Tools: Name Generators, Whiteboards & Mind Mapping

By Katrina Manning on 10/3/16 5:12 PM

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How does the word “brainstorming” make you feel? Some people get excited about the prospect of throwing around ideas and coming up with something brilliant, while others seem to dread staring at a blank board all day in the conference room.

So, if your team is part of the latter group and tends to freeze up when it comes time to brainstorming, hook them up with some of these nifty tools to make your next session a breeze. As we dig about the internet looking for cool new tools we share some of them with you, so here are a few to consider.

Name Generators

So you’ve got a great idea for a product, company, blog, book or character but have no idea what to call it? Worry no more! Name generators are excellent tools that will help you get past that mental block.

  1. Name Robot. Name Robot is designed to help you name virtually anything, from a character in a book to a blog, or from a product to a company. Among its many features is “Wordshop,” where you can brainstorm new words based on language, rhyme scheme, anagram possibilities and more.
  2. Nominus.com There are many things to consider when coming up with a domain name, and Nominus is a tool that makes it easy to look at different keyword combinations and domain extensions, including new gTLDs (generic top level domains), helping you see which ones look best or sound the most memorable.

Real-time Whiteboards

One of the downsides of working with a remote team is the inability to gather around a whiteboard and explain things visually. Instead, you might have to draw up your idea and send it as an attachment, along with a lengthy email that tries to explain your thought process. Real-time whiteboards take the hassle out of remote work by letting your co-workers see your drawings as you make them and explain them verbally. They also let your co-workers take control of the whiteboard to add their own insights. If you struggle to manage multiple teams based out of different locations, real-time whiteboards could make all the difference.

  1. Deekit. This real-time whiteboard couldn’t be easier to use. All you have to do is set up a new whiteboard, invite everyone who needs to see it, and off you go. Deekit was originally designed with software startups in mind, but has since been used in a variety of ways, such as by educators to facilitate class-wide projects and discussions. There are multiple templates to choose from that will let you cut right to the chase.
  2. Sketch Together. Sketch Together makes it easy to initiate meetings or ongoing brainstorming sessions, since team members can look at the whiteboard at any time. Changes are automatically saved, and the whiteboard can be viewed on or offline. Sketch Together focuses on design and engineering teams working remotely, but it can be used for virtually any application.
  3. Ziteboard. Ziteboard stands apart from other real-time white boards by an ability to zoom in or out to scale the white board. It also integrates with Wordpress and Slack, and is available as Chrome extension. Ziteboard seems to be particularly popular among artists.
  4. Stormboard. Stormboard not only provides a space for online collaboration, but guides and facilitates that collaboration with built-in organizational tools. This real-time whiteboard is based on virtual sticky notes, unlike other whiteboards that provide a real-time sketch pad. The virtual sticky notes can be dragged and dropped anywhere on the board, and team members can comment on or vote on each one. This makes it perfect for SWOT analyses and other brainstorming sessions that focus on prioritizing tasks. Data can be exported to a spreadsheet or PDF as well, making it easy to put together reports.

Mind Mapping

Sometimes you just need a place to organize your ideas that is more efficient than email. That’s where virtual mind mapping tools come in handy. Mind mapping is a visual representation of ideas and how they are related to one another. And as the days of pen-and-paper continue to dwindle, digital tools are a welcome solution.

  1. Bubbl.us. This online mind mapping tool is intuitive and easy to use. As you add more bubbles or branches and move them around, the whole map automatically scales and adjusts; that saves you a lot of time just fiddling with the layout of your mind map instead of actually brainstorming! Bubbl.us works on desktops, tablets and mobile devices. As for what it can be used for, the sky’s the limit!
  2. Coggle is both a Chrome extension and a browser-based mind map. Best of all, its most useful features come ready-to-go in the free version. For companies who want a few extra perks, there is a paid version that includes a presentation mode and unlimited private mind maps. Coggle allows team members to collaborate in real time, comment on the mind maps and message each other. The sleek design of the mind maps also makes Coggle an exceptionally appealing brainstorming tool.

What did we miss? Let us know what your favorite brainstorming tools are in the comments below.

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