ThoughtExchange Vs. The Competition: Who Gets You Better Data?

AI in public engagement: overcoming challenges while embracing possibilities
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May 7, 2024 | Sarah Mathias | 6 minutes

As organizations focus on gathering feedback, the demand for efficient and engaging platforms is growing. From providing valuable insights to improve strategic plans and operations to boosting engagement, surveys can uncover critical data, creating a more positive experience for all team and community members.

An AI engagement and experience platform like ThoughtExchange provides organizations with better outcomes for less lift by going beyond the standard survey format. You’ll get nuanced qualitative and robust quantitative data with instant AI analysis—all in one platform.

In this Article

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What is ThoughtExchange?

ThoughtExchange is the leading AI engagement and experience platform for all your engagement needs. Use it to solve your organization’s most complex problems by understanding people’s priorities and how to act on them—and bring deeper, more meaningful engagement to every interaction.

ThoughtExchange boasts quantitative and qualitative functionality with a combination of standard surveys, personalized in-survey chats, engaging two-way AI conversations, and powerful collective intelligence. AI analytics swiftly transform participant insights into actionable solutions, making your data analysis process quick and efficient.

Your AI advantage

Survey, Exchange, Interview, and AI Advisor tools give leaders an all-in-one AI engagement advantage, allowing them to spend less time in endless meetings and manually coding data—and more time on effective problem-solving.

With an Exchange, which functions like an anonymous focus group at scale, leaders ask groups of 10 to 10,000+ just one question to access thousands of valuable data points. Built-in AI tools analyze and sort participants’ responses in real-time, so leaders and their teams can focus on taking action instead of being bogged down by data.

Our survey functionality removes the need for multiple engagement tools to gather data for benchmarking and reporting. Easily include qualitative comment box questions without worrying about spending weeks on data analysis—our analytics will take care of that. Get even more detail from quantitative ratings or Likert scale responses with Deep Dive, an in-survey chat that prompts participants to add qualitative context to their answers.

Need to investigate a sensitive topic? Interview, our AI-enabled qualitative feedback tool, interviews participants one-on-one so you can deeply understand their perspectives while getting a comprehensive view of emerging themes. Ask people for specific data in a comfortable, anonymous setting without contributing to group polarization.

AI Advisor automatically consolidates your quantitative and qualitative data to deliver nuanced themes and hidden insights—in an instant. With advanced GenAI chat functionalities, you can interact with your data dynamically, enabling deeper analysis and learning.

“ThoughtExchange Interview enabled us to interview 98 homeless families in a very short time! We have all encountered times when you want to ask the following questions or dig deeper to respond—Interview filled that gap! The stories and perspectives are integral to the process. ThoughtExchange's rich qualitative data and analytics tools developed a comprehensive needs assessment for our homeless education in record time. The improved efficiency with our time and energy is amazing.”Michael Gomez, Executive Director, State and Federal Programs, Capistrano Unified School District

ThoughtExchange vs. other engagement platforms

Engagement platforms allow organizations to create, distribute, and analyze employee and customer surveys. Let’s take a closer look at how ThoughtExchange stacks up against the competition

ThoughtExchange vs. other engagement platforms: Functionality

Engagement platforms provide managers with insights into employee sentiment. They often integrate predictive intelligence and machine learning to uncover survey insights, revealing and prioritizing key topics. They frequently include preconfigured dashboards that let teams filter and personalize the data depending on the audience or recipient. Their main strength as survey platforms is tracking basic metrics.
“We’ve used ThoughtExchange for more than 5 years now and for us, it’s more than a survey tool. ThoughtExchange is a huge asset and a fuel for conversations within our district leadership as we continuously strategize how best to serve our students.”Alia Wilson, Communications Coordinator, Sunnyvale School District
ThoughtExchange’s focus on insights and actions differentiates it from other engagement platforms. In addition to providing deeper engagement and richer, actionable data and solutions, it’s fast, flexible, and easy to use. With multiple engagement methods and lightning-fast AI analysis, there are multiple ways to get better outcomes for less lift:
Advanced quantitative and qualitative survey capabilities
Qualitative interactive conversations and participant-prioritized data
Interviews (beta)
Private, one-on-one digital interviews at scale
AI-powered tool for instant summaries, key themes, and talking points. Acts on surveys, Exchanges, and Interviews to quickly analyze data, improve your communications, and provide concrete next steps.

Designing and building surveys, getting people to participate, and then analyzing the data can take months—and this usually doesn’t even uncover the critical underlying issues. By contrast, ThoughtExchange is quick and easy to use.

