What are the best tools for brainstorming in 2021?

COVID-19 has driven organizations to adopt digital tools that can improve their processes and deliver more effective results. Whether you’re brainstorming virtually or in-person, coordinating it can require a substantial amount of creativity on your part. These web-focused brainstorming tools will allow you and your team to put together more ideas and collaborate smoothly, even when you’re miles away. But, how do we get started?

Here are some tools to inspire you and help you overcome barriers to innovation.

Watch this excellent video by Sprouts, an online organization dedicated to learning, science, and ideation. The video talks about how to leverage brainstorming tools and create the right environment to incite employees to speak up and share their ideas. For example, a brainstorming tool that allows employees to share ideas anonymously and lets them vote between these is one way of helping employees who may otherwise not be comfortable sharing their ideas in public.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXZamW4-Ysk

Now that you’ve got some ideas on how to get started with your thinking, here are some tools to inspire you and help you overcome barriers to innovation.

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 the other features with a team, sharing documents with each other and collecting edits. The best part is that multiple users can contribute to a document at the same time—no need to send drafts back and forth to one another. Plus, there’s no version control issue. 

Slack

While hailed as one of the industry’s best brainstorming tools, 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’s value is that it keeps your chats, shared documents, and links permanently, so you can just search for the item you need instead of having to ask someone to share it again.

Image of Slack chat, an easy way for business to connect

Microsoft Teams

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, but robust third-party support makes it a useful brainstorming software for teams that have downtime at the airport or may only have a phone or tablet with which to work.

Microsoft Teams gif clickthrough

Lucidchart

Lucidchart is a brainstorming web app that offers a practical solution to help streamline the ideation process by allowing users to collaborate in real-time. Ideal for visual learners, this platform combines diagramming, collaboration, and data visualization into one cohesive tool where you can draw flowcharts, org charts, wireframes, UML, mind maps, and everything in between.

IdeaBoardz

If you like to organize your ideas in a tangible way, like with pushpins and note cards, IdeaBoardz translates that experience to a browser.  It allows members of a group to make virtual sticky notes and place them under their preferred categories. A Like button serves as an informal polling mechanism among teams, especially if you’re managing a big group; as likes collect, the more popular crowdsourced ideas stand out.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screen-Shot-2020-06-17-at-18.16.13.png

Coggle

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 to enterprises to personal creativity.v

MindMeister

Available on the web and updating in real-time, MindMeister’s virtual whiteboard allows you and your team to collaborate and discuss no matter where you happen to be.  Additional features include converting mind maps into dynamic presentations, commenting and voting on topics, as well as adding visual elements to map topics.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is MindMeister_web_2017.jpg

This video reviews Coggle, MindMeister, and Draw.io, three excellent mind-mapping softwares. 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?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9ETtFqR5ws

Visual Thesaurus

Visual Thesaurus generates association trees from any word you type in. For example, if you type in “car,” it’ll create trees not just for roads, but for train cars, sidecars, and so on. It’s useful for finding the right word to describe a concept, but it can also bridge creative gaps when you’re searching for a metaphor or a different approach. The tool also offers definitions and pronunciations of unfamiliar words, so you’ll learn something along the way.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screen-Shot-2020-06-17-at-18.14.57.png

Freeplane

If you’re comfortable with open source software, Freeplane offers a powerful alternative to typical collaborative brainstorming software and will run on any system that can support the current version of Java. Features span simple script invocation, node formats, packaged scripts, and more.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5KH64Skpnc

Bubbl.us

Perfect for freeform structure and design, Bubbl.us lets you create color and engaging mind maps, which are ideal for building presentations, planning projects, and collaborating with others. Also, since it is browser-based, there’s no installation of client software necessary.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screen-Shot-2020-06-17-at-18.19.00.png

MindMup

MindMup is another free mind map maker. This brainstorming web tool can easily access your mind maps from anywhere via any device. When you’re done mind-mapping, you can publish and share your visuals online or present to your colleagues by converting them to PDFs or PowerPoints.

