Brainstorming is a creative problem-solving technique that involves generating ideas and solutions through a group discussion. It’s usually a messy meeting where notes are flying around, people are speaking over each other, and in the end, solutions are lost in the chaos.
Brainstorming, however, is an essential tool for businesses, teams, and individuals to come up with fresh ideas, solve problems, and improve processes. But how can businesses effectively brainstorm?
In this digital age, several online brainstorming tools are available that can help facilitate and streamline the process so that each brainstorming session is fruitful (or at least heading in the right direction.)
There are several useful online brainstorming tools that are easy to use and provide direction for teams who want to generate ideas but aren’t sure where to start. Some tools even use prompts to keep team members on their toes.
This article will cover what brainstorming tools are, the best online tools you can use today, how to start a brainstorming session, and the benefits of brainstorming sessions for the progress of your company’s work.
What is brainstorming?
Brainstorming is an activity in which individuals or teams sit down with a pen, paper, and post-it notes and write down whatever comes to mind when thinking about specific topics to collect ideas. This may be in the form of keywords, phrases, or even sketches to spark new ideas.
Once the initial creative thinking session is over, teams sit together to compile their ideas into mind maps, where they start to get an image of each team member’s ideas and how they fit into the process.
Mind mapping is one of the most powerful brainstorming tools, allowing you to visualize your process.
Mind maps are great for developing ideas, procedures, and strategies since they are like a highly visual string of thoughts. Picture it as a tree, with each task connected to the next and all stemming from a central idea.
What is a brainstorming tool?
A brainstorming tool, also known as brainstorming software, is a digital platform that helps facilitate the brainstorming process by providing a space for team members to share and discuss ideas, organize and prioritize them, and track their progress.
Online brainstorming tools allow teams to join the brainstorming session from anywhere and present their ideas in an organized way.
These tools are extremely useful because they automatically compile your team’s ideas into a mind map or other visual figures, which can be used for various purposes such as ideation, project planning, problem-solving, and more.
Let’s take a look at some of the best brainstorming tools available.
Top 8 Online Brainstorming Tools
Nifty is a remote project management collaboration hub that combines the management of teams, projects, goals, and communications into one convenient location. Milestones, tasks, documents, a calendar, and even direct messaging are all available with Nifty. The dashboard that Nifty provides may be entirely customized to meet any workflow, which can help prioritize insights and reduce the time spent searching.
Nifty is a powerful tool for group brainstorming and collaboration that enables teams to produce and organize ideas, work together in real-time, and monitor their progress.
Because it integrates with various tools and provides a wide range of capabilities, such as idea voting and fully customizable templates, it is the most effective tool for brainstorming and the best brainstorming app out there.
The Miro + Nifty use case is useful for visual brainstorming sessions because it enables teams to communicate and collaborate on visual ideas and concepts in real-time. This makes the use case very practical.
- Superior task management with milestones
- Effective Gantt charts
- Workflow automation
- Agile methodology support
- Change request and case management
- Highly versatile
- Ability to break down tasks into subtasks
- Useful integrations with other software
- Built-in chat functionality
- Lacks expense management
- Inability to edit previous time logs
- Free plan: $0 per member month for starter features
- Starter plan: $5 per member per month for all core features
- Pro plan: $10 per member per month for team-growing features
- Business plan: $16 per member per month for advanced features
- Enterprise plan: Contact the sales department
IdeaBoardz is a web-based brainstorming tool for facilitating collaboration within a team. It enables teams to collectively think about ideas, collect inputs, reflect, and look back on previous work. It is extremely helpful for teams that are located in different locations all around the world.
Additionally, it’s helpful for teams to collect inputs over a few days and then get together to discuss them. The vast majority of teams hold their project retrospective sessions using IdeaBoardz. Teams have used it for different kinds of brainstorming activities, such as the six thinking hats, the pros and cons, and risk opportunities.
- Add ideas separately and at any time
- Brainstorm across oceans with unlimited mind maps
- Export as PDF or XLS for better sharing capability
- Easy-to-use visual brainstorming tool
- Create collaborative mind maps
- One or multiple users
- Not frequently updated
- No drag and drop function
- Doesn’t have built-in chat capability
- Free forever
Infinity is a comprehensive platform for brainstorming and collaboration that assists teams in the generation of ideas, organization of those ideas, prioritization of those ideas, as well as real-time communication and tracking of progress.
