Serious health issues and aging are experiences that touch us all. Yet when you are in the experience it feels like uncharted territory. Everything is new — the emotions, medical questions, financial worries, legal requirements, you name it — even though millions of people have stood in your same shoes before. How can we learn from everyone who has gone before us and break through the sense that we are in this alone?
The “I Know Something” community captures short, personal video stories from people who have faced the hard moments in life that we don’t talk about every day. It’s about giving voice to every one of us and all we know. We then add links and reflection exercises to the stories to make it easier to think about your own situation and specific needs. So in our own time, at our own pace, and in our own way, we can figure out answers surrounded by others who have been here before.
The idea for this new way of supporting each other grew from Jim’s experience losing Amy, his wife, to cancer just after their daughter’s first birthday. They worked their way through one decision after another, each time trying to find perspectives and experiences that could help them make sense of the “objective facts.” After Amy’s death, Jim slowly discovered how good it felt to share his stories with others and turn the toughest experiences of his life into something deeply useful for others.
I Know Something is still in its infancy. The project was launched during a national challenge to reimagine the end of life experience, where it was selected as a Top Idea by Sutter Health, IDEO, and a national panel of healthcare experts. You can see all the details from that work on our concept page for the challenge. We’re now working on building a community and turning I Know Something into a service that can help millions of people each year.
Today you’ll find a small collection of stories on our site. We hope they will give you an idea for how powerful these stories and this support experience can be. Imagine facing a tough decision such as whether to try a risky treatment or to use life support measures (such as a breathing tube or feeding tube). You could come here, type in your question, and hear from twenty or thirty people who’ve had to make the same hard decision before. That’s where we’re going from here.
We believe in doing our thinking out in public and creating with our community. This site is live and running but it’s far from complete. You’ll see places where we don’t have all the content yet that we want, and lots of places where we could do more but don’t have the features built yet. We’d love to hear your thoughts and get your help.
How can you get involved?
- Register for the site: We would love to have you on-board. With an account you’ll have access to all the tools we build. And we’ll know who you are so we can stay in touch. Click here to register.
- Be interviewed about your story: We will work with you to select some specific experiences to share, then interview you (online) to capture your story. We’ll edit the video, check with you that we presented your story well, and then we’ll add the links and exercises to help others learn from your story. The process usually involves two 30 minute conversations — the first to learn about your story and select the experiences to share, and the second to conduct the interview. If you are interested, click here to set up an interview!
- Share your feedback about I Know Something: We are trying everyday to learn more about people and how to help. We would love to hear your thoughts. Click here to answer our four question survey.
- Join our working community: We started this project in a national open innovation community. There’s lots more work to do and I’m really excited to continue to collaborate with everyone. We have a working community on Facebook, for people who want to keep up with the effort, provide feedback on ideas, and volunteer to help at times. I hope you will join the IKS Project Facebook Group.
Thanks so much!
Jim and the team at I Know Something