Making Decisions about Ideas
How Do I Change the State of an Idea?
Kindling contains a few built-in states: Open, Paused, Declined, Approved, and Completed. All Ideas start in the Open state, in which Users can vote on them.
To change the state of an Idea, open the Idea in Kindling and select “States” below the Idea’s description.
Then, choose the desired new state for Idea from the “Idea State” selection and add a comment describing the reason for the state change.
Note that when changing the state of an Idea from a decision state to a non-decision state, all votes previously submitted on the idea will be removed and the vote count will return to zero.
Click “Change Idea State” to submit your change. The new state will appear on the Idea itself as well as in the activity feed for the Idea. Any comments you entered will also appear in the Idea‘s activity feed.
How Do I Change the State of Multiple Ideas at Once?
To change the state of multiple ideas at once, while within a Category/Campaign, choose the Moderate option and then click Change State. You will be able to choose multiple Ideas, sortable by Idea State and amount of Votes per idea. You can also filter the Ideas.
Click “Next Step” and choose the Idea State that you’d like to change these Ideas to. Click “Next Step” to add comments to these Ideas, in order to let your Users know why you have decided to move these Ideas through the workflow. Note that this comment will be made public, and will not be limited to Moderators only. Click “Next Step” once more to review your changes, and then click the “Make Changes” button.
Do I Need to Use the Declined State? Won't This Discourage Participation?
The Declined state is an important part of the Idea workflow. An Idea can be declined for any number of reasons: it's not feasible, it doesn't align well with established goals, it has already been tried without success before, etc. Since not all Ideas will be implemented, it's important that action be taken on them as well. An Idea that is deemed to be impractical but stays in its open state indefinitely appears no different to a participant than an Idea that has never been looked at. Users need feedback when their ideas won‘t be implemented.
Each “Decline” action should be accompanied by an explanatory message, even if it just shows it was considered. Here are some examples of good “Declined” messages:
- “This is an interesting Idea but unfortunately we don't have room for it in this year's budget since we are already doing recycling.”
- “This Idea isn't projected to meet the minimum cost-saving requirements.”
- “We can't purchase the software you've recommended at this time.”
- “This technique was attempted several years ago, but with little result.”
More than having every Idea approved, most Users are concerned that their Ideas are heard and given due consideration. So, don’t be afraid to say “no,” just do it transparently and thoughtfully.
What If I Leave an Idea in a State for a Long Period?
Leaving ideas unevaluated indefinitely can impact the morale of your User community, so it‘s important to update participants about the status of Ideas they‘ve submitted. Kindling will automatically send Moderators reminder emails about Ideas left in a non-Completed, non-Opened state for more than thirty days. Notifications will only be sent to Moderators in the Category the Idea is in, and only once per discrete state. For example:
- Jonathan creates an Idea in Category A. After some discussion and voting, Rose, a moderator, puts the Idea into a custom state.
- A few Users comment on the idea, but no change changes occur for the following month. Thirty days after the Idea was set to the custom state, all Moderators in the Category the Idea is in receive an email alerting them that the Idea hasn‘t had any action taken on it recently.
- Another Moderator, David, receives the notification and Approves the Idea. The company sets up a task in their project management system and uses their existing processes to implement the Idea.
- A month passes. Another email is sent to Moderators, reminding them that the Idea is in a non-Completed (but not “Open”) state. Rose makes a comment on the Idea noting that the company is working on implementing it.
- Six months pass. Kindling will only send a notification once per state, so no more reminders about the Idea's state are send to Moderators during this period.
- Finally, the Idea is completed. Rose changes the Idea's state to Completed and lets Jonathan and the other Users of Kindling know how it went with another comment.
When I Change the State of an Idea, Are Comments Important?
Yes, it‘s good practice to explain the reason for state changes to keep the Idea creator in the loop and let participants know what factors have influenced your decision. This is especially important when you‘re declining an Idea. Your comments will appear in the Idea’s activity feed alongside the state change.
Additionally, you may choose to mention particular Users in the comment to call their attention to the state change and comment.