Ideation is the creative process of generating, developing, and curating new ideas. Better ideas lead to innovation and innovation leads to market leadership. Every organization wants better ideas, but it's tough to actually capture them in a manageable way. Aha! allows you to collect, curate, and promote ideas into features or initiatives to ensure that key feedback and requests are seamlessly integrated into your product planning and development processes.
Through our integrations with Salesforce and Zendesk, sales and support team members can search for and link to existing ideas or create new ones to help add extra value to the ideation process in Aha!
Ideas is a dedicated section in Aha! for product managers to create and manage new ideas and feature requests for consideration on the product roadmap. However, to capture any new ideas from users you will need to create a custom ideas portal.
Create a custom ideas portal
The ideas portal is configured through your account and product 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 screen when you are viewing that product.
You may configure multiple ideas portals types per product, e.g.: Private portal for partners and a public portal for customers. You can also configure one portal for all of your products, 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 chose from:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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 product managers to engage interested stakeholders for further feedback on an idea as well as easily notify stakeholders when their idea has been put into production.
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.
By default, an idea's visibility is controlled by how and by whom it's created. Visibility of an idea can be changed by Aha! users in the Ideas detail. The following lists how ideas are created and default visibility.
- 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 Aha! users.
- Ideas submitted via Salesforce.com or Zendesk will be private by default and only visible to Aha! users.
The default visibility for submitted Ideas (i.e. Salesforce, Zendesk, and email) can also be customized. This provides you with more control over how Ideas are managed and monitored in your Idea Portals. It is important to note that Ideas submitted through Zendesk will inherit the default visibility from that portal's visibility settings. The following are the customized visibility options.
- Not visible in portal
- Visible to employees and partners
- Visible to anyone
Change the idea submitter
At times, it is helpful to change the idea submitter. The most common use case for this action is when a product manager is still receiving ideas through e-mail or in discussions with customers, and wishes to submit the idea on a customer's behalf. A product 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 idea is made visible to them, they will be able to see that idea under "My Ideas".
Manage and promote ideas to features or initiatives
The key to idea management in Aha! is that Aha! users can easily review ideas, engage stakeholders who expressed interest in the idea and then promote an idea to a feature or initiative.
Once promoted to a feature or initiative, a link will be created between the idea and the newly created feature. The idea will automatically be marked as planned in the ideas portal after the feature 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 feature watchers within the system. This way, when the conversation moves from ideas to features, the original interested parties on the team can automatically continue to follow the conversation.
When the feature or initiative gets completed and marked as shipped, the idea automatically updates to reflect the completion and all stakeholders are notified that the feature has been shipped.
This also works in the other direction for features. An existing feature in Aha! can have an idea created from it through the feature action menu. This is especially useful if your feature backlog needs to be trimmed and you want to move features back to ideas or if you have a feature planned that you want to present in your portal for people to be able to follow the status of.