Introduction to 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 planning and development processes. And because ideas portal users are free and unlimited in every Aha! billing plan, you can invite or import as many users as you want. 

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.

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. However, to capture any new ideas from users, you will need to create a custom ideas portal.

Depending on your Aha! use case — or how you choose to customize your Aha! terminology — some of the terminology in this article might appear different than your own. You might have "projects" instead of "products," and you might use ideas more for your marketing activities than your product management roadmap. That's fine. Ideation can help you in any use case. 

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 forum 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. 
  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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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. 

To submit an idea, users can navigate to your portal and fill out your idea creation form, or they can create ideas by email.

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.

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Idea visibility

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 idea's detail drawer. 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 other Aha! users in your account.

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 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  

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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 button. 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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