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Brainstorming tools

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  • Brainstorming tools

    I am looking into buying a brainstorming tool such as MindMeister, the Brain or Mind Manager. Before doing so it would be great to get some feedback from other users as to which they consider the best and which works best for GTD users.

    Really would appreciate any advice!

    Kari Anne

  • #2
    Hi, Kari Anne:

    I use MindManager and am very pleased with it's functionality and usefulness. I use it to brainstorm on projects, to flesh out ideas, and to outline meeting agendas. I once tried to use it as the sole bucket for my projects but found it to be an extra step when managing my lists.

    GTDWorks

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    • #3
      Comparisons anyone?

      THanks for the input! Has anyone ever tried both MindManager and the Brain and could give me some of their reactions to the different programs?

      I have treide to search the web but have not found any really good comparisons.

      Thanks, Kari Anne

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Kari Anne View Post
        THanks for the input! Has anyone ever tried both MindManager and the Brain and could give me some of their reactions to the different programs?
        I have tried both. I am not currently using either.

        MindManager is essentially a visual outliner. The most natural structure for a map is a tree: a central organizing concept, with some number of branches, sub-branches, etc. Yes, it supports other kinds of links between nodes, but these are in addition to, not instead of, the tree structure. The end result will be readily exportable as linear text.

        The Brain is truly free-form. Each node can have many child, parent, and sibling nodes. You can recenter the plex (the company's term) around any node at any time, effectively changing the central concept on the fly. Because these connections are the whole point, it is difficult to export a Brain to any other format. At best, you'll get a slice centered on whatever was your central node at the time.

        Of the two, I found MindManager best for brainstorming associated with a single project. A well-defined project will have subtasks and milestones, a clear beginning and end. It will eventually fit into a treelike-structure, and MindManager provides many tools to help develop that structure.

        The Brain, in contrast, was more useful for more open-ended thinking, and for knowledge capture over time. It's better than MindManager for capturing lots of random ideas, then looking back and seeing what structure emerges.

        But, as I said, I'm no longer using either. I found that MindManager's pretty tools meant that I spent more time making maps look good than actually using them. Paper brainstorming is more productive for me. If I needed to share maps with others, though, or to maintain them over time, MindManager is the tool I'd use.

        The Brain, on the other hand... I want to like this program, but I find that the interface gets in the way. I can't see enough nodes at once, and I can't see enough detail about each node. That's a major problem, given that serendipity is the whole point of a program like this. I can't see enough at once to make the unexpected connections that I'm looking for. Instead, I'm using DevonNote (Mac only) for note capture these days: it's plain old boring text, but with AI features to find "items like this," and it exports to DevonThink (also Mac only), my main knowledge base.

        Hope this helps,

        Katherine

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        • #5
          Thanks Katherine!

          This was just the reply I was hoping to get. It has confirmed my intitial reactions; that the one is more freeform and the other more structured. The freefrom appeals to me - however, your reflections on the interface strikes a resonance with me.

          It would still be nice to get more in put from others.

          Thanks again Katherine for invauable thoughts.

          Kari Anne

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          • #6
            If it hasn't changed, you should be able to use a personal Brain for free. I'm not familiar with the advanced paid-for features, but you can get a general idea with the free version.

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