Data-driven decisions

Build understanding AND capacity with data-driven insights at your fingertips

Shonagh MacRae

I just returned to ThoughtExchange after having a baby. As any new parent will tell you, babies are natural scientists. They’re constantly studying and experimenting with the world around them. My little guy turns blocks over and over, runs his fingernails across textures and, of course, drops stuff constantly. Every action builds his understanding of the world around him and I marvel at it.

It was in this context that I returned to work and our new Discover Dashboard, which includes new tools that let anyone running an exchange easily work with their own data. Being on the Discover Team, I now get to watch (and help) customers interact, analyze and generally have fun with their data.

It’s quite a change from the way things were when I left. Until recently, analysis at ThoughtExchange was something our team did for you. We worked hard to understand your objectives and then pull insights out of the data to support your understanding. While valuable, this approach could take up to a couple of weeks to complete, and included several meetings with your team. It also ran the risk of inadvertently introducing our bias into your discussion.

As exchanges themselves have become more streamlined and simple, we decided to take a parallel approach with the Discover step to give leaders immediate insight and opportunities for deeper learning. As a result, what we’re hearing from leaders digging into our new Discover Dashboard is that it’s quickly become their go-to place for instant, actionable data.

The two key tools we are consistently hearing about are Hot Topics and Thought Themer. Let’s take a closer look at why leaders are finding these tools so useful.

Hot Topics: Instantly learn where people agree and disagree

Hot Topics starts working as soon as participants engage with your question. Interesting thoughts point to controversial topics and, potentially, opposing priorities. Common thoughts, on the other hand, highlight areas of agreement.

Understanding agreement and disagreement lets you act quickly on key areas of stakeholder interest. Potential actions include launching a new exchange to dig deeper into an issue, or addressing a topic that’s clearly important to the group. Because Hot Topics starts working immediately, you start gaining insights as soon as your exchange launches.

Thought Themer: Gain a holistic understanding of thoughts

Thought Themer lets you understand the conversation beyond understanding singular thoughts. You can easily create custom themes to group thoughts in whatever way makes the most sense for you and your team.

Early reports from those using Thought Themer are also pointing  to the value of the process itself. Leaders say creating themes makes them think deeply about what they are trying to achieve as they work through the results.

Once you or your leadership team develops a set of themes, you can then see the conversation at a glance using our traditional Bar Charts or our new Theme Tiler. As a bonus, watching these visualizations generate automatically in your dashboard as you theme is just plain cool!

Build understanding and capacity at the same time

We put these new tools into your hands so you can take ownership of your exchanges and quickly make sense of the conversations happening in your world. You and your team are able to build understanding and report back to your stakeholders with full confidence that your insights are driven by data.

As always, we’re still here to support you and your team in whatever capacity you need. Whether you’d like to run with your results or bring us in for additional support, the new Discover Dashboard gives you as much control as you want.

We continually are adding new tools and features to let you do more with your data in less time. Much like a new parent observing their infant, I encourage you to rekindle that sense of childlike wonder about your world and the conversations happening within it. You never know where your experiments might take you!

Take a video tour of the new Discover Dashboard

YouTube video
About the Author

Shonagh MacRae

Shonagh is our Director of Discover and describes herself as continually curious about people. This curiosity led her to a Master’s in Organizational Psychology where she learned a whole lot about how humans interact in groups and how to support them. Shonagh has also spent a lot of time in her community supporting at-risk populations. This work further honed her ability to connect with a broad range of personalities. When she’s not working with ThoughtExchange, Shonagh is most often found out in the garden with her hands in the soil.