Leaders can run engagements live or on-demand, separately or concurrently, depending on the depth of data needed. The platform has been a game changer for climate surveys and employee experience.

“We created the overarching initial strategy and then we launched Exchanges to actually solicit feedback about that strategy. It's possible that 75% of that current strategy is feedback and listening driven. In prior years we have not been able to get this out the door as quickly as we have. To get it off the ground in 60 days from the start of our fiscal year was unheard of.”Judith Rudge, Former Global Sr. Director Talent Acquisition - Consumer & Marketplace, Nike
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ThoughtExchange vs. other engagement platforms: Participant experience

When it comes to the participant experience, taking a survey through the average engagement platform doesn’t provide the validation many employees and community members are looking for when offering feedback. As a one-way, static communication experience, participants may be more susceptible to survey fatigue.

By contrast, ThoughtExchange’s qualitative engagement methods offer dynamic discussions so people learn from one another and experience their personal impact. In an Exchange, participants anonymously share their thoughts and read and rate each other’s answers. As one customer put it, ThoughtExchange “allows you to expand the thinking in the room, as opposed to limiting it.”

The chart below compares each product's features, strengths, and weaknesses:


Engagement platforms


Engagement platform for tracking and measuring quantitative feedback.
ThoughtExchange is an AI engagement and experience platform leaders use to capture, track, measure, and analyze quantitative and qualitative data.
  • All-in-one workspaces
  • Built-in idea boards for crowdsourcing team ideas
  • Customizable experience
  • Scaleable
  • Organization hierarchy tool
  • Predictive AI analytics engine
  • Scalable
  • Survey and Exchange functionality
  • Built-in AI sorts and analyzes responses in real-time
  • Interview: AI-powered private, one-on-one digital interviews at scale
  • Advisor: AI-powered tool for instant summaries, key themes, talking points
  • Tools for finding common ground on divisive topics
  • Simultaneous translation in 100+ languages
  • Multiple engagement methods: Surveys, Deep Dives, Exchanges, and Interviews
  • Employee engagement surveys have many features and customization options
  • Strong quantitative analysis
  • Great for tracking trends and changes in responses
  • Variety of solutions for different organizational needs
  • No add-ons required
  • Enjoyable user experience with a dynamic and interactive format on any device
  • Strong quantitative and qualitative analysis
  • Instant summaries and talking points from engagement data
  • Custom prompts for generative AI analysis of engagement data
  • Great for tracking trends and changes in responses
  • No add-ons required
  • Prioritized insights and actions that help plan next steps
  • Finds common ground ideas in polarized groups
  • Leverages the collective intelligence of the group to solve complex problems
  • Option for confidential feedback
  • Doesn’t uncover the underlying reasons or any further insights where it’s apparent that improvements are needed
  • Limited ways for participants to learn from each other or produce actionable results faster
  • Surveys can take a long time to create and build (and still not provide the necessary insights)
  • Requires manual qualitative data analysis, which can take weeks or months
  • Requires a willingness for transparency in decision-making

What depth of data do you need for better decisions?

Every platform has its place. While premium-level or free and low-cost tools are a quick and simple way to reveal explicit and significant shifts and changes through quantitative and smaller-scale data, these tools usually don’t provide any way to turn these insights into real, tangible action. Plus, completing a survey won’t magically improve participant sentiment—especially if no real changes or improvements are seen as a result.

ThoughtExchange provides the ability to collect both quantitative and qualitative data through Surveys and Exchanges, and has sophisticated AI data analysis  and Interview tools built-in that can help you identify actionable insights and dig into critical nuances. Using ThoughtExchange, leaders are able to identify concrete actions and participants can see their ideas come to life, increasing support and satisfaction at your organization.

If you don’t have the need for premium-level features and sophisticated analytics and reporting, a free or low-cost survey tool might be exactly what you’re looking for. With options for organizations of every size and purpose, the right engagement tool is the one that works best for your specific organization’s goals and needs.

But, for anyone looking for a robust and effective way to gather and analyze a deeper range of data to inform their decision-making and align their communities—it’s clear that ThoughtExchange stands out as the best choice.

Author’s note: This post was originally published on March 27, 2023, and has been updated for accuracy and relevance.
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Sarah Mathias
Sarah discovered her love of words when she penned her first journal in grade 4—she hasn’t stopped writing since. With a BA in Sociology and an MPC in International/Intercultural Communication, Sarah honed her corporate writing skills in the travel insurance and fashion industries before working with ThoughtExchange. She brings her collaborative spirit and commitment to antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion, along with her penchant for grammar jokes.

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