Thoughtexchange has three steps: Share, Star and Discover. Each step is equally important, but the one that helps most for conducting deep, meaningful analysis is Star.
When participants assign stars to thoughts shared by others, they are weighing in on how important they think that topic is. Rather than the loudest voices receiving the attention of decision-makers, the ideas that resonate with most people rise to the top of the conversation.
High ratings and low ratings are equally important. Assigning five stars to a thought tells leaders you strongly support or agree with the idea being expressed. Likewise, assigning one star expresses strong disagreement or a feeling that a certain idea is not a high priority. Comparing ideas with high and low ratings is an important part of analyzing the results of an exchange. It helps determine what areas need the most attention or what the logical next steps are.
To provide reliable and robust data, we recommend that participants rate around 30 thoughts each. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is:
- You want the number of ratings to be around 30 times the number of thoughts. If the ratio is less than 20:1 (ratings to thoughts), you need more ratings.
This exchange, for example, needs more starring since the number of ratings (6,232) is only around 18 times higher than the number of stars (338):
By comparison, the number of ratings in this exchange is more than 33 times the number of thoughts, so things are looking great:
Leaders should also keep an eye on the number of Pending Thoughts (thoughts with fewer than five ratings) and keep it as close to zero as possible. Pending thoughts will appear at the bottom of the ranked Thoughts list until they get five or more ratings.
If you’re an exchange leader and you notice that the number of ratings is low or the number of Pending Thoughts is high, those are good signals that it’s time to send a reminder invitation. This will help motivate participants to go back to the exchange and rate the thoughts added since they first participated.
A healthy number of ratings is the key to unlocking the full range of participant insight and the true wisdom of the crowd. It will not only let you see what matters most to your participants, but also which topics are the most contentious, which are the most important to different groups, and what topics need more attention in your next exchange.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.