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Harry
Harry

Published on Nov 04, 2022, updated on Mar 15, 2024

Brainstorming is a group problem-solving strategy in which group members generate ideas and solutions spontaneously. This strategy entails vigorous, freewheeling debate in which every member of the group is encouraged to think aloud and contribute as many ideas as possible based on their diverse knowledge.

However, there needs to be a proper approach to brainstorming. As technology advances and the threat of Covid, many people prefer to brainstorm with their mates online. So a suitable tool is vital in this case.

In this article, you can learn the necessity of brainstorming online and 6 powerful and free brainstorming tools. Keep reading.

online brainstorming tools

Why Brainstorm Online

Any time you want to produce ideas as a remote team, online brainstorming is one of the most significant ways. Here's why you should:

why brainstorming online

First, the fact that virtual brainstorming removes production blocking, the process where some participants talk too much, taking over the session and overpowering their peers. This leads to cognitive overload and hampers creative idea production in more introverted persons.

Virtual brainstorming has a definite positive association between group size and performance, whereas, in traditional, in-person brainstorming sessions, things tend to get chaotic with more than six participants. Online, there are no restrictions to group size: the cost of having 5 or 50 members is roughly the same, and you save costs by allowing people to work remotely and in dispersed areas. Thus virtual brainstorming is far more scalable, and each person you add has the potential to bring a new idea to the mix.

Online brainstorming also allows working groups to develop an abundance of ideas anonymously. More good ideas are developed without production obstruction.

This evidence suggests that electronic brainstorming is a better approach to creating ideas than traditional brainstorming.

How to Select Online Brainstorming Tools

When searching for online brainstorming tools, you must guarantee you acquire top-quality tools.

how to select online brainstorming tools

There are quite a few brainstorming tools to pick from. It's a good idea to look around and choose a form of software that works well for your needs. Here are some features you should look for:

  • Offers various solutions - There are numerous ways to brainstorm. A good brainstorming software should enable you to do many other things besides the mind map, such as design a flow chart, Gantt chart, roadmap, and more. In a word, a tool that can help you in every situation.
  • Offers strong collaborating ability - You may want to brainstorm with individuals in multiple locations and you need to sync projects with team members. In this case, real-time collaboration is vital for you.
  • Compatible with different operating systems and devices - You want to ensure people using different devices can access the program. For example, does it operate with both Mac and Windows? Or some tools can be directly used on the web, which requires no special device.
  • Offers a free trial and demo - You need to try out the software before committing, which can help you make a better decision.
  • Has training and learning resources to help you get the most out of the tools.

6 Best Online Brainstorming Tools

Boardmix

Boardmix banner

Boardmix is an online collaborative whiteboard platform that integrates different technologies to boost team efficiency and free team inventiveness. It is a free-to-use tool for brainstorming, online meetings, project management, product creation, strategy and consulting, mapping, and diagramming.

Boardmix has a simple design that lets you and your team communicate ideas and thoughts with just a few clicks. You can easily create a new document, share it with your team via a link, and grant them permission to edit, comment, and leave feedback.

To ease the process of brainstorming, Boardmix presets various templates that you can drag and drop to use directly. Meanwhile, Boardmix boasts its real-time collaboration feature which lets you see and make changes to the file instantly.

Finally, you and your collaborators do not need to worry about compatibility as Boardmix only requires an active network to run.

Cons
  • No mobile version (yet)

Pricing

  • Starter - Free for every individual
  • Boardmix Organization - $12 per month
  • Boardmix Enterprise - Customized

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MindMup

mindmup

MindMup is a web-based brainstorming tool with a Google Drive connection that lets you retrieve your maps from any device later. It helps you to focus on your ideas without being distracted and lets you generate an endless number of maps for free.

Another excellent thing about MindMup is that it gives you the ability to publish your ideas on social media networks from its interface, which allows you to contact your audience easily and rapidly without having to send them emails.

Additionally, this program allows you to turn maps into PDF files and PowerPoint presentations, enabling you to stay organized at all times.

Cons
  • The free plan has limited features.
  • It’s not that easy to navigate.
  • The customization of the map is time-consuming.
  • The process of exportation is demanding.
  • Options and menus are limited in the free plan.
  • Difficult to add extra information to nodes.

Pricing

  • Free
  • Personal Gold - $2.99/month
  • Small Team Gold - $50/year
  • Organizational Gold - $100/year

Lucidspark

lucidspark

Lucidspark is another web tool with a clean and easy UI to perform some thinking for your new tactics. With Lucidspark, you can brainstorm in any way you want, starting from a blank canvas. For even more collaborative brainstorming sessions, you can separate the team into smaller groups and set a timer using the ‘breakout boards’ tool. Lucidspark also offers a voting mechanism to make sure every voice is heard. Team and enterprise plans are the only ones that offer this feature.

Cons
  • Some features seem too advanced for beginners and it takes some time to learn.
  • Seeing your idea through the entire project lifecycle will require other software or integration with another tool.

Pricing

  • Free - $0 for basic features.
  • Individual - Starting at $7.95
  • Team - Starting at $9.00 per user (3 users minimum)
  • Custom quote

MindManager

mindmanager

MindManager is another professional mind-mapping tool that you may utilize. MindManager is also one of the most user-friendly brainstorming apps since it works on Windows and macOS devices. The interactive infographics on this page will help your colleagues better appreciate the link between topics. This tool's attractive visuals assist uncomplicated information communication and allow your team members to offer suggestions.

It also allows you to insert movies, hyperlinks, and files in your charts. Aside from the aesthetics, it allows you to save your mind maps as Word documents.

Cons
  • It requires a one-time, large-sum financial commitment. Startups and small businesses might find this too daunting.
  • Functions are not as varied as other tools in this article.

Pricing

  • Windows Version – $349
  • Mac version – $199

Popplet

popplet

Popplet is the simplest tool to capture your thoughts and ideas. Because it's quite visual, leveraging images and diagrams to develop projects is highly beneficial for businesses and classrooms. Multiple users can access the same project through Popplet, where they can make presentations with tags, and categorize projects all within the platform. A mobile app is also available for iOS users.

If you want to make your brainstorming sessions more entertaining and effective, then Popplet is a terrific tool for you. Generate ideas, establish plans for your projects, and share them with other team members. Add photos, links, and text to popplets that hold the information on Popplet's mind map.

Cons
  • The free version only allows you to work on one map.
  • The free version only allows you to work on one map.
  • It lacks selections of arrows and other shapes.
  • There is no Popplet app for Android.
  • The tool doesn’t offer much flexibility in editing text or images once they are in the Popple.

Pricing

  • Free
  • Paid plans start at $2.99 per user monthly.

MindMeister

mindmeister

Mind Meister is a highly easy-to-learn and cloud-based brainstorming program that helps you to manage your ideas, projects and workflows. It helps visualize your ideas and lets you add images, videos, files, or other links to the mind map.

MindMaster offers mind map training. This application features a straightforward UI and allows you to engage with other team members via voting, commenting, and real-time conversation. It also connects with MeisterTask, which helps you assign your chores according to your mind map.

Cons
  • Limited integrations with other tools.
  • Limited features on the free plan.
  • No tracking features to follow through on your ideas.

Pricing

  • Personal accounts - start at $4.99 a month
  • Business accounts - start at $14.99 a month
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