What are the best tools for brainstorming in 2022?
Remote and hybrid works are becoming the new norm. Coordinating brainstorming sessions and innovation work can require a substantial amount of creativity. These web-focused brainstorming innovation tools will allow you and your team to put together more ideas and collaborate smoothly regardless of distance. Here are some brainstorming tools to inspire and help you overcome barriers to innovation.
Start with this excellent video by Sprouts, an online organization dedicated to learning, science, and ideation. It discusses how to leverage innovation tools and create the right environment, encouraging employees to speak up and share ideas. For example, a brainstorming tool that allows employees to share ideas and vote anonymously on those ideas is one way of helping employees who may not be comfortable with public discussions.
Now that you have some ideas on how to get started with your thinking, here are a few innovation tools to inspire and help you overcome mental barriers.
Google Docs & Google Sheets
Google Docs, of which Google Sheets is a subset, is the modern scratch paper. The free web-based brainstorming software makes it simple to upload a document, create a tracking table, and use all other features with a team, sharing documents and collecting edits. The best part is multiple users can contribute to a document at the same time. There’s no need to send drafts back and forth or spend time on version control.
Slack is often viewed as a chat app, but its real value lies in its name: Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge. Originally built to develop a video game, Slack permanently keeps your chats, shared documents, and links so you can search for the item you need instead of having to ask someone to share it again.
Microsoft’s response to both Slack and Google Docs is Microsoft Teams. The goal of Teams is to put everything you need to finish a project on one platform. It’s most powerful when paired with Microsoft Office. Robust third-party support makes it useful brainstorming software for groups that have downtime at the airport or working on their phones or tablets.
Lucidchart is a brainstorming web app that offers practical solutions to help streamline ideation processes by letting users collaborate in real-time. Ideal for visual learners, the platform combines diagramming, collaboration, and data visualization into one cohesive tool so you can draw flowcharts, org charts, wireframes, UML, and everything in-between.
If you like to organize your ideas in a tangible way (such as with pushpins or note cards), IdeaBoardz translates that experience to a browser. It allows users to make virtual sticky notes and place them under specific categories. A “like” button serves as an informal polling mechanism among teams, especially if you’re managing a big group. The more “likes,” the more popular crowdsourced ideas become.
Coggle is an online brainstorming app that lets you share and create mind maps. Users can take notes, visualize connections across concepts, collaborate with others, and solve problems. Uses range from education and enterprises to personal creativity.
Available on the web and updating in real-time, MindMeister’s virtual whiteboard allows you to collaborate and discuss items with others no matter where you are. Additional features include converting mind maps into dynamic presentations, commenting and voting on topics, and adding visual elements to map topics.
This video reviews Coggle, MindMeister, and Draw.io, three excellent mind-mapping software examples. They discuss the benefits and disadvantages of each brainstorming tool. Options like Coggle and MindMeister are easier to use, whereas Draw.io gives you a wider variety of options. Which one do you prefer?
Visual Thesaurus generates association trees from any word you type. For example, “car” will create trees not just for roads, but for train cars, sidecars, etc. It’s useful for finding the right word to describe a concept. It can also bridge creative gaps when you’re searching for metaphors or different approaches. The tool also offers definitions and pronunciations of unfamiliar words, so you’ll learn along the way.
If you’re comfortable with open-source software, Freeplane offers a powerful alternative to typical collaborative brainstorming software. It will run on any system that can support the current version of Java. Features span simple script invocation, node formats, packaged scripts, and more.
Perfect for freeform structure and design, Bubbl.us lets you create colorful, engaging mind maps ideal for building presentations, planning projects, and collaborating with others. As it is browser-based, there’s no installation of client software necessary.
MindMup is another free mind mapmaker. This brainstorming web tool accesses your mind maps from anywhere via any device. When you’re done mind-mapping, you can publish and share your visuals online or present them to your colleagues by converting them to PDFs or PowerPoint slides.
The freeform approach is often necessary for brainstorming online and presents a problem afterward: organizing everything. Ideament turns mind maps, flow charts, and other flowing approaches into easily-shared text outlines.
Wrike’s brainstorming online platform provides teams with maximum visibility into their tasks, projects, deadlines, and other critical processes. Building on Microsoft’s existing functionality, Wrike makes it easy to convert discussions into structured work and to collaborate in Teams.
With Hypercontext (formerly Soapbox), you can set up meetings and share agendas to which anyone can contribute. Whenever another item is added, you’ll receive instant notifications to know exactly where your team is without having to toggle between other brainstorming tools.
With its flexible project views and reusable action templates, Hive users can manage their workflows using Kanban boards, Gantt calendars, and tables to switch between layouts for ultimate flexibility. When used in tandem with Microsoft Teams, Hive allows companies to work efficiently and prioritize projects that matter.
IdeaScale can be used to gather ideas from anyone and anywhere, so brainstorming can be a global endeavor. The platform also makes it easy to capture any ideas, no matter how underdeveloped, and combine them so larger themes can emerge. With just a few simple clicks, IdeaScale helps you select, vet, and prototype your best ideas.
Ready to start putting your ideas into action? With IdeaScale, teams can connect, collaborate, and start converting brainstorming campaigns into the next big things.
IdeaScale is an innovation management solution that inspires people to take action on their ideas. Your community’s ideas can change lives, your business and the world. Connect to the ideas that matter and start co-creating the future.