Stages, Step Tool Types, & Action Items

After an Initiative is created, Admins will have access to the back-end Pipeline. Each Pipeline breaks down into Stages, Steps, Step Tool Types, and Action Items. These are the main components each Admin must configure before launching their Initiative. Further information for each of these parts can be found below.


Table of Contents:

Creating Stages in Brightidea

Stages in Brightidea are used to organize and group different Steps. Depending on the goal of the Initiative, multiple Stages can be created for advanced work-flows. Here is an example of a work-flow that is broken up into two separate stages:

    1. Improvement Submission
    2. Improvement Evaluation


Each newly created Pipeline will have Stages and Steps already configured. These will differentiate depending on the App you have created. To create a new Stage, select the "+" sign in the lower right-hand corner of the Pipeline Steps View.


This is the prompt to create a Step, however there will be an option in the lower-right that notes "Create a new stage". Clicking on this will open up a new prompt.


In the "Create Stage" box, Admins will have the option to input three fields to apply to the Stage. These three options are:

  • Stage Name: The identifier for Admins that labels the Stage and represents a specified set of Steps in the Pipeline.  
  • Innovation State*: This option is broken down into three categories - Idea, Opportunity, and Project. This recognizes the Stage type you are using.
  • Background Color: Applying a background color to your Stage helps visually separate one Stage from another. For larger Pipelines, a useful trick may be to apply an ombré - with a lighter shade of a color to start the Pipeline, and a darker shade of the same color to represent the end of the Pipeline. Colors will also be displayed on Steps View for End Users if stages are shown.

Note: the Innovation State attribute is for reporting purposes at this time. This feature is used on the main Command Center chart called "Program Tracking". Also, the Innovation State (Ideas, Opportunities, Projects) is also included with the Pipeline idea list export.

Select "Create" to finish. 


After creating the new Stage(s), Pipeline managers can drag and drop Steps as needed to setup the desired work-flow:


Stages can be moved and reordered in Pipeline with the drag and drop feature by selecting the icon to the left of the stage name. Stages can also be configured clicking on the top-right pencil icon when hovering over the stage name. This Stage configuration box will bring Admins to the same prompt as Creating a Stage.


Creating a New Step

Steps contain the ideas that are created within your Initiative. They allow Admins to advance ideas through various Tool Types and configure custom work-flows for any need possible.


 To create a new step, select the "+" sign in the lower right-hand corner of the Pipeline.


 Within the 'Create Step' pop-up fill in the required criteria:

  • Step Name: Enter the name for the new step
  • Select Tool Type: Select the required tool type for the new step.
  • More about each tool type below.
  • Select Stage: Select the stage name of where the new step will be placed.
  • Complete the process by selecting "Create".

Once the Step has been created, if you've selected a particular Tool type, then the configuration for that Step will automatically appear. This will allow you to configure the specific settings for your Step, as well as assignees that will receive action items to complete.

Step Configuration Popup.png

Basic settings allows you to configure the most common important options for your Step. Advanced settings displays additional options for more detailed customization. Some settings are specific to each Tool type, such as Scorecard template (Scorecard Steps) or Development Fields (Development Steps). However, some settings are shared across most Step types:

  • Assignment Method: How action items are assigned. The most common options are:
    • Individual assignment: Select a set of evaluators that will receive action items for all submissions in the Step
    • Category assignment: Each set of evaluators can be assigned to specific categories. They will receive action items only for submissions in those categories.
  • Load Balancing: Allows action items to spread out across your evaluators, so that each evaluator does not need to evaluate each submission. Action items are assigned progressively through the list of evaluators. For example, if you set each submission to be evaluated by three evaluators out of 4 total:
    • The first submission will be evaluated by the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd evaluator, the second submission by 2nd, 3rd, and 4th evaluator, the third submission by the 3rd, 4th, and 1st evaluator, and so on.
    • Increasing load balancing settings after action items have been (i..e. increasing the number of evaluators assigned action items for each submission) will assign action items for submissions currently in the Step
    • Decreasing load balancing settings will not affect any action items for submissions currently in the Step; the updated load balancing settings will only apply to submissions moving forward
  • Due Date: When the action item is due. There are two ways to set due date:
    • Dynamic due date: Sets due date to a certain number of days after the action item is assigned. The time due is based on when the action item is assigned
    • Static due date: Sets the due date to a specific future due date. The time due is at midnight, UTC time (NOTE: The timezone setting for your system may differ to UTC time)
  • Email Alert: Configure whether email notifications are sent when action items are assigned. Advanced options allows for editing when emails are sent (either immediately as assigned, or aggregated into a single daily email), as well as customization of the email notification.
  • Results and Rules: Options for setting what happens when submissions leave the Step or return to the Step. For some Steps, also controls whether the Step results are displayed in View Idea 2.0/3.0

Once your settings are saved, whenever submissions are added to the Step, action items will be triggered according to the Step configuration.

Tool Types


What is the 'Review' tool for?

The 'Review' step is intended to ensure newly submitted ideas meet the qualification criteria for your challenge. The Review step allows Pipeline Managers or administrators to trigger action items to idea evaluators or subject matter experts to fully review ideas assigned to them.

