Brainstorming Apps: A Collaborative Mobile Solution

Perhaps you are familiar with one or more of the dozens of collaborative brainstorming tools out there, from MindMeister to SpiderScribe and XMind, among others. Some are free, some are paid hosted services, nearly all make use of the cloud. However, not all of them are mobile ready and none of them are customized for your business’ workflow.

In a mobile-first world, this lack of customized mobile app solutions for collaborative creative sessions is an inconvenience at best, and a competitive liability at worst. But, why is mobility important when brainstorming? Why are brainstorming apps beneficial to your business?

Avoiding Group Think

There’s been a lot of talk about the negative effect of group think. Social psychologists even blame the Cuban Missile Crisis on the phenomenon, where a group of specialists are unable to think outside of the box. These otherwise intelligent people are prone to react in illogical ways when developing solutions to a problem.

With digital collaboration and brainstorming apps, the group isn’t in the same room. Instead, team members are open to a diversity of outside experiences while they engage in brainstorming activities. This allows for broader perspectives and increased out-of-the-box thinking.

Customized Communication

There are reasons why many people prefer text dialogue over a spoken one. Sometimes it is easier to get your words out through a text. Texting gives you time to consider what you want to say or what you want to add to a conversation. You can easily pick up where you left off. You get to scroll back if you missed something. Written dialogue is often more convenient for teams who work in different time zones, or for groups with so many people that holding the meeting in person or via phone or video call isn’t feasible.

Likewise, there are reasons why many people don’t like collaboration. Sometimes your idea is misinterpreted, or worse, your brilliant seed of an idea is credited to someone else. Sometimes in the midst of brainstorming collaboratively you (and the team) may lose a sense of direction and purpose. Keeping everyone on track isn’t always easy.

Digital collaboration using brainstorming apps provides the best of each scenario: Space for your own thoughts, a record of interactions, and a digital way for your ideas to be presented equally among all others. Apps create a level playing field and allow everyone to engage in the session in their own real-time.

Flexible, Integrated Solutions

Fortunately, brainstorming apps for Android and iOS are developed with an eye toward real-time collaboration, integrated services and easy to use interfaces. This means collaborators are no longer tied to desktop brainstorming tools.

However, some mobile apps can be limited compared to their desktop counterparts.

PC World writer Erez Zuckerman recommends Simple Mind for its mobile support, but for real-time collaboration he suggests MindMeister as a better option. Then there’s MindMap through Google Chrome, another free app that integrates with Google Drive. But like most free apps, users are constantly pressured to upgrade.

Upgrades are usually generic, across-the-board features that aren’t tailored to your business’ specific workflow and creative needs. When investing in full-suite apps like MindMeister and others, you are likely purchasing features your team will never use.

What Features are Most Important?

When developing a collaboration app for your team, consider cross-platform functionality. Cross-platform functionality is important so that all members of the group have access to the app.

  • Mind map diagrams. Pretty much all brainstorming apps make use of mind-mapping techniques. Ideas are put into clusters and branches. Users add branches, re-align branches and shape the idea as it progresses.
  • Nodes. Ideas themselves are captured in nodes. Nodes are easy to manipulate via drag-and-drop features.
  • Integration. You will want an app that integrates across devices, that shares files and offers real-time collaborative space.

To learn more about collaborative brainstorming apps and how to customize one for your team, please contact us.

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