Invitation to Innovation

Funeral homes are constantly looking for innovative ways to provide exceptional services and meet the evolving needs of their clients. Recently, the Order of the Golden Rule (OGR) had its inaugural “Invitation to Innovation” workshop to explore new approaches to caring for cremation clients. Led by Andrew Loos from Heartland Cremation & Burial Society, participants engaged in ideation exercises to generate implementable ideas. The event sparked creativity and highlighted the importance of viewing cremation services through the eyes of customers. Let's dive into some of the exciting ideas that emerged from this workshop.

Understanding Customer Needs:

Throughout the day, attendees collaborated to identify common questions and challenges faced by cremation families. One issue that surfaced was the uncertainty surrounding the arrival of death certificates. To address this concern, funeral homes could provide families with an informational sheet during the arrangement conference. This document would outline the process and estimated timeline for obtaining these critical documents. Another suggestion was to create a texting tree, which would keep key family members informed about the progress of the death certificate through regular updates via group texts.

Collaboration with Local Artists and Businesses:

Another solution that was brought up could be partnering with local artists and companies to provide unique and meaningful experiences to grieving families. Imagine a signature scent created by a candle maker that funeral homes could gift to the families they serve, offering a distinctive olfactory tribute to their loved ones. Funeral homes could also collaborate with wineries or breweries to create private-labeled products, enabling families to share a final toast in memory of their dear departed. The ideation process further explored the integration of various artisans, such as potters, woodworkers, glass artists, and photographers, to create personalized and memorable mementos for bereaved families.

Differentiation and Growth:

Beyond the brainstorming session, the workshop addressed broader challenges faced by funeral homes. One major theme that emerged was the realization that cremation has become a dominant choice for families. With this in mind, funeral homes must adapt and innovate to meet the changing demands of their clientele. Sharing experiences and success stories fostered a sense of camaraderie among participants, who described the event as a blend of a study group and an innovation workshop. This collaborative environment encouraged the understanding that funeral homes can learn from one another to enhance their own services.

Exploring New Horizons:

Another exciting idea generated during the workshop involved establishing a funeral home exchange program. This initiative would enable staff members to visit and shadow employees at other OGR firms, observing different practices and gaining fresh insights. By stepping outside their own walls, funeral home staff can bring back innovative ideas and forge new connections within the industry.


OGR's Invitation to Innovation workshop brought together funeral home professionals seeking to revolutionize their approach to cremation services. Participants, guided by Andrew Loos, engaged in ideation exercises that sparked creative solutions to common challenges. From improving communication to collaborating with local artists and businesses, the workshop emphasized the need for differentiation and personalized experiences. By embracing innovation and sharing knowledge, funeral homes can offer exceptional services that meet the evolving needs of grieving families.

This article was originally published in the Spring 2023 issue of The Independent® magazine. Click here to read the entire excerpt about the Invitation to Innovation Workshop and Spring 2023 issue.

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