further – and to seeing her story!

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Any news on interviewing your grandmother for this, Avi?

Photo of Avi Solomon
Team

Yes Meena, I did conduct an initial interview with my grandmother (in Marathi). I hope to make time later this month to prototype the memoir storyboard card and sketch a storyboard sequence of the main events of her life.

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Awesome, Avi. Can't wait to see it and hear your learnings from trying this out. Feel free to let me know via replying to this comment once it's up on your post.

Photo of Jacqueline Morgan
Team

Avi,

Your idea is very similar in intent to another contributor - Jenn. I think you both share a sense of the strong sense of value in preserving memories and stories. I love the focus of your idea.

Similar to the comment I made on Jenn's idea, my strong sense is that there are organizations out there ( Boys/Girls Scouts as suggested by Ashely) that might be very interested in hearing about your storyboard ideas and Jenn's Digital Shoebox. I know they are always looking for fresh, tech-enabled ways/means to engage their kids and work with others in the communities...

As a lightweight experiment, it might be interesting to solicit their feedback on both your idea and Jenn's?

Photo of Avi Solomon
Team

Thanks Jacqueline! I'm reaching out to Social Work students at a local college that have a course on fieldwork techniques as part of their degree requirements. Maybe this could be a semester long project with academic credit?

Photo of Cristhian Parra
Team

Nice Idea Avi! And inline with what I have been working during the past few years :-)

On my experience, social reminiscence is a wonderful activity that holds a great potential for intergenerational engagement. One of the keys, from what I have observed, is to have a final goal, a final outcome towards which the activity is leading us. In the project I led, that goal was a final book that collected all the stories, with narrators and listeners as coauthors. It would be great if the storyboards could somehow be later collected in something like this book (or something else), that can be shared to inspire other interactions with other people.

Perhaps this can be part of what I proposed here, or what i proposed can be part of this idea :-) : https://openideo.com/challenge/youth-mentor/ideas/reminiscing-together-an-it-supported-mentorship-program-that-bridge-generations-through-memories-sharing-stimulation-and-collaboration-in-its-preservation

Photo of Avi Solomon
Team

Awesome Idea Cristhian! Perhaps the life event storyboard cards could be one of the tools that could be used within the framework of your idea? Please feel free to incorporate the cards into your idea once I put up the prototype. The paper cards can be a trigger that can serve many ends:)

Photo of Cristhian Parra
Team

You are totally right Avi! The storyboards can really work amazingly as a trigger for the collaboration and also as a trigger for remembering the past and telling other stories... I think both ideas can really enrich each other! Thanks!

Photo of Deirdre Gonsalves
Team

Thanks for the idea, Avi. This brings to mind a project that I did with a family literacy program. It's much more simplistic because we had a lot of people; however, it was a tool that served as a powerful catalyst for sharing and reflecting between generations. Participants explored five themes that related to milestones in growing up. (Family, fun/entertainment, school, work, as well as hopes/dreams). Each theme was framed as a fill-in-the-blank statement, i.e., "When I was young, to have fun, my friends and I ____________________________". Both the older adult and the youth would complete the sentence independent of each other and then share. They would then explain a bit more about why the activity was fun and go into more detail. Then that information would captured in a couple of paragraphs and be added to the page. If possible, each person would use a disposable camera or find illustrations to connect a visual to the activity and add as well. This was done across the five themes and eventually was turned into a small booklet that was duplicated as a takeaway for each person and also saved for the program.
I think with so much more technology at our finger tips the storyboards you describe could be useful for many adaptations of the exercise! Thanks again for your idea!

Photo of Avi Solomon
Team

This is amazing Deirdre! The themes could structure the memoir writing prompts that will be printed on the back of each life event storyboard card (I have a soft spot for paper tech!).

Photo of Paul Reader
Team

Another great idea Avi and super input Deirdre. I also like the possibility of looking to the future as well as the past.

Paper technology has a number of important advantages too - appart from being low tech it has familiarity for those of us in the target generation, it is more tangible in a world where so much is transient and its tangibility makes it memorable and, somehow, more persoanal and shareable.

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congrats on this post being today's Featured Contribution!

Photo of Ashley Jablow
Team

Love it, Avi! Hope you'll share your interview process with the community as you continue teasing out your idea.