Introduction to ideas

Better ideas lead to innovation, and innovation leads to market leadership — but it's tough to actually capture ideas in a manageable way.

Ideas is a dedicated section in Aha! that you can use to create and manage new ideas, feature requests, or feedback for consideration in your roadmap. You can discuss ideas with your customers, and promote the best ideas to records in Aha!, seamlessly integrating customer feedback into your planning and development processes. 

Because ideas portal users are free and unlimited in every Aha! billing plan, you can invite or import as many users as you want. Or, empower your sales and support teams to submit votes on behalf of customers through proxy voting and our Salesforce and Zendesk integrations.

Note: Depending on your workspace type, this article may refer to Aha! record types differently than your team does.   

Click any of the following links to skip ahead: 

Create a custom ideas portal

The ideas portal is configured through your account and workspace settings. Both are accessed by clicking your name in the top corner of Aha! and selecting Settings. This will allow you to configure a portal and add the Ideas tab at the top of the page when you are viewing that product or workspace. 

You may configure multiple ideas portals types per product, e.g.: a private portal for partners and a public portal for customers. You can also configure one portal for all of your products and workspaces, e.g.: when customers use more than one product they will only need to remember one idea portal but be able to choose between products.

When you create a portal, there are three different types to choose from:

  1. Submit only: Create a form that users can fill out to submit new ideas. You will need to share the location of the form with users and they will not be able to see other submitted ideas.
  2. Private: Create a forum that is only available to registered users of specific, pre-defined email domains. These users can submit and view ideas submitted by other registered members of that forum, and can also vote on behalf of customers and organizations with proxy voting, if you enable it.
  3. Public: Create a forum that is visible and available to anyone who knows the link. Both public users and registered private users can submit ideas to this forum. Public users' ideas will be visible to everyone. Private users' ideas will be visible to only other registered private users. 

Go ahead and configure your ideas now if you don't need to read more about each portal type. 

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Customize your ideas forms

Ideas portals are not the only aspect of ideas management that you can customize. You can also create custom layouts for ideas, with the option to include (or require) different types of fields for the different types of ideas. 

To edit the custom layout for an idea — including adding custom fields! — navigate to Settings ⚙️ > Account > Custom layouts and select one of the following ideas record layouts:

  • Ideas: When users in your Aha! account want to submit an idea internally, outside of your ideas portal, they use the Ideas record layout. Only users in your Aha! account can create, see, or edit these ideas. This layout is useful for ideas that apply to parts of your roadmap that aren't yet publicly visible. 
  • Ideas forms: When people submit a new idea through an ideas portal submission form, they use the Ideas form record layout. 
  • Ideas portals: When people view a submitted idea on your ideas portal, they use the Ideas portal record layout.
  • Ideas portal proxy votes layout adjusts what portal users see when they add a proxy vote on an ideas portal. 
  • Ideas proxy votes layout adjusts what users in Aha! see when they add a proxy vote internally. This form gives you the option to include fields that you might not want available to an external audience. 

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Submit, comment, and vote on ideas

All ideas portal users are free and unlimited. This means you can have as many stakeholders as you would like submitting and providing feedback on ideas. 

There are four ways to submit an idea to your ideas portal: 

  • Portal users can navigate to your ideas portal and fill out the idea creation form.
  • Users can create ideas by email.
  • Salesforce and Zendesk users can create ideas with an Aha! integration. 
  • Any user in your Aha! account with at least reviewer user permissions can create an idea in Aha! from the + menu in the upper righthand corner of their screen. 

Note: Reviewers can create, vote on, and comment on ideas, but can only edit ideas they themselves created.

The ability for ideas users to vote and comment on ideas is especially important because it adds the users as subscribers. Subscribers are automatically notified when status changes and admin comments are made. This makes it simple for you to engage interested stakeholders for further feedback on an idea as well as easily notify stakeholders when their idea has been shipped. Ideas portal users can one-click unsubscribe to portal email notifications if they do not want to receive notifications.

Users can edit their own ideas in the portal after they have been submitted. If they locate an idea in My ideas that should be updated or refined for better context, they may select Edit idea and edit the idea name, description, or custom fields for the idea.

If a user adds a proxy vote to an idea, that user is subscribed to the idea — not the organization they were voting on behalf of. The portal user can then keep track of updates to the idea, and notify the organization or contact of important developments. 

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Idea visibility

When first created, an idea's visibility defaults to the idea portal's default visibility settings. For example:

  • Ideas submitted by public users will be visible to anyone on the public portal.
  • Ideas submitted by a registered employee/partner will be visible to other employee/partners.
  • Ideas submitted by a registered Aha! user will be private by default and only be visible to other Aha! users in your account.
  • Ideas created via a Zendesk integration will inherit the default visibility from the idea portal's visibility settings. 

But an Aha! user can override these defaults if they choose, and change the visibility of an idea individually. An idea's visibility can be customized to:

  • Not visible in portal
  • Visible to employees and partners
  • Visible to anyone  

It is important to understand that these visibility settings do not just apply to an ideas portal. Ideas can be visible and searchable in multiple ideas portals, so Visible to anyone means that the idea is visible to any public or private portal enabled in a given workspace. 

For this reason, if you have an internal private portal, we recommend setting the default ideas visibility as Visible to employees and partners

To change the default visibility of ideas in a portal, navigate to Settings ⚙️> Account > Ideas portals. From there, select your ideas portal and you will see an option for Idea visibility. Select Customize idea visibility and choose your preferred visibility option. 

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Hide portal user names

Customers have the option to make users within their ideas portal anonymous. While we believe transparency in the ideation process is important, sometimes you need to provide customers with anonymity. This option makes it so users in a public or private idea portal cannot see the names of other users.

Ideas submitted by others will show up as submitted by an anonymous user while ideas submitted by the user will still display to them as an idea they submitted.

Aha! users viewing the idea within Aha! can still see full details on who submitted the idea, so teams will not lose visibility into where requests come from with this setting enabled.

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Change the idea submitter

At times, it is helpful to change the idea submitter. For example, if you are still receiving ideas through email or in discussions with customers, you might want to submit the idea on a customer's behalf. An owner or contributor can set another user as the submitter by editing the idea and setting the new user as the idea creator. If the customer is also a portal user and the idea is made visible to them, they will be able to see that idea under My ideas.

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Manage and promote ideas

Aha! users have three different views (Overview (shown), List, and Chart) to manage submitted ideas.

The key to idea management is that Aha! users can easily review ideas, engage stakeholders who expressed interest in the idea and then promote an idea to an initiative, master feature, or feature.

Once promoted to an initiative, master feature, or feature, a link is created between the idea and the newly created record. Then the idea votes total becomes visible on the record, which provides a helpful reference during prioritization. The idea will automatically be marked as Planned in the ideas portal after the record is created and all users on the idea's notification list will be notified. At the same time, any Aha! account users watching the idea will automatically become record watchers within the system. This way, when the conversation moves from ideas to an Aha! record, the original interested parties on the team can automatically continue to follow the conversation.

When the initiative, master feature, or feature gets completed and marked as shipped, the idea automatically updates to reflect the completion. All stakeholders are notified that the record has been shipped.

This also works in the other direction for master features and features. An existing master feature or feature in Aha! can have an idea created from it through the More options menu (select Create related idea). This is especially useful if your backlog needs to be trimmed and you want to move master features and features back to ideas. It is also helpful when you have a master feature or feature planned that you want to present in your portal so that people can follow its status.

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