Can anyone recommend some brainstorming software?
June 6, 2008 7:26 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend some brainstorming software?

When I'm working at my computer I seem to get inspiration and ideas for various projects I'm working on. Now, rather ther than just letting them fly out of my head, I would like to record them.

Is there any good software out there for this?

(ps: I've tried Mindjet, but would like to try something else)
posted by jacobean to Technology (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Notepad. You don't need anything fancy to write down an idea, just a bit of text. If you need something more complicated (for example, you need a picture), use Word instead.
posted by DanW at 7:44 AM on June 6, 2008

I get a lot of mileage out of ZuluPad, which is personal wiki software. It's well-written and quite efficient; being able to cross-link things helps me a lot because I'm often working on projects that are unrelated but suddenly crosslinked connections start popping up.

I have ZP Pro, but all that does is add some bells and whistles; the main draw for me was being able to upload and download the ZP file to a central server so I could tinker at work as well as at home, but after a certain file size it's stopped working on the Mac at work. I guess that's my caveat.

Other wikiware might do the job just as well, but I stumbled across Zulu first. My main page is basically a clearinghouse of broad project categories (comic scripts / short fiction / board games / Web design / journalism) that link into main pages for these categories, with each item in the category being a link to its OWN page, and so on down the line. Where it gets cool is when you start crosslinking: I have a comic I'm working on that is also a board game and Web site, and this software has really helped me start cross-pollinating the various things I enjoy to great effect.
posted by Shepherd at 7:56 AM on June 6, 2008

Thinking Rock seems to be popular (based on Lifehacker polls).

You could use Twitter if you don't mind sharing the ideas with the world. Or you could send them as direct messages that way.

I use Sandy for that type of thing. Not what it was designed for, but it does it well.
posted by theichibun at 8:16 AM on June 6, 2008

I'll add a plug for outlining software (like OmniOutliner on the Mac) -- if you're like me and process in outline form.
posted by rdn at 8:25 AM on June 6, 2008

I'm a fan of TiddlyWiki.
posted by stungeye at 9:00 AM on June 6, 2008

Is there anything in particular you would like the software to do? If not, writing it down manually can be adequate. I just keep one of those mini-notepads on me at all times. Other people just take a index card with them every day. The index card thing can be nice because you can lay them all out in front of you and move them around as the need may be.

I would also suggest just regular NotePad or a Wiki, especially if your ideas are complex or might need to cross reference each other.
posted by Nattie at 9:19 AM on June 6, 2008

Look for mind mapping software.

FreeMind is one. ConceptDraw MindMap 5 is another.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 9:25 AM on June 6, 2008

I asked a closely related question previously and got some excellent answers.

I was interested in noting the thoughts swiftly as they flitted in and returning to work with just a tiny ripple of disruption. Privacy was an issue with me. I didnt get around to implementing any of the suggestions, I have a lots of projects on the go.

So I use note pad which I have shortcutted to the F10 key. I then periodically cut and paste the contents into a gmail.
posted by therubettes at 9:25 AM on June 6, 2008

Freemind is a mindmapping software that can be great to visualise your ideas. If you are into writing ideas I recommend you have a look at Scrivener .
posted by Baud at 9:28 AM on June 6, 2008

Seconding Scrivener -- I use it all the time.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:41 AM on June 6, 2008

If you are on a Mac and looking for a mind-mapping soft I'd definitely recommend taking MindNode for a spin. It's Leopard only but it's very beautiful, uncluttered and easy to use. Freemind definitely looks bloated and not native enough on Mac.
posted by the_dude at 9:54 AM on June 6, 2008

Take a look at Tinderbox, too.
posted by RogerB at 10:37 AM on June 6, 2008

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