The Ideas tool allows you to collect your community’s views and suggestions on a range of set topics or challenges. Participants can add their ideas and vote on other contributions in order to help you unpack priorities and most relevant ideas to your community.
Using the Ideas tool is great for co-designing solutions with your community and also for collecting input in the early stages of developing your consultation. It is also a great tool to use with a mobile device such as a tablet to collect ideas digitally in a face-to-face setting.
To use the tool, first you need to add it to your project page. In the project page, click on the Add tool button.
A list of tools is displayed on a draw from the right of the screen. Click on Ideas to add the Ideas tool to your project. This tool is available in the Open environment tools tab. The Ideas tool is also available in the All tab.
Now, you can view the Idea page. Enter a suitable title in the Add a title field and click the Create button. The character limit for title text is 150. The permalink is automatically generated after you enter the title in the Title field.
Note: There is no character limit for the description field.
The Edit button
You can change the name of the tool by clicking the pencil icon. In the displayed Name field you can mention the desired name of the tool and click on the Save button to save the changes.
Click the Edit button to change the details and settings of your Ideas topic, as displayed below. You can also click on the title.
Here, you can view the Details and Settings tab. The Details tab displays the title, description, and tags of the ideas topic. You can edit information in these fields if required.
The Settings will allow you to edit participation settings, permalink, and email notifications and acknowledgments.
In this section, you can change participation settings based on how you want your participants to engage and allow Unverified participation.
Customize the settings of your Ideas topic as explained below.
Allow unverified participation - enable the toggle to allow anyone with an email and screen name to add ideas, comments, and likes.
Allow comments - enable the toggle to allow participants to comment on ideas posted by other participants or on their own ideas as well.
Allow image upload - enable the toggle to allow participants to add images to their idea contributions.
Indefinite voting - selected by default, this option is apt for a long-running activity to accumulate ideas and votes over time. Ideas can be added and voted for as soon as the tool is published.
Using the Ideas tool for Voting only
You can set up a unique Idea tool where users and admins can add ideas for a certain time period. After this time period is over, ideas can no longer be added to the tool however, users can vote on these ideas.
Idea period - Users add Ideas to the tool.
Voting period - Users can only vote on ideas.
This splits the entire activity into an idea collection period and a voting period. On clicking the Scheduled Voting option, the following screen is displayed.
For example: If you’re looking to collect votes on different park designs, add the shortlisted park designs as Ideas while logged in as an administrator. If necessary, use the Profile menu in your Dashboard to update your login name if you’d like it to reflect your organisation name when it sits against the Idea submitted.
Once you have added the relevant Ideas to be considered for community voting, select Scheduled Voting in the Ideas tool settings, and choose the open and closing dates for the participant voting period.
While Scheduled Voting is enabled, participants and administrators will no longer be able to add new Ideas, effectively locking the tool to function only for voting purposes and ensuring your participants can focus on voting for their preferred Idea.
The permalink is generated automatically after you enter the title in the Title field. For example, if the title entered is Test Ideas, the permalink is automatically generated as /test-ideas, as indicated in the image below.
Email notifications and acknowledgments
Admins get notified by email when new comments are added. You can select the checkboxes based on your notification requirements.
a. Send email acknowledgment to the participant when a new idea is added – Select this to confirm a participant whenever they add a new idea.
b. Send email notifications to admins when new ideas are added – Select this to notify the admin when new ideas are added.
c. The participants and the admins get notified of comments on their Ideas. At the moment, there is no option to disable this, as it is the default setting.
When your tool is ready for use, you can publish it by selecting the Publish option as shown below.
After publishing the tool, options to unpublish and archive are available. After completing the consultation, you can archive it by clicking on the Archive option. An archived idea is still visible, but a participant cannot add a new idea or comment even if they were previously allowed. You also have the option to unpublish it by clicking on the Unpublish option in the drop-down menu.
To schedule “publishing or archiving” of the Ideas topic, click on the Schedule button. Once you click on the button, the below screen is displayed.
Set the date and time for publishing or archiving” the topic of the idea. After this, click the Save button to save the publish or archive schedule.
Note: Schedule archiving is possible only once when the tool is published.
How to highlight an idea in the tool?
You can reorder your ideas to highlight the display of a particular one. If you have several ideas awaiting input and would like to reorder the list, you can do so by dragging and dropping the Idea in the relevant order as in the video below. So an idea that needs to be highlighted can be reordered to appear first.
Contact our support team if you need any further assistance via chat or email firstname.lastname@example.org