New evaluation technique “Effort/Benefit” available for IdeaClouds!

Are you a cost engineer wanting to evaluate ideas for cost savings? Do you work in a continuous improvement team wanting to prioritize ideas for improvement? With IdeaClouds, you now have a new evaluation technique to rate the efforts and benefits of your ideas together with your team.

Do your ideas have the potential for improvement or new products?

If you want to know whether your generated ideas have a high potential for improvement or new products, you should evaluate the effort to realize the idea and the benefit of the idea. This evaluation method is especially suitable for value analysts, continuous improvement process coordinators, and Agile teams.

The informative results chart enables you to the ideas your team should pursue further at a glance – ideas that can be implemented quickly, bringing great added value.

Speed up your decision-making process

With this appropriate evaluation method you will speed up your team’s decision making, saving endless discussions in your meetings.

You no longer need to use inappropriate scoring methods, such as points or thumbs-up, because such methods create a bias in the decision-making process.

How to use the “Effort/Benefit” evaluation method

When you create your workshop, you can select the “Effort/Benefit” evaluation method under “Advanced Workshop Settings”.

We hope our new template will be beneficial for your next retrospective session and enable you to receive added feedback from your team. 👍

Start workshops faster and simplify participation

Do you want to make a team decision quickly but do not have time to prepare the participants’ invitation beforehand? Do you want to brainstorm and prioritize tasks spontaneously in a meeting with your colleagues? This is now even easier with IdeaClouds.

You need to start the session and share the link with the participants via chat or email. Participants can join immediately – even without registration!

How to use the new feature to allow participants access to your workshop

In the workshop, click the icon in the left bottom corner to invite participants:

As a facilitator you can choose between three workshop access options that you can change at any time during the workshop:

1) Only invited users can join

This variant is suitable if you want full control and to grant access workshop access for certain users only. You enter the email address of each participant and click on “Send invitations”. IdeaClouds will invite all participants via email including a link to the workshop. In the invitation, participants who do not already have an IdeaClouds account will get the credentials for a free account.

Benefits:

  • You can manage access to your workshop in a controlled way.
  • Participants can identify each other by the name they entered as well as by their email address.
  • Participants can find the workshop under “My Workshops” in their IdeaClouds account and do not have to save or bookmark the workshop link separately.
  • Authorship information in the case of non-anonymous workshops is preserved provided the author’s account exists.

2) Registered users with a link can join

You can choose this option if you want to ensure that the participants are registered beforehand; for instance, when they are required to import results from other IdeaClouds sessions. Moreover, with this access type you can identify participants by their (validated) email addresses. You can simply share the link with the participants, e.g., via chat message, email, or calendar entry.

Benefits:

  • Where there are many potential participants in a workshop and most already have an IdeaClouds account, entering all their email addresses can be time consuming. This is no longer required using this type of access. All participants that do not yet have an account, need to register.
  • Participants can be identified by their email address.
  • For asynchronous participation: An infinite number of users can participate one after the other. Only simultaneous participation is limited depending on your license plan (e.g., up to 20 participants).
  • Authorship information in the case of non-anonymous workshops is preserved provided the author’s account exists.

3) Anyone with a link can join

If you choose this setting, anyone you send the link to via chat message, email, or calendar entry can join, even without an IdeaClouds account. All they need to do is enter their name. IdeaClouds can therefore be used spontaneously in any online meeting, e.g., for short brainstorming sessions and quick decision-making.

Benefits:

  • Participants do not need to register to participate.
  • The facilitator needs only to share the link, saving the effort of entering email addresses.
  • For asynchronous participation: An infinite number of users can participate one after the other. Only simultaneous participation is limited depending om your license plan (e.g., up to 20 participants).
  • Authorship information in case of non-anonymous workshops is cleaned up after 30 days to preserve privacy.

Note: This variant is not recommended for sessions that extend over several days or weeks, because unregistered participants are only temporarily created as users in IdeaClouds.

Start workshops faster thanks to a trimmed start page

The participant’s invitation has been moved within the workshop workspace. As a result, the workshop now starts with only one step. Within the workshop workspace, the moderator can change the workshop access rights at any time (see the three variants above). Start your workshop in only one step: “Enter topic” and start by “Create workshop”.

We hope our new access feature will be beneficial for your next meetings or workshops, producing better, faster results. 👍

New retrospective template released.

Are you a SCRUM master or a member of an agile team? Our new template helps you to conduct efficient retrospective sessions.

Templates based on facilitation cards vs. templates based on background images.

