How many times has this happened to you? Your team has a brainstorming session, and then a week later someone mentions an idea that would have been the most fantabulous solution imaginable. An idea that would have made everyone scream, “That’s it!!!”
Why couldn’t you have captured that same idea during the initial brainstorm?
When you need to move at the speed of business, imagine the strategic advantage your company would have if it could connect the dots faster in developing new ideas, strategies and solutions for your clients and prospective clients. This alone could be the difference between getting your next project approved or shelved, or between winning your next client pitch or sitting on the sidelines.
One way to ensure you consistently develop amazing ideas in your brainstorming sessions is to use mind mapping software. Mind mapping allows you to create a visual representation of your ideas. It is the ideal brainstorming solution for professionals who need to leave no stone unturned when conjuring up ideas for sales presentations, websites, advertising, marketing and more.
As part of Stratabeat’s series of marketing software reviews, here are the top mind mapping software tools to fire up your team in time for your next brainstorming session.
Considered by many to be the best online mind mapping application available, MindMeister boasts a robust yet easy-to-use interface that allows for real-time team collaboration and a host of options depending on your pricing tier selection, which includes a free basic account and three paid options. Also accessible in iOS and Android.
MindManager is directed at larger teams who want to brainstorm with more than just notes and images. MindJet, the company behind MindManager, boasts over two million users, including heavy hitters like WalMart, Coca Cola and IBM. Adding hyperlinks and markers is easy as you customize the look and feel of your collaborative mind map. Files integrate and can be saved to most Microsoft Office and Apple productivity tools. Apps available for iOS and Android.
Millions of people use XMind, which is an open source, downloadable application for both Mac and PC. Free and paid options are available for this stunning product, which works well with Microsoft Office and XMind’s new strategic partner, Evernote. It is a robust brainstorming solution, but there are limitations that may cause you to look elsewhere. (No support for Mac Apps; not available for iOS or Android; payment only through a PayPal account.) If you can live with these limitations, you’re left with a beautiful, slick, effective piece of mind mapping software.
The MindNode application is exclusively for Apple products, with a desktop app as well as apps for iPhone and iPad. More suited for the single user, this is an easy-to-use application that creates simple, efficient and colorful mind maps using notes and images. If you’re a commuter and you do your best brainstorming on the train to and from work, the iOS app for iPad will be your new best friend.
From planning to building business strategies, and from assigning tasks to monitoring progress, Mindomo is an effective mind mapping tool that borders on being a complete project management solution. One great aspect of Mindomo is the included templates and smart guides to expedite your brainstorming and monitoring of ideas through to execution. Mindomo is available for all of the most popular platforms.
Bubbl.us thinks its competitors have overthought the process of mind mapping and bloated it with so many options that they become a distraction to the user. If you are a fan of the KISS principle, there are few mind mapping tools that rival Bubbl.us in their simplicity. It gets the job done well enough, without any bells or whistles. Available for iOS users. Sorry, Android fans, nothing for you yet.
This may be the one mind mapping tool that goes above and beyond without losing its purpose of delivering beautiful, effective mind maps. iMindMap has a trick up its sleeve, and it’s brilliant. Rather than simply using the typical design that starts with a central concept and branches out to other ideas, this software offers a corkboard and sticky note view option for those skeumorphic design fans who prefer to move notes around quickly. With just a click, the corkboard image transforms into your mind map (or vice versa). Works with Mac and PC, iOS and Android, and syncs across all devices. The one drawback? No free option, although they do offer a free trial.
Coggle is ideal for single users who want an easy-to-use, free, mind mapping software tool. All you need is a Google account to sign in and get started with this app that works simply for brainstorming, with color-coding and image options available. Finished projects can be stored in Google Drive or downloaded as a PDF file.
SpiderScribe is all about mind mapping in the cloud. The tool lets you organize your ideas by connecting notes, files, calendar events, and other brainstorming elements in free-form maps. Not only that, but you can also collaborate and share your mind maps online. An added bonus to this software is that you can create stencil shapes by hand and add them to your mind maps.
Stormboard is a real-time, online collaboration and sticky note whiteboarding solution perfect for brainstorming and organizing ideas. Users can not only add their ideas through their own device, but everyone on your team can comment on others’ ideas, enabling your team to debate and refine ideas all within the mind mapping platform itself. Stormboard makes prioritization easy, as users can vote on their favorite ideas, enabling you to quickly see which ideas have the greatest support. The software is offered under free and paid plans.
As you can see, there is a wide spectrum of mind mapping software available. Finding the one that works best for you may take some trial and error. In the end, though, using mind mapping software will give you and your team the best chance of seeing the full potential in all of your projects, while chasing away those woulda-coulda-shoulda blues.
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