Ideament

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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 1080x800bb.jpg

Wrike

Wrike’s brainstorming online platform provides teams with maximum visibility into their tasks, projects, deadlines, schedules, and other critical processes. Building on Microsoft’s existing functionality, Wrike makes it easy to convert discussions into structured work and collaborate right in Teams.

Soapbox

With Soapbox, you can set up meetings and share agendas in which anyone can contribute. Plus, 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.

Hive

With its flexible project views and reusable action templates, Hive users can manage their workflow using Kanban boards, Gantt calendars, and tables to easily switch between each layout for ultimate flexibility. When used in tandem with Microsoft Teams, Hive offers companies of all sizes to work more efficiently and prioritize the projects that matter.

IdeaScale

IdeaScale can be used to gather ideas from anyone, anywhere so that brainstorming can be a global endeavor. Plus, the platform also makes it easy to capture any idea, no matter how underdeveloped, and combine them later so that larger themes emerge. With just a few simple clicks, IdeaScale can help 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 thing.

Sign-up to discover the difference for yourself. Remember—it’s free for up to 25 people to submit as many ideas as they want.

Launch Your IdeaScale Community Today!

Schedule a Demo

What are the best tools for brainstorming in 2021?

COVID-19 has driven organizations to adopt digital tools that can improve their processes and deliver more effective results. Whether you’re brainstorming virtually or in-person, coordinating it can require a substantial amount of creativity on your part. These web-focused brainstorming tools will allow you and your team to put together more ideas and collaborate smoothly, even when you’re miles away. But, how do we get started?

Here are some tools to inspire you and help you overcome barriers to innovation.

Watch this excellent video by Sprouts, an online organization dedicated to learning, science, and ideation. The video talks about how to leverage brainstorming tools and create the right environment to incite employees to speak up and share their ideas. For example, a brainstorming tool that allows employees to share ideas anonymously and lets them vote between these is one way of helping employees who may otherwise not be comfortable sharing their ideas in public.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXZamW4-Ysk

Now that you’ve got some ideas on how to get started with your thinking, here are some tools to inspire you and help you overcome barriers to innovation.

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 the other features with a team, sharing documents with each other and collecting edits. The best part is that multiple users can contribute to a document at the same time—no need to send drafts back and forth to one another. Plus, there’s no version control issue. 

Slack

While hailed as one of the industry’s best brainstorming tools, 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’s value is that it keeps your chats, shared documents, and links permanently, so you can just search for the item you need instead of having to ask someone to share it again.

Image of Slack chat, an easy way for business to connect

Microsoft Teams

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, but robust third-party support makes it a useful brainstorming software for teams that have downtime at the airport or may only have a phone or tablet with which to work.

Microsoft Teams gif clickthrough

Lucidchart

Lucidchart is a brainstorming web app that offers a practical solution to help streamline the ideation process by allowing users to collaborate in real-time. Ideal for visual learners, this platform combines diagramming, collaboration, and data visualization into one cohesive tool where you can draw flowcharts, org charts, wireframes, UML, mind maps, and everything in between.

IdeaBoardz

If you like to organize your ideas in a tangible way, like with pushpins and note cards, IdeaBoardz translates that experience to a browser.  It allows members of a group to make virtual sticky notes and place them under their preferred categories. A Like button serves as an informal polling mechanism among teams, especially if you’re managing a big group; as likes collect, the more popular crowdsourced ideas stand out.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screen-Shot-2020-06-17-at-18.16.13.png

Coggle

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 to enterprises to personal creativity.v

MindMeister

Available on the web and updating in real-time, MindMeister’s virtual whiteboard allows you and your team to collaborate and discuss no matter where you happen to be.  Additional features include converting mind maps into dynamic presentations, commenting and voting on topics, as well as adding visual elements to map topics.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is MindMeister_web_2017.jpg