It provides a wide variety of capabilities, including real-time collaboration, dynamic mind mapping, and integrations with various other applications.
- Various project views to aid in the development of your ideas
- Custom attributions to give the context of your idea
- Workspace makes it simple to organize and store data.
- Several ways to distribute your projects effortlessly
- Number of ready-made templates
- The hierarchy system facilitates the organization of projects into mind maps.
- Fewer features to maximize Infinity’s numerous project views
- Only a few integrations are available
- No free plan or subscription
- Restricted permissions and individual settings
Infinity bases their pricing plans on the number of team members and bills annually.
- Duo (two members): Basic starting at $99, can upgrade to Pro for $149
- Team (five members): Basic starting at $199, can upgrade to Pro for $299
- Startup (10 members): Basic starting at $299, can upgrade to Pro for $399
- Business (25 members): Basic starting at $499, can upgrade to Pro for $699
- Company (50 members): Basic starting at $999, can upgrade to Pro for $1,299
- Unlimited (unlimited members): Basic starting at $1,999, can upgrade to Pro for $2,499
- Enterprise: Custom pricing
Read also: Best free project management software
Coggle is a visual brainstorming and mind-mapping tool that enables groups to produce ideas and arrange them in a interactive and visually presented way. Among its most essential features are real-time collaboration, user-customizable templates, and integrations with various other applications.
Coggle is a digital mind mapping and flowcharting software that is simple to use and intuitive. It can be used to organize processes and break down concepts. Beginners won’t have a hard time getting the hang of it, but more advanced users may find the software too restrictive when planning more complex projects.
- Real-time editing and collaborative drawing
- All edit history has been saved
- Branch auto-arrangement in mind maps
- Add floating text, media, and images to your mind map
- Useful URL sharing
- A great tool to improve team communication
- Intuitive interface with automatically rearranging branches
- Numerous ways to connect relevant topics on a single map
- No mobile application
- On Coggle’s free version, mind maps are automatically made public.
- Not many alternatives to mind maps for brainstorming tools
- Free plan forever
- Awesome: Starting at $5 per member per month
- Organization: Starting at $8 per member per month
Miro is a dynamic project management tool for brainstorming and teamwork that can assist eCommerce businesses with the generation and organization of ideas, as well as real-time teamwork and the tracking of progress. It provides a wide range of capabilities, such as the ability to collaborate in real-time, interactive mind mapping, and the integration of many tools.
Ecommerce businesses can use Miro for a range of purposes, including the generation of ideas, Iterative planning of projects, the resolution of problems, and much more.
- Numerous pre-made flowcharts, mind maps, and other template options
- Integrated video and chat capabilities
- In Present Mode, you can enlarge portions of your whiteboard.
- Video conference with your board’s team
- Organizing folders to keep track of whiteboards
- Seamless file sharing
- Several methods for cooperation immediately from your board
- Integrates readily with other services like Google docs
- Owners of the board cannot provide editing access.
- Free plan features are few, and expensive premium plan options.
It can be overwhelming if you’re unfamiliar with digital whiteboards.
- Team: $8 per member/month
- Business: $16 per member/month
- Enterprise: For pricing, get in touch
Read also: Best Enterprise Project Management Software Tools
Stormboard is a customizable platform for brainstorming and collaboration that may assist eCommerce businesses in generating and organizing ideas, as well as real-time collaboration and tracking of their progress. It provides a wide variety of capabilities, including real-time collaboration, dynamic mind mapping, and integrations with various other applications.
Stormboard can be utilized by organizations involved in eCommerce for a variety of objectives, including the generation of ideas, the planning of projects, the resolution of problems, and more. For instance, a company that sells goods and services online can utilize Stormboard to conceptualize and prioritize marketing initiatives, determine the requirements and preferences of customers, and monitor their development.
Stormboard is a digital whiteboard system that allows distributed teams to collaborate on projects, hold virtual meetings, and track their progress. Stormboard is similar to a bulletin board in that it can be accessed on almost any device. During brainstorming sessions, Stormboard may stimulate your creativity by including a variety of visual elements such as post-it notes, photographs, links, and presentation tools.
- Management of projects and backlogs
- Organizing ideas is made easier with options like folders and task prioritization.
