At ThoughtExchange we are firm believers in the fact that nothing is ever perfect and there are always opportunities to make improvements to things - even our own software. With that in mind, and armed with feedback from the people who use our software every day, we are excited to begin the rollout of a new user interface (UI). We know that software changes can sometimes be tricky to keep track of when all you want to do is accomplish your goals, so we’ve put together this guide to help you find your way around.
Our new UI has all the same features our leaders have come to know and love as well as some exciting new additions, all in a layout and workflow that we think will make things easier for new and experienced users alike.
Navigating the Tabs
Rooms that make use of our new UI have three tabs across the top of the page: Dashboard, Exchanges, and Scheduled.
The Dashboard gives an at-a-glance overview of the activity in the room over different time frames. The information can be filtered by specific leaders and can he viewed on a current, monthly, or quarterly timeframe. It includes based aggregate statistics for the Exchanges in the room and links to the recent Exchanges that have been run.
The Exchanges tab is where leaders and admins can view and manage any Exchange that exists in the room. Exchanges are searchable by keywords and can be filtered by objectives, statuses, and leaders; and can be sorted by key dates or statistics.
The Scheduled tab gives a view into what is coming up. Leaders and admins can quickly see when the next Exchange in an important series is set to launch, review the details of any specific Exchange, or take a look at all the Exchanges that have been run in a particular series.
Building an Exchange
To create a new Exchange, simply click the Create button in the Dashboard or Scheduled tabs for your room. You must be a leader in the room to see this option - if you are an administrator and not a leader, you won’t see it. The Create button will open a box containing the Exchange templates that have been added to your room and an option to create your own Exchange from scratch.
Once you’ve selected the option that works best for your Exchange, you will be taken into the first step of the new creation workflow. There are five steps in total that cover everything you would normally need to do to make an Exchange, just in an easier-to-follow format. We’ve also added a couple new options based on feedback from leaders.
Step 1: Exchange Details
The Exchange details steps is where you lay out the nuts and bolts of your Exchange, including the Title, the Objective (chosen from a list set up for the room), the leader of the Exchange (it is you by default), your question, your introduction, and any attachments you’d like to include (an introduction video is the most common).
If you’ve chosen a template, some of those details will have starting-point text already included which you can edit to align with your specific Exchange.
Once you’re done, click Save & Next to move to the next step.
Step 2: Survey
The Survey step is where you can set up any close-ended questions to include at the beginning of your Exchange. They can be created from scratch by clicking the Add survey questions button or chosen from a list of templated questions set up for the room by clicking “select template”. Survey questions are optional for you to include but mandatory for your participants to answer, so think carefully about when they will give you useful information.
Step 3: Participants
The Participants step is an optional step where things start to get potentially new and exciting. This is where you will find the option to set up participation groups for your Exchange (separate conversations for participants with a shared characteristic. Click here to learn more.) But this is also where you might be able to use some of our new integrations or the contact upload feature to send automatic invitations to your participants.
Our new UI currently hosts integrations for:
Once you’ve set up any of those integrations or your Account Admin has set up a Contacts List for you to use (details in the hyperlinks above) you will see options in the Participants step to send invitations to the people in those groups. The invitations will automatically be sent when the Exchange is launched.
When using a contact list uploaded by your Account Admin, you can define participants by the criteria laid out in that list. For example:
Step 4: Schedule
The Schedule step also includes some of the new options we’ve added. In addition to the standard “Launch now (one time)” and “Set launch date (one time) options for stand-alone Exchanges, we’ve added the ability to make your Exchanges automatically repeatable on cadences that you set can tailor to your needs. Do you run a Strategic Goals Check-In Exchange once a month, a Culture Exchange every 6 months, or a 360 Exchange once a year? If so, you can create those Exchanges once and have them relaunch on their own when you need data - minimal effort required. If a regularly repeating schedule doesn’t work for you, you can also set up a series of custom dates using the custom cadence option.
The Schedule step is also where you can set up the deadline for your Exchange(s).
Step 5: Summary
Finally, the Summary step is where you can review all the details of your Exchange and hop back through any previous step to make changes. Once you’re satisfied, you can click Launch or Save as draft to come back and finish up later.
Once you’ve launched your Exchange(s) invitation messages will be sent via the channels you selected to you participants at the date and time that each Exchange becomes active. If you are manually inviting participants to your Exchanges, you can find the invite link by navigating to the Exchanges tab, clicking the Manage menu (it looks like three horizontal dots in the top right-hand corner of the Exchange card), and selecting “Invite.”
Click the hyperlinks above for detailed information about setting up those integrations.
Once you’ve linked your calendar to ThoughtExchange, events will appear denoting the date and time that your Exchanges are Launching and Closing so you’ll never lose track.