This video reviews Coggle, MindMeister, and Draw.io, three excellent mind-mapping softwares. 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?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9ETtFqR5ws

Visual Thesaurus

Visual Thesaurus generates association trees from any word you type in. For example, if you type in “car,” it’ll create trees not just for roads, but for train cars, sidecars, and so on. It’s useful for finding the right word to describe a concept, but it can also bridge creative gaps when you’re searching for a metaphor or a different approach. The tool also offers definitions and pronunciations of unfamiliar words, so you’ll learn something along the way.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screen-Shot-2020-06-17-at-18.14.57.png

Freeplane

If you’re comfortable with open source software, Freeplane offers a powerful alternative to typical collaborative brainstorming software and will run on any system that can support the current version of Java. Features span simple script invocation, node formats, packaged scripts, and more.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5KH64Skpnc

Bubbl.us

Perfect for freeform structure and design, Bubbl.us lets you create color and engaging mind maps, which are ideal for building presentations, planning projects, and collaborating with others. Also, since it is browser-based, there’s no installation of client software necessary.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screen-Shot-2020-06-17-at-18.19.00.png

MindMup

MindMup is another free mind map maker. This brainstorming web tool can easily access your mind maps from anywhere via any device. When you’re done mind-mapping, you can publish and share your visuals online or present to your colleagues by converting them to PDFs or PowerPoints.

Ideament

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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 1080x800bb.jpg

Wrike

Wrike’s brainstorming online platform provides teams with maximum visibility into their tasks, projects, deadlines, schedules, and other critical processes. Building on Microsoft’s existing functionality, Wrike makes it easy to convert discussions into structured work and collaborate right in Teams.

Soapbox

With Soapbox, you can set up meetings and share agendas in which anyone can contribute. Plus, 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.

Hive

With its flexible project views and reusable action templates, Hive users can manage their workflow using Kanban boards, Gantt calendars, and tables to easily switch between each layout for ultimate flexibility. When used in tandem with Microsoft Teams, Hive offers companies of all sizes to work more efficiently and prioritize the projects that matter.

IdeaScale

IdeaScale can be used to gather ideas from anyone, anywhere so that brainstorming can be a global endeavor. Plus, the platform also makes it easy to capture any idea, no matter how underdeveloped, and combine them later so that larger themes emerge. With just a few simple clicks, IdeaScale can help 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 thing.

Sign-up to discover the difference for yourself. Remember—it’s free for up to 25 people to submit as many ideas as they want.

Launch Your IdeaScale Community Today!

Schedule a Demo

What are the best tools for brainstorming in 2021?

COVID-19 has driven organizations to adopt digital tools that can improve their processes and deliver more effective results. Whether you’re brainstorming virtually or in-person, coordinating it can require a substantial amount of creativity on your part. These web-focused brainstorming tools will allow you and your team to put together more ideas and collaborate smoothly, even when you’re miles away. But, how do we get started?

Here are some tools to inspire you and help you overcome barriers to innovation.

Watch this excellent video by Sprouts, an online organization dedicated to learning, science, and ideation. The video talks about how to leverage brainstorming tools and create the right environment to incite employees to speak up and share their ideas. For example, a brainstorming tool that allows employees to share ideas anonymously and lets them vote between these is one way of helping employees who may otherwise not be comfortable sharing their ideas in public.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXZamW4-Ysk

Now that you’ve got some ideas on how to get started with your thinking, here are some tools to inspire you and help you overcome barriers to innovation.

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 the other features with a team, sharing documents with each other and collecting edits. The best part is that multiple users can contribute to a document at the same time—no need to send drafts back and forth to one another. Plus, there’s no version control issue. 

Slack

While hailed as one of the industry’s best brainstorming tools, 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’s value is that it keeps your chats, shared documents, and links permanently, so you can just search for the item you need instead of having to ask someone to share it again.

