You can launch a new consulting website for free on Insights.US. Once you have a website, you can launch a new project by clicking on the “New” button at the top bar on the screen. Then, define your project goal and set the access rules. In seconds, you’ll be ready to write a question and launch your project:
After you’ve created the project, the system will ask you to define a consulting question. See the PLANNING YOUR PROJECT section for more details.
Each project has several stages, which indicate what participants can see and do:
DRAFT: In draft, you can define your question, add background text, and upload images. Only admins can see the project.
ASK: After you launch the project, participants can add answers and perform various analytical tasks. At this critical stage, participants brainstorm all kinds of ideas and share their advice.
ANALYZE: Once you close the project (when no new answers will be accepted), participants will continue the analytical tasks and create the collective insights.
DECIDE: This is the time to address the insights and make decisions. Nobody can see your decisions before you share them.
COMPLETE: When you publish your decisions, the project is completed. It will remain available online for participants to see.
ARCHIVED: Archived projects are available online only for people with a direct link. If the project is private, they will need to login.
DELETED: Deleted projects are not visible to anyone. Stakeholders will get an error message if they try to get in.
There are five milestones throughout the project timeline in which transitions from one stage to another take place:
CREATE: After you define the goal you’d like to achieve, a new project will be created on the website, in stage “DRAFT.”
LAUNCH: Once you are ready to move forward, you can launch the project and turn it from stage “DRAFT” into “ASK.”
ANALYZE: Two weeks after launch, the project will be closed for new answers and insights will be curated.
SHARE INSIGHTS: Once the insights are approved, the project will move into “DECIDE”.
SHARE DECISIONS: Once decisions are made, the project will be labeled as “CLOSED.”
Why is the “ASK” phase limited to two weeks by default?
Based on our experience, two weeks is the ideal amount of time to gather advice from all participants. People remain engaged for two weeks, but soon after, your stakeholders’ willingness to take part diminishes. We want to avoid that at all costs. We also recommend planning ahead your engagement channels with your audiences, following the guidelines in the “invite Participants” section.
How do you change the date of each milestone?
What happens if you do not share the insights?
Since participants have invested time and effort into your project, they’ll expect you to share the insights with them. If you choose not to share, participants will not get any updates regarding the impact of their advice. We strongly recommend sharing the insights, even if they are limited in scope. If for whatever reason insights do not receive approval, we will need to close the project.
What happens if you do not make decisions?
Just as you should share insights, you should also make decisions; participants who have put time and energy into your project deserve to see the project conclude with decisions. Not making decisions means that none of the participants will get any updates regarding how their answers made an impact. We strongly recommend sharing the decisions, even if they contradict some of the insights. It’s better to engage and explain yourself than disappear! If no decisions will be made, even after several notices from us, we will need to close the project.
Can I Skip Phases?
Technically yes, but we do not recommend that. The stages were set based on hundreds of projects we powered and in light of the best practices we found while managing inclusive decision-making projects. Bypassing some of the phases will lead to muddled communication with stakeholders and inconsistent presentation of information.
You can set different levels of access to your projects and appoint new project admins, based on your subscription level.
Project admins have full privileges to change a project’s content. They can delete answers, approve insights, make decisions, change the project phase, update images and texts, limit access to invited members only, or send emails to all of the participants. Once a project admin is appointed, a new toggle will be added at the top-right side of the site, which will open the access for the admin interface. Site operators who opened a new project will be automatically defined as the project admins, and they can appoint new ones.
Appoint and revoke admin privileges: Enter the project, go to the admin interface, and click on “add admin” on the right-side column. The website will allow you to either appoint existing participants (based on the name you enter) or add a new participant. You can also remove project admins.
You can assign up to three decision-makers in your project, which will be shown to the participants in the project pages. Once assigned, decision-makers will be automatically appointed as project admins, unless you revoke these privileges while keeping them assigned as decision-makers.
Assign and unassign decision-makers: Enter the project, go to the admin interface, and click on “add decision-maker” on the right-side column. The website will allow you to assign existing participants (based on the name you enter) or add new participants to the decision-maker role. You can also remove decision-makers by deleting their card.
To change access to your project, enter the admin interface and select “Settings” on the left-side menu. Note: the site settings are always above the project ones. If the site is “closed for members only,” only users who are registered on the site community can enter the project. The project itself has three different levels of access:
All participants can enter the project without any subscription. If the site is closed for members only, only site users will be given access.
You must invite participants to your project in order for them to get access. Even if the site is closed for members only, they will not see the project unless you invite them.
The project will be shown to everyone, but to get in, users will need to register on the site with their email.
One major phase in planning your project is defining the groups of stakeholders to whom you plan to reach out. In the “Groups” page of the project admin, you can define the different groups, view all participants, and invite new ones. By defining groups, the website can deliberately present answers of one group to another, in order to engage different groups and prevent homogenous thinking. In the project’s later phases, you’ll be able to determine which groups support which insights.
Adding & Deleting Groups: To add a group, enter the project, go to the admin interface, and select “Groups” on the left-side menu. You can click on “Add Group” or delete a group by opening the group menu (click on the ^ sign). If you delete a group, the participants will remain in the project but will be re-assigned to the default group.
Managing Groups: To manage participants in a group, enter the project, go to the admin interface, select “Groups,” and click on one of the group’s names. From the group page, you can view the group members, add participants to the group, or move participants to a different group.
Managing participants: to add participants to your project, enter the project, move to the admin interface, select “Groups” on the left-side menu, and click on “Add Participant.” You can assign the new participant to a group (if there are groups) and decide whether to email him/her a personal invitation (with a unique token).
Assigning participants to a group: to assign participants to a group, enter the project, move to the admin interface, select “Groups” on the left-side menu, and click on “view all participants.” Now, you can select one or more participants and move them to a different group. You can also move individual participants by clicking on their group name in the table.
Deleting participants: to delete participants, enter the project, move to the admin interface, select “Groups” on the left-side menu, and select one or more participants you would like to delete. You can delete a participant from a group (so that s/he will remain in the project but without a group), from the project (so that s/he will no longer have access to it if the project is closed for members only) or from the site (if you are the site admin or the site operator).
Based on your user license, you can also import and export participant lists via Excel, change fields for all participants based on various criteria, or send participants different updates via email or text messages. Please get in touch with us for more details.
Project admins can change all of the project settings by entering the admin interface and clicking on “Settings” on the left-side menu:
Project Name: The name of your project should usually describe its outcome or the decision scope. It’s better to have a short and catchy name, so that participants can read and understand it quickly.
Project Access: In project settings, you can close the project for members only. If the project is open for everyone, you can decide whether registration is required.
Manual Approval of Answers : In project settings, you can decide whether or not all answers should require manual approval of an admin. If you select this option, none of the answers will be published unless an admin approves them.
Sharing in Social Networks: In project settings, you can decide if the site will allow participants to share the project through their social networks or send personal email invitations. This option will be active only in projects open for everyone.
Dates & Stages: In the page “Dates & Stages” under project settings, you can change the project status and define specific dates for each milestone (launch, complete, share insights, and share decisions). Note: changing the project status may affect other settings, such as the users’ access to insights and decisions and the ability to add answers.
Background & Description: In the “Texts” page under project settings, you can edit the project name (which is shown on every page), the project’s short description (which is shown on the homepage and in email invitations), and the detailed background (which is shown on the project’s homepage and in email invitations, if no description is set). Here, you can also integrate links to files, images, and YouTube clips.
Images & Design: In the page “Appearance” under project settings, you can change the project images. The wide picture in the project homepage is 700px width X 300px height. The smaller picture on all pages is 200px width X 200px height.