Since the cost structure for my service is value driven I synthesized the value proposition a little further. In the research I conducted an interview with Jesse (co-founder of Entrustet), he gave me some interesting insides which helped me come to the conclusion that the value proposition can probably be divided in two big areas. First, the personal values, which includes experiences, stories or even physical things that are important to someone but not necessarily have a material value. On the other side there are digital assets, those are the things that might have a financial value to the person and the heirs. An immediate access might be important (for example in order to get the access to a website that sells something and that someone left behind).

But the value proposition for the potential customer is not only having and saving content, it is also to controlling that content. I think this is very important to keep in mind: What people want is to make sure that after their death they are remembered in a way they are comfortable with, they want that the right information/assets are getting inherited. Interestingly this controlled legacy can already be seen in oral traditions that are being told in families: most of the times repeated and fairly specific.

After having the value proposition outlined I started to think about the key activities for the customers of my service. I am still not sure if this service enables the user to built a legacy by collecting data from daily life or if the main goal of this service is to sort already existing data/assets in a “legacy bucket”. Potentially it could even be both but in order to make a decision I started to prototype different scenarios. During the first prototype I wanted to get insights into the experience of reflecting on life as well as collecting on a regular basis. I asked people to write down one sentence and chose/take one picture every second day. Those memories could be a reflection of the last 2 days, a very good moment or just things that are in mind and important. I made boxes for half the people in which the sentence could be stored in order to research the relevance of physical objects.

The Prototype gave me interesting insides. 12 people participated with the task to write down one memory every day. 6 of the people had a box to put their thought into and the other half didn’t. 5 of 6 people with the box put in a thought almost every day. 3 of the 6 people without the box forgot to put memories in the box. It seems to be important to be reminded by an object. One of the participants said, she liked the way this box became her “personal box of memories”.

Post-it Brainstorm

During the first round of ideation I only took about 5 minutes for one idea and then moved on to the next one. Goals were to look at the problem in as many angles as I could. However, I still considered the pain point, opportunities and design principles that were established during the research phase. Later I reduced the ideations to the top 5 ideas.

Time Capsule

A object that opens its content only once a year. During this one time new content can be added (things that happened over the last year) and old content can be viewed (what was going on two years ago). A milestone/reward could be a yearly report that could be shared within the family or even a family gathering to look at the last years data.

Future Message

This message can be written now but send to the future. For example I could write a message to my sister right now, but send it in 16 years as for example a birthday present. This message could also be send to the children in 50 years.

Memorialize

This portable object comes with a camera, audio recording and a button, by pushing the button a picture gets taken and audio gets recorded – a moment is memorialized. The content will be saved on the object as well as on a private online site. Ideas like a memorialize button on websites, reminders to collect more content and an easy way to decide on what happens with social networks came up.

Social Gravestone

During lifetime important data could be send to an online database. After death this database will be implemented in a gravestone. If friends and family want to visit that data they can go to that gravestone and enter memories and saved information from a loved one.

Data, Nature

Data: How can the service tell a story with someones data? Here I want to have a closer look into the editing process and making data interactive. Nature: What makes me, me? What could I take from the bionic science to influence the service or the product?

Concepts

Based on the ideation phase I established 3 concepts to move forward with. Those concepts are further developed and have the goal to establish one favorite to work on further. Through the research I established two different directions to build a legacy – First, actively collecting (e.g. writing a diary) and passively collecting (sorting things that are already online, already collected). Based on that as well as considering the “Design Principles”, “Pain Points” and the “Identity Spaces” I developed 3 concepts. I presented these concepts to about 20 people and gathered feedback afterwards.

First concept “The Key Concept”

In this concept the center of the interaction is a key. This key is an object (the form is not defined yet) that enables the user to open his/her legacy and save information to that legacy. With the key a “dropbox”opens in which information can be dropped and saved. I used a key to make sure that the user is seriously considering what information he/she wants to add but also to make sure that this information is entirely private and only the key holder can enter it. To make sure that the user is not only saving information but is also providing context and meaning to future generations I added a time frame: Only once a year the user can enter his/her legacy but can then comment on saved data – this should give an opportunity to reflect on the past year to consider valuable information. A “email to others” button lets the user share a experience with others if wanted.

Second concept “The Family Urn”

Influenced by the idea around social objects and related reading I put the family in the center of that concept. I wanted to take into consideration that a persons legacy is not only personal content but also the social interactions between that person and someone else. In my view, the most interesting conservations/interactions are between people that are close (like family, partner, close friends) and can potentially give a very authentic view about someone’s identity. Based on that thinking I placed a digital urn as a social object in the middle of a family. This urn has a hard disc in it to save shared experiences and provides access to this content so that family members can add context to the things that they experienced together. The user can save all family names and user names as well as social networks and other online applications (like gmail), this data gets linked and matching data gets saved. For example: If a picture gets uploaded to flickr with the name tags of at least two family members, this picture gets saved in the urn. Another example could be mails between two family members. Later family members can add memories to the pictures, mails, conversations.

