5 Ways Submittable Can Strengthen Your Collaborative Review

“Innovation isn’t about solo genius. It’s about collective genius.”

In a TEDx video about how to expertly keep great ideas flowing, Harvard Professor Linda Hill perfectly sums up the process behind the making of the famous Pixar movies we all know and love (a rat who becomes a master chef, we’re looking at you Ratatouille).

No solo genius. No flash of inspiration produces those movies, we learn. Hill shares the surprising truth that what it does take is around 250 people over four to five years to make just one Pixar movie.

Now, your review process won’t take that long, and we hope it won’t call for 250 people—but a prominent takeaway we can learn from Linda Hill, one of the top global experts in collective genius, is that innovation is rarely built alone.

When it comes to executing a high-quality review, a collaborative process can be a powerful way to drive a stronger consensus among teams to source the best submissions. As the name suggests, it’s the process where multiple individuals work together in a unified rhythm in order to drive better results.

How does collaborative review work?

Before we outline exactly how to create a workflow that’s both collaborative and effective, we need to see it in action. Using the publishing process as an example, here’s what the process of a collaborative review might look like:

How does collaborative review work?

Why a collaborative review is so important

In professional communities, collaborative peer review allows vital feedback that polishes work to make it the absolute best it can be before publication.

Having multiple experts revise a scientific paper, for example, encourages researches to perfect the execution of delivery and surpass their original limits.

In learning communities such as higher education admissions, a collaborative peer review, if done right, can be a strong tool in minimizing personal implicit biases. It also gives candidates the invaluable advantage of being scored by a variety of different backgrounds and perspectives.

In primary learning environments, peer review encourages students to consider and respect other people’s opinions, teaching the vital qualities of tolerance and acceptance.

How to build a collaborative review workflow

Submittable is, at its core, designed to help teams save time on each stage of their review process. Prominent features of the platform like Review Workflow empower teams to manage multiple stages of the review and smaller additions like Google Sign In simply make life a little easier.

In this post, we share a step-by-step guide for how Submittable helps reviewing teams create a process that’s entirely collaborative and equipped for sourcing the best submissions.

Use the Groups feature for a flexible, easy way to group assignments

Use the Groups feature for a flexible, easy way to group assignments

In a collaborative review, administrators will need to assign multiple people to various submissions.

With the Groups feature, you can gather reviewing teams in the same place and then assign those different groups to one whole submission. Parts of the process that previously required multiple steps, can now be completed in just one click.

For example, you can assign groups to submissions that are in different stages of the selection process. You can also have different reviewer groups on different types of submissions. There’s no limit to how many groups you can create, and you can add or remove as many team members to the groups as is necessary. It works as you do, so it’s flexible and easy to tailor to your exact process.

How it helps your team

When you assign a group to a submission, everyone in that group will be assigned too, so there’s no need to individually assign reviewers one by one. For organizations with larger review teams, this can save lots of time previously spent on repetitive actions.

And when you need to distribute submissions based on specific categories, Submittable automates it for you and sends alerts to the relevant reviewers.

How it helps your team

Team members can add new people from anywhere, either in bulk from the submissions list page, individually, or auto-assign groups to different stages of the process.

Organizing a collaborative review is fiddly and complicated, but Submittable makes it easy. Assignees will all be notified of activity, so everyone is informed and stays on the same page.

Tailor each phase of a multiple-round review with Review Workflow

Tailor each phase of a multiple-round review with Review Workflow

When it comes to building a collaborative review workflow, one thing that slows teams down is lack of customization. Using Submittable, you and your team can tailor every aspect of the workflow to fit the demands of each stage in the process, making collaboration easy and fast.

Teams can use the review workflow to:

  • Create and build as many review stages as you need.
  • Set up each stage to require voting or custom reviews for each round. You can easily filter based on ‘review type’.
  • Engage and assign the right reviewers for each stage of the process, great for when you need to loop in reviewers in later stages.
  • Score, or rate each round at every stage of the review (and view all the scores and completed reviews).
  • Easily see when reviewing rounds are complete.
  • Automatically move qualified applications to the next stage.

Provide context to reviewers with Internal forms

We’ve given the previously Internal Fields function a revamp and overhaul to make it more powerful and to enable teams to get the most out of a collaborative review.

Using Submittable, teams can easily supplement submissions by adding relevant information like interview notes. Below is an example of how reviewers can easily and quickly leave notes on a submission.

Provide context to reviewers with Internal forms

For new reviewers in the group, team members can use this to provide context on submissions. This can help bring new reviewers up to speed on the status of applicants but it’s important to first assess, determine, and agree on what fields of information should be shared here. To mitigate the effects of implicit bias, reviewers should avoid sharing notes that may sway the next reviewer, like adding details of a grantee’s award history, for example.

A good idea for adding notes using Internal Forms is to add brief summaries to submissions, (like listing key points or noting areas that require clarification) to share with the team.

Keep everyone on track with Team Reports

Keep everyone on track with Team Reports

A collaborative team is only as efficient as the tools it uses to get the work done. With Submittable’s Team Reports, it’s easy to keep team members on track in a painless way.

For those managing a group of reviewers, reports can help to review how many submissions team members have completed and how many are outstanding. It makes it easy to see each team member’s individual progress, giving managers the visibility to provide support or help troubleshoot any roadblocks.

For those normal moments, pre-scheduled reminders are a great way to keep the team on track in a non-invasive way. Team members can schedule timely reminders on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis sent straight to their emails. More autonomy for reviewers and less direct oversight from managers. It’s a win for both.

Visualize your impact and measure collaborative results with Advanced Reporting

Visualize your impact and measure collaborative results with Advanced Reporting

Data can provide a wealth of interesting and important information for your organization but there’s no use unless you can use it to take action and build on your process.

Submittable customers are using the Advanced Reporting tool to analyze their data, identify useful insights, and most importantly, to measure their impact.

Teams can easily create reports on demand, choose which data sets to include, and merge different types of comparable data together for easier analysis. You can analyze virtually every field from every form to identify specific trends within your process.

Advanced Reporting tool

With such a straightforward and easy way to analyze your data, you might find you’re not receiving as many applications as you thought or hoped for, for example. Another insight might be noticing that acceptance rates are disproportionately low, or that there’s a low representation of certain demographic groups.

With Advanced Reporting, smart charts make it easy to understand your data, so your teams won’t need expert data knowledge to utilize them. You can eliminate the guesswork and having to rely on gut-feeling—start using raw data that’s digestible and powerful for everyone.

Building a collaborative review workflow with Submittable

A huge part of building a collaborative review is equipping your teams with quality tools to make the process run smoothly and uniformly. For managers that need to organize a team of reviewers, tracking progress and ensuring fair reviewing can be difficult to measure.

Submittable provides teams with powerful and convenient platforms to manage the entire collection and review process—including collaborative review. With the help of easy-to-use systems and intuitive tools, you and your teams can make the most out of collaboration, and emerge with the highest quality submissions in the process.

All you need is the right workflow and tools in place for you and your team to sharpen the process, build a strong community, and enrich the quality of submissions for the future. It’s time to make it happen.

author photo of Sabreen Swan
Sabreen Swan

Sabreen Swan is a writer who works closely with B2B and SaaS companies. When she’s not jargon-busting, you’ll find her buried under an old book and drinking too much tea. You can read some of her work on her website.