- Navigation panel that allows you to zero in on specific parts of your board
- Effective strategic planning
- Visually fascinating and interactive dashboard
- Access via mobile and desktop
- Numerous templates
- It can take some time to learn all of the features
- Free plan is limited, especially for mid-sized teams
- Personal: Free
- Startup: $5 per user per month
- Business: $10 per user per month
- Enterprise: $16.67 per user per month
Scapple is a brainstorming tool that gives users a digital canvas to record their thoughts and return to them later. Consider it a digital notebook where you can scribble down quick thoughts, phrases, and notes for when you’re on the go.
Scapple is most frequently used for writing to-do lists and making straightforward mind maps with arrows, text bubbles, and shapes. It is best for creatives like composers, writers, and literary professionals.
- Whiteboards for group brainstorming
- Real-time chatting and collaboration software
- Discussing mental maps in an open forum
- Simple yet effective user interface
- Users can create multiple mind maps
- Unlimited public diagrams
- No free trial is available, and the premium plans are quite costly
- Not mobile-friendly
- Could be too primitive for complicated ideas and projects
- Free 30-day trial
- Standard subscription: For macOS and Windows, $18 per month
- Educational subscription: For macOS and Windows, $14.40 per month
Why you should be using brainstorming apps?
By offering a digital platform for teams to exchange and discuss ideas, organize and prioritize them, and track their progress, brainstorming tools have the potential to greatly improve and streamline the process.
These technologies can help increase communication and decision-making and provide a visual representation of ideas and thoughts. Additionally, they can make real-time cooperation easier between team members.
What brainstorming tools can you use that isn’t an app?
Brainstorming tools, such as apps, can greatly improve and streamline the process of exchanging and discussing ideas, organizing and prioritizing them, and tracking progress within a team,
These technologies enhance communication and decision-making and provide a visual representation of ideas and thoughts. Real-time cooperation between team members becomes easier with these tools.
However, there are also other methods of brainstorming, such as mind maps, the Osborn-Parnes Creative Problem Solving process, the SCAMPER technique, and brainwriting. They can be helpful for eCommerce companies in organizing and developing fresh concepts for products, and advertising campaigns, finding innovative solutions to challenging issues, rethinking old concepts, and involving everyone in the process.
Brainstorming apps and real-life techniques can be used together to maximize the potential of complex concepts such as, for example, developing a clothing line. An app can be used to organize and track ideas, while techniques like mind mapping and the SCAMPER method can be used to generate new and innovative ideas.
For example, an app can be used to set up a virtual brainstorming session with team members, where they can share and vote on ideas in real time. Mind mapping can be used to organize these ideas and find connections between them visually.
The SCAMPER method can then be applied to take existing ideas and find new ways to improve upon them, such as by substituting materials, combining them with other ideas, or adapting them for a different target audience. Using both an app and real-life techniques, a team can maximize the potential of their ideas and develop successful projects.
Brainstorming tools are crucial for companies, groups, and individuals who want to develop new ideas, find solutions to problems and improve operations.
Thanks to these tools, teams can collaborate more effectively by sharing and discussing ideas, organizing and prioritizing them, and monitoring their progress on a digital platform.
Choosing the correct brainstorming tool for your team is essential. It’s important to consider your team’s needs and budget and align that with the top brainstorming tools out there.
Nifty is the best overall online brainstorming tool because of its intuitive interface, versatility, and game-changing integrations. It also has inexpensive pricing plans that are suitable for any team. The perfect brainstorming tool is just a few clicks away.
What is a brainstorming tool?
A brainstorming tool is a digital platform that helps facilitate the brainstorming process by providing a space for team members to share and discuss ideas, organize and prioritize them, and track their progress.
What are the 4 types of brainstorming?
The four types of brainstorming are freewheeling, nominal, round-robin, and silent. Freewheeling involves generating ideas without any rules or restrictions. Nominal involves breaking the group into smaller subgroups to brainstorm ideas.
Round robin involves taking turns to share ideas. Silent involves writing down ideas individually and then sharing and discussing them as a group.
What is the best brainstorming tool?
The team's specific requirements and preferences will determine the most effective tool for brainstorming. Some popular options are Nifty, IdeaBoardz, Infinity, Coggle, Miro, Stormboard, and Scapple.
What is the process of a brainstorming session?
Brainstorming sessions are typically broken down into the following stages: idea generation, group discussion, and evaluation of the best ideas. The remote team members should all work together to put this approach into action.