Third concept “Future Message

With this concept the user is able to send messages to the future. The message is addressed to someone and can be send not now but at a desired time. Personal stories can be send to close friends, the next generation or even to the “future me”.

Synthesis

During the presentation people resonated the most with the third concept – The Future Message. The reason might be that in this idea the human interaction has an emphases. However, it is also the idea with the most self initiative needed in order to be a successful concept. It highly depends on an insightful writing-stile. My prototype showed that the likelihood to stop writing on a regular basis is high (More than half of the people stopped writing a sentence every second day after about 10 days).

I like the family urn because it shows not only a reflection of an individual but the environment he/she lives in. I think there needs to be more work done in addressing the execution of this concept. It might be crucial to design an object that is more important and meaningful to a family and/or adding additional value by providing a framework in which stories and memories can grow.

The first concept raised concerns regarding the actual object (the key). I think I made it not clear enough that the object is not a flash drive or any other object we know now. I still like the idea: making digital legacy physical. A “key object” was a good start but I put more thinking in this area. Intention was it to combine the second concept (family urn) with the first concept.

Moving on with the “Key-Concept”

Main touch-points in the service design experience are a “key”, a website and the actual legacy that will be inherited (can be a book, letters, etc.).

The key is a physical object chosen by the customer. This object will be used as a password to open the website to his/her legacy, his object is unique to every customer. Once used to open the website, the key allows to travel back in time so that the user can see his/her data uploaded or taken a year ago.

The website is linked to social networks, nevertheless it is a personal private space to the customer. The content from social networks acts as a starting point to make it easier to add additional stories that bring pictures and data from social networks into context. The additional stories can be read one year in the future to grow new content. Therewith the site can visibly age by growing more and more information. With this site a digital legacy can be build.

After one dies the site and the complete legacy can be inherited. The customer can give the object to someone else. By using the object the legacy site will open.

From collecting and building a legacy I moved to the second part: the legacy as a heritage. Since this is what will get inherited and what will survive as a reflection of someones life, it should be long-lasting and very meaningful. The service should be able to compete with the physical world and should create long-lasting or meaningful objects and experiences.

To better understand the whole system I used my learned knowledge from the Dan Brown workshop and design a concept map. The first slide is the final concept and the slides two to four are screenshots of the development process.

Core of the concept is seen on the button of the model: “The user is collecting and organizing a legacy to leave for heirs”. This statement immediately makes clear that there are two kinds of users who interact with the system – the user and their heirs. The user collects and tags the legacy, to leave it for the heirs. The heirs explore that legacy, and potentially begin collecting a legacy of their own. The legacy itself is the bridge that connects those two sets of users over time.

The user maintains his/her digital property. The property is divided into spaces in order to make it easier to access for the heirs. The digital property is a big part of the users legacy but cannot be seen without the context in which the legacy is becoming meaningful for the heirs. As aid to generate value to the legacy the system will ask the user to contribute meaningful context to already existing content. In order to add this context the user logs into the system where he/she can see all the content that was produced a year ago – this can be from social networks, personal sites (blog) or files from the local computer. With this feature the user will be asked to reflect on one year old experiences and can then add stories, memories and thoughts. The system will ask the user to look into the content once a month. The memories added can be videos, photos and writing but also physical objects. The system will add meta data to all existing content.

Creating a legacy is about creating a shared space that reveals ones identity. The content in this space acts as seeds to remind not only the user of shared experiences but also the heirs. In this digital space the user can than add his version of the experience. Those experiences are closely related to time, place, object and people which will become the meta data connecting all experiences.

The heirs cannot only see the whole digital legacy but are rather encouraged to explore the content through the meta data. Time, place, object and people will be the seed for varying viewpoints on the content.
 With time the heirs can see all the content related to age, so for example the 27 year old heir would see all the content from his/her grandmother when she was 27 in order to directly compare lives. The same comparison is happening with place: if the heir is going to a relevant place, lets say grandmother’s birthplace, content connected to that meta data will be shown. The heirs cannot only explore the physical space of their ancestors but also see the digital data related. 
Physical objects will be tagged with digital data by the user (or already tagged) and when the heir is taking a picture of the object or if he/she is holding it in front of the computer this information can be seen. This allows to bring mementos that are part of an experience or a “seed” for an experience into the legacy. 
People who shared an experience will be tagged in the system to allow to understand someone better through his/her network.

All the data will be saved online and the output of the legacy can have different forms. It can be physical letters, objects, an app or an email. Since this service is supposed to last for decades it will be up to the heirs how they intent to view their ancestors legacy. The service will provide the view through meta information and data will be stored as accessible as possible; readable on as many devices as possible.