Image of Slack chat, an easy way for business to connect

Microsoft Teams

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, but robust third-party support makes it a useful brainstorming software for teams that have downtime at the airport or may only have a phone or tablet with which to work.

Microsoft Teams gif clickthrough

Lucidchart

Lucidchart is a brainstorming web app that offers a practical solution to help streamline the ideation process by allowing users to collaborate in real-time. Ideal for visual learners, this platform combines diagramming, collaboration, and data visualization into one cohesive tool where you can draw flowcharts, org charts, wireframes, UML, mind maps, and everything in between.

IdeaBoardz

If you like to organize your ideas in a tangible way, like with pushpins and note cards, IdeaBoardz translates that experience to a browser.  It allows members of a group to make virtual sticky notes and place them under their preferred categories. A Like button serves as an informal polling mechanism among teams, especially if you’re managing a big group; as likes collect, the more popular crowdsourced ideas stand out.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screen-Shot-2020-06-17-at-18.16.13.png

Coggle

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 to enterprises to personal creativity.v

MindMeister

Available on the web and updating in real-time, MindMeister’s virtual whiteboard allows you and your team to collaborate and discuss no matter where you happen to be.  Additional features include converting mind maps into dynamic presentations, commenting and voting on topics, as well as adding visual elements to map topics.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is MindMeister_web_2017.jpg

This video reviews Coggle, MindMeister, and Draw.io, three excellent mind-mapping softwares. 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?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9ETtFqR5ws

Visual Thesaurus

Visual Thesaurus generates association trees from any word you type in. For example, if you type in “car,” it’ll create trees not just for roads, but for train cars, sidecars, and so on. It’s useful for finding the right word to describe a concept, but it can also bridge creative gaps when you’re searching for a metaphor or a different approach. The tool also offers definitions and pronunciations of unfamiliar words, so you’ll learn something along the way.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screen-Shot-2020-06-17-at-18.14.57.png

Freeplane

If you’re comfortable with open source software, Freeplane offers a powerful alternative to typical collaborative brainstorming software and will run on any system that can support the current version of Java. Features span simple script invocation, node formats, packaged scripts, and more.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5KH64Skpnc

Bubbl.us

Perfect for freeform structure and design, Bubbl.us lets you create color and engaging mind maps, which are ideal for building presentations, planning projects, and collaborating with others. Also, since it is browser-based, there’s no installation of client software necessary.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screen-Shot-2020-06-17-at-18.19.00.png

MindMup

MindMup is another free mind map maker. This brainstorming web tool can easily access your mind maps from anywhere via any device. When you’re done mind-mapping, you can publish and share your visuals online or present to your colleagues by converting them to PDFs or PowerPoints.

Ideament

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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 1080x800bb.jpg

Wrike

Wrike’s brainstorming online platform provides teams with maximum visibility into their tasks, projects, deadlines, schedules, and other critical processes. Building on Microsoft’s existing functionality, Wrike makes it easy to convert discussions into structured work and collaborate right in Teams.

Soapbox

With Soapbox, you can set up meetings and share agendas in which anyone can contribute. Plus, 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.

Hive

With its flexible project views and reusable action templates, Hive users can manage their workflow using Kanban boards, Gantt calendars, and tables to easily switch between each layout for ultimate flexibility. When used in tandem with Microsoft Teams, Hive offers companies of all sizes to work more efficiently and prioritize the projects that matter.

IdeaScale

IdeaScale can be used to gather ideas from anyone, anywhere so that brainstorming can be a global endeavor. Plus, the platform also makes it easy to capture any idea, no matter how underdeveloped, and combine them later so that larger themes emerge. With just a few simple clicks, IdeaScale can help 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 thing.

Sign-up to discover the difference for yourself. Remember—it’s free for up to 25 people to submit as many ideas as they want.

Launch Your IdeaScale Community Today!

Schedule a Demo