Building an idea crowdsourcing solution without writing a line of code.
Microsoft provides a range of tools on Office 365 that enables businesses to create applications without writing a line of code.
Today I am going to build an idea crowdsourcing solution and store the data in SharePoint which can be connected later with other apps such as Power BI or Excel for reporting or data analysis. This is a great solution for business capture ideas from employees or partners to improve internal processes or even starting the production of new products.
For our solution we will need Microsoft Forms, Microsoft Flows and SharePoint Online which are all available on Office 365 in most of the subscription offered.
Create the ideas gathering form
Our first step is to create the form, so people can share their ideas with the company. To do that, please follow the steps:
2. In the app list, click on Forms
3. In the Forms landing page, click on New Form.
4. Update the Title to “Idea Management” and the description to “Submit your idea”
5. Click on Add question button and click on the ellipses icon then on Subtitle link.
6. Now fill the form with “What’s your idea” as title and “Please describe the idea in detail” as the subtitle.
7. Repeat the process for the next questions, for this sample, please add two more questions:
1. “Current Situation” with “Describe the current situation, including people and processes, key challenges and pain points” for the description.
2. “Future State” with “What does success look like? What are the key benefits of your idea? What will be new for people and process?” for the description.
8. Once you are done, your form should look like this:
5. If you need to change the colours of your form to match with tour company’s brand, you can do that by clicking on the Theme button on the top right of your page.
6. If you would like to check how the form is going to look, you can click on the Preview button on the top right of your page.
7. Now our form is ready for publishing.
Create the SharePoint list
Now we need to create a list in SharePoint to store the data.
To do that, please follow the steps:
2. On the app list, click on SharePoint
3. Go to the SharePoint site you would like to store the data or create a new team site if needed.
4. On the SharePoint Site, click on site contents link in the left-hand side of the page.
5. On the site contents page, click on New > List.
6. In the Create list panel, set the name to Ideas.
7. In the Ideas List, create three new columns by clicking on Add column > Multiple lines of text.
8. Add “What’s your idea”, “Current Situation” and “Future State“ columns.
Now your list is ready to store the ideas submitted.
Connecting the dots with Flow
The last step to glue both Apps is to create a flow that captures the answers on Forms and saves them into your SharePoint list.
Fortunately, Microsoft has made available a template we can use to create this flow. Please follow the steps:
- Go to https://www.office.com/?auth=2&home=1
- On the apps lists, click on Flow
3. On Microsoft Flows landing page, click on My flows link on the left-hand side menu.
4. On My flows home page, click on New > Create from template on the top menus.
5. On the templates page, search for Form and click on “Record form responses in SharePoint” template.
6. Check the template details and click on Continue.
7. On the template page, click on the Form Id drop-down menu and select Idea Management.
8. Repeat the same process on the Get response details action.
9. On the Create item action, click on Site Address drop down and select the SharePoint site you have created the Ideas list.
10. Then click on List Name drop down and select the Ideas list.
11. In Title, add the text “New idea from – ” and add the “Responder’s Email” field in the Dynamic content panel
12. The action should look like the following picture.
13. Now save your flow and it is ready for testing.
Testing the form
Now that everything is connected, you can simply open your form, fill up the fields and submit your idea and the ideas are going to be stored in the Ideas list in SharePoint.
Now you can export this data into an Excel spreadsheet or connect it into a Power BI dashboard for further analysis.