12 Jun 2012

Great brainstorming apps – but does brainstorming work?

What’s your favourite brainstorming tool? Tell us below.  As Jonah Lehrer recently pointed out the New Yorker, brainstorming, as a concept, hasn’t been around forever. In fact, in 1948 Madison-Avenue advertising man Alex Osborn invented the phrase in his best-selling book ‘Your Creative Power.’ While many of us might associate brainstorming with the notion of ideas floating in a cloud, Osborn’s definition was more war-like. He described a brainstorm as several people “using the brain to storm a creative problem – and doing so in commando fashion.” Interestingly, Jonah Lehrer’s point is that brainstorming, while popular, probably doesn’t work. Empirical tests of the practice show that people create more – and better – solutions to problems when working alone. That said, it’s hard to conclude that brainstorming should be discarded. It can be especially useful for generating creative ideas, or as part of any creative process – even if it’s a brainstorming session of one. Here are a few brainstorming and mind-mapping tools used by members of the Brennan IT team: WorkFlowy One of the fastest and most simple note-taking, brainstorming and collaboration tools on the web. Penultimate A great note-taking and brainstorming tool for iPad – recently acquired by Evernote. iThoughtsHD Another popular tool for iOS. MindNode Neat, easy-to-use mind mapping for iOS and Mac. Create visual “nodes” representing ideas, topics, tasks or a process. XMind For Windows, Linux, and Mac. It’s fast, intuitive and free to use. Does brainstorming work? What tools do you use? Comment below.