5 tools that make great lightning rods for your brainstorming sessions

Christopher Walken in Brainstorm (1983)
Credit: GIPHY

There’s nothing wrong with scrawling down thoughts using pen and paper, but that task gets complicated when you need to take into account the thoughts of colleagues who may be one desk over or thousands of miles away.

Rather than more emails and more haphazard Slack conversations, how about virtual whiteboards that allow you to really let loose with that crazy idea in your head?

With multiple team members involved, a brainstorming session can quickly turn into an unmanageable tempest. What’s essential is a tool to ground all the ideas flying around, guiding the creative energy into a useable storage like a lightning rod.

Brainstorming granola
Even something as simple as two folk brainstorming breakfast needs a little help…


Instead of post-it notes that unfurl at the end of the hour and disappear the next, Stormboard‘s virtual post-it notes will remain so you can quickly organize, discuss, and act. It’s a collaborative brainstorming tool with activity tracking that will tell you who came up with what and when, so you can get all caught up while you were away.


Organize your thoughts with Mind42. It’s a Web-based application so you can start mind mapping from the get-go. Its goal is to provide a fast and simple tool so you can make quick connections, and start exploring your ideas in a visual manner.


With over 4 million users and a few Fortune 100 companies, you’ll be in good company if you use MindJet. It’s a mind mapping tool that promotes “freeform thinking”. Simple and intuitive features like drag-and-drop make it easy to visualize and prioritize information. Use it in meetings to quickly create and organize strategic plans.

Kitty ruminations
Credit: Giphy


Visualize your ideas with Coggle, a tool for creating and sharing mind maps with a plethora of diagrams and charts customizable to fit your needs. Distill your thoughts during meetings, use Coggle to structure and organize them, and then share easily with colleagues.


Vienna-based MindNode is a mind mapping tool for Apple fans, backed with iCloud so you can get back to your awesome plans whenever and wherever you want. If you’re anything like me, you might get distracted by mind mapping presentation. MindNode doesn’t let that happen, putting the focus on your content so you don’t get bogged down in layout details.

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