The new retrospective template is based on three facilitation cards, each of which assigned to a color category (Start, Stop or Continue):

The old retrospective template is deprecated and will be removed soon. It is based on a fixed background image with three graphical columns (positive feedback, suggestions for improvements, and other comments):

Drawbacks of templates based on background images:
  • The workspace in the columns is limited.
  • The template cannot be modified or customized as it is a fixed graphical background image. It cannot be used as a template for other retrospective methods.
  • The assignment of the idea cards to one of the three columns is purely graphical. The results, therefore, cannot be exported in data-based formats like Excel because otherwise the assignment will be lost.
Benefits of templates based on facilitation cards:
  • Facilitation cards can be moved around on the IdeaClouds workspace. This means that you are not restricted to one column when assigning the cards to a category. You can freely use the entire area of the workspace.
  • The template can be customized as it allows you to modify facilitation cards, colors, and categories. You can use this template as an example for other retrospective templates e.g., Mad / Sad / Glad.
  • The assignment is semantic instead of graphical: The assignment to a category is based on data (category and color). These results can be exported in data-based formats like Excel.
How to start a retrospective meeting:
  1. Go to Start new workshop page.
  2. Enter topic, e.g. retrospective meeting.
  3. Click on the Next button.
  4. Open Advanced workshop settings.
  5. Choose teamwork technique Retrospective.
  6. Start workshop.
Create idea cards and assign them to a category:
  1. Double-click on the IdeaClouds workspace to create a new idea card.
  2. Enter your idea and a title.
  3. Assign the card to the corresponding category:

Something else you should know:

The new template is just an example of how to use a retrospective method with IdeaClouds. You can use your own customized retrospective method instead.

Just edit the default facilitation cards and categories to switch to another retrospective method e.g., Mad / Sad / Glad. Open the category menu and click on the pen icon to edit the categories:

We hope our new template will be beneficial for your next retrospective session and you will receive more feedback from your team. 👍

New “Permissions” feature released!

There are currently two permissions that you can use as a facilitator (more permissions will follow!): Lock facilitation cards and Block card creation.

When should you use permissions?

Who hasn’t experienced this scenario: As a facilitator, you laboriously prepare a template on the IdeaClouds workspace. The facilitation cards are arranged to your liking, and then the participants enter the workshop. Everything gets mixed up: The participants move the cards and write ideas on them.

After the brainstorming part of the workshop, the facilitator asks the participants to come to an end and to stop creating any more ideas. However, there is always one participant who continues to work, dragging out the meeting unnecessarily.

Benefits of Lock facilitation cards permission:
  • Facilitators can keep the facilitation cards arranged on the IdeaClouds workspace by preventing the participants from mixing up the cards.
  • Because participants cannot move the facilitation cards, they do not have to worry about accidentally destroying the arrangement of the facilitation cards.
Benefits of Block card creation permission:
  • Facilitators can stop the work of participants to adhere to the meeting time schedule, or if enough contributions have already been collected, to bring the team brainstorming to an end.
  • Participants can more easily keep to the allocated meeting time. No one is embarrassed by being a latecomer.

How to lock and unlock facilitation cards:

Facilitation cards are locked by default. Only the facilitators can lock and unlock the facilitation cards on the workspace. Proceed as follows if you want to unlock facilitation cards:

  1. Open the Permissions widget in the widget bar.
  2. Click on the Lock facilitation cards button.
  3. All facilitation cards are now unlocked for participants.
  4. To lock the facilitation cards again, click on the same button.

If the facilitation cards are locked, the participants cannot drag or edit them. A notification will appear if a participant tries to modify a locked facilitation card:

How to block card creation:

Only the facilitator can block card creation.

  1. Open the Permissions widget in the widget bar.
  2. Click on the Block card creation button.
  3. Participants can now not create new idea cards.
  4. To allow card creation again, click on the same button.

If card creation is blocked, the participants cannot create new idea cards on the workspace. A notification will appear if a participant tries to create new idea cards:

We trust these features will be useful for your next IdeaClouds facilitation. Happy brainstorming! 🙂

Meetings am Standort China trotz Coronavirus?

Der Umgang mit dem in China entdeckten Coronavirus bestimmt längst auch den Arbeitsalltag in vielen Unternehmen. Unternehmen stoppen Geschäftsreisen nach China und empfehlen die Arbeit im Home-Office, um die Ansteckungsgefahr für ihre Mitarbeiter zu reduzieren.

Meetings fallen wegen Ansteckungsgefahr aus.

Meetings vor Ort sind dadurch nicht mehr möglich. Sie fallen aus oder müssen virtuell durchgeführt werden – für einen noch unbestimmten Zeitraum (es ist noch nicht absehbar, wann und wie die Kontrolle über das Virus erlangt werden kann).

Das bedeutet, dass Kolleginnen und Kollegen der Standorte in China nicht oder nur sehr eingeschränkt in Meetings zur Ideengenerierung, Problemlösung und Prozessoptimierung einbezogen werden können. Dadurch fehlt deren Input und Expertise. Ergebnisse werden nicht rechtzeitig oder nicht in der gewünschten Qualität abgeliefert. Projekte verzögern sich und zusätzliche Kosten entstehen.

Wir möchten Sie gerne dabei unterstützen, trotz dieser Umstände die gewünschten Ergebnisse im Team zu erzielen – ohne dafür nach China reisen oder das Home-Office verlassen zu müssen.

Unsere Lösung IdeaClouds verwandelt Ihre (Web-)Meetings in “digitale Workshops”. Sie können standortübergreifend auf einem Online-Whiteboard zusammenarbeiten und schneller Ergebnisse erzielen als mit Skype, Webex und Co.

Retrospektive-Meeting mit IdeaClouds

Wenn Sie möchten, können wir Ihren Anwendungsfall gemeinsam in einem kostenlosen Online-Workshop ausprobieren (max. 1h).

Schreiben Sie uns einfach eine kurze E-Mail: workshop@ideaclouds.net