When a 'Review' action item is triggered, the assignee can perform any of the following:

  • Further review the submitted idea content
  • Change Idea Status and/or Category
  • Toggle Visibility
  • Add Comments and Tags
  • Fill in Additional Info fields

Learn more information about the Review tool here

Single Scale

What is the 'Single Scale' tool for?

The 'Single Scale' step is intended to allows Pipeline Managers / Administrators to engage their subject matter experts earlier on in the idea selection process. The assigners can receive really quick and impactful numeric ratings on ideas being considered for selection / handoff.

This allows for evaluations of ideas based on number scale system (e.g. 1 -7). This allows Evaluators to quickly and efficiently go through an assigned list of ideas and provide their feedback instantly.

When a 'Single Scale' action item is triggered, the evaluator / screener can provide any of the following:

  • Review all components of the idea (attachments, votes, comments, any additional information) to provide a numeric rating on an idea
  • Provide feedback and/or ask questions through comments (to both idea submitters and/or fellow screeners)

Learn more information about the Single Scale tool here


What is the 'Scorecard' tool for?

The 'Scorecard' step in Platform provides the Pipeline Managers / Administrators with the ability to the find best ideas using a template based questionnaire.

Scorecards have fully customizable templates that allow the Pipeline Managers / Administrators to find the exact information they need and choose the best idea.

  • Template / Questionnaire configuration
  • Single interface for all scorecard action items
  • Track scoring progress
  • Engage other evaluators through comments

When a 'Scorecard' action item is triggered, the evaluator / screener can provide any of the following:

  • A review all components of the idea (attachments, votes, comments, any additional information) to help complete the scorecard questions / answers.
  • Provide feedback and/or ask questions through comments (to both idea submitters and/or fellow evaluators)

Learn more information about the Scorecard tool here

Stack Rank

What is the 'Stack Rank' tool for?

The 'Stack Rank' step in the Brightidea's Platform provides the Pipeline Managers / Administrators with the ability to quickly find the best ideas using an order based system.

  • Determine order of ideas best to worst
  • Send 'Stack Rank' action items to list of people who put ideas in a stack rank.
  • When a 'Stack Rank' action item is triggered, the evaluator / screener will be able to place the assigned ideas in their desired order from best to worst.

Learn more information about the Stack Rank tool here


What is the 'Development' tool for?

The 'Development' step provides the Pipeline Managers / Administrators with ability to gather and build out ideas that are chosen to move forward.

  • The manager can then create custom 'Development' questions to further gather information for each idea.
  • Once questions and fields are set, he/she can then assign a 'Development' action item to the idea's submitter.

Learn more information about the Development tool here


What is the 'Judging' tool for?

The Judging tool type provides Admins the ability to assign Judges to Steps. These Judges then help find the best submissions using a lightweight, user-friendly judging tool in real-time as the submissions are being presented.


Learn more information about the Judging tool here


What is the 'Pairwise' tool for?

The 'Pairwise' step in Platform is an “A/B” idea comparison tool. The evaluator can then select the idea they like better - or select neither idea before being presented with the next pairing.

  • Evaluator is presented with two ideas at a time, and selects the best one
  • After all ideas are chosen / not chosen, an algorithm then ranks the ideas based on a point system.

When a 'Pairwise' action item is triggered, the evaluator / screener(s) will be able to select the best idea from each comparison.


Learn more information about the Pairwise tool here

No Tool Selected

What is the 'No Tool Selected' step for?

The 'No Tool Selected' step provides the Pipeline Managers / Administrators with ability to archive/hold ideas in a step that require no further evaluations or actions.

  • Example, after ideas are evaluated, the Pipeline Manager can move those ideas to this step type and work on newly submitted ideas.
  • To work with this step type, simply add it to the respective Challenge Pipeline and move ideas to it as needed.

Configuring Steps

Each Step Configuration popup has options and settings that are specific to the tool type, but in general, the Step Configuration popups allow configuration of:


  • Action Item recipients
  • Action item due date
  • Scale settings, scorecard templates, development fields, etc.
  • Email notifications and reminders
  • Display of Step results to submitters or end users
  • Whether to cancel open action items when submissions leave Step

View each tool type page for more detailed information about the options and settings that can be configured for each Step.

Managing Ideas directly from the Steps view

The Pipeline Manager can filter, sort, and perform actions on ideas directly from the Steps area. Ideas in the Steps view can be filtered by status and category.


Ideas can be sorted in ascending or descending order based on:

  • Title
  • Code
  • Submission Date
  • Step Result

The Pipeline Manager can also perform actions on ideas directly from the steps view. The selected ideas will be highlighted in blue. Once highlighted, select the top "Action" menu to perform any of the available actions on the selected ideas. To get started, select ideas from any of the steps by clicking directly on them.


Important Notes:


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  • Avatar
    Kathy Ternes

    I'd love to see a print function for these topics or the option to print as a PDF.

  • Avatar
    Chung, Shari Pui Yi

    This is a very useful one. Thanks Ron.