13 Best Brainstorming Tools & Apps to Bring Your Ideas to Life
In fast-paced meetings, it’s easy to forget promising ideas that simply pass through the discussion.
Taking effective meeting notes definitely helps, but not as much as powerful brainstorming software to take your ideas from concept through creation.
These tools are excellent for broadening your approach to brainstorming, encouraging creativity, and revealing new project planning methods that may just change the way you work altogether.
This blog will highlight our 13 favorite brainstorming software including their pros, cons, best features, pricing, and reviews. 💪🏼
What Are the Benefits of Brainstorming Tools?
While brainstorming software may seem like a niche investment, its benefits actually span several use cases.
Coming up with new ideas is never a bad thing, in fact, it is encouraged!
Whether you’re looking to change the way to tackle a project, a different snack to spice-up your day, or a more functional layout for your beloved home office—we live for the thrill of discovering something new.
And TBH, the old-fashioned pen and paper simply aren’t enough to develop those new ideas anymore.
Brainstorming software is designed to help you express your ideas by capturing them digitally using proven brainstorming techniques.
One of the best and most productive brainstorming strategies is mind mapping.
Like a highly visual string of thoughts, mind maps are an excellent tool for fleshing out details, multi-step processes, and project plans. Think of it almost like a family tree where one task connects to the next, branching out from one clear starting point or goal.
Plus, you can create in multiple ways! Even on a digital whiteboard. 🎨
Pretty neat, huh? 🙂
But the big question still remains—who uses brainstorming software?
The short answer: everyone.
Brainstorming software and project management software often share some similar features. Collaboration, creativity, structure, and productivity are key—but that doesn’t mean you have to be a project manager to reap the benefits of brainstorming software.
Writers, students, teachers, designers, and marketers all depend on the brainstorming process in their fields. And while those processes may look different when it comes to the details, the tools and techniques they use are almost identical.
So, let’s get into it—what are the best brainstorming tools on the market ATM?
13 Best Brainstorming Software for Any Use Case
Before investing in any new software, it’s important to first understand your own needs.
Here are 13 of our favorite brainstorming software, plus, their key features, benefits, limitations, pricing, and reviews, to help you make the best possible choice for your unique situation.
ClickUp is the go-to, all-in-one productivity platform for teams of any size to centralize their work and collaborate on new ideas. Its ever-growing list of highly functional features includes ClickUp’s highly visual Mind Maps and ClickUp Whiteboards—perfect for quickly developing new ideas into detailed roadmaps, and acting on those plans instantly.
And we haven’t even told you the best part yet.
You can convert any shape on your Mind Map and Whiteboard directly into a ClickUp task, making it easier than ever to start managing your ideas in the same place that they happened.
Plus, ClickUp integrates with over 1,000 other work tools including G Suite, Dropbox, and GitHub, making your Mind Maps that much more valuable to your team from the get-go.
- Dynamic ClickUp Docs for creating sharable guides, blogs, and wikis
- Share updates, links, action items, and more with ClickUp’s an-app chat and threaded comments
- Over 15 unique ways to visualize your work including Gantt, Calendar, List, Timeline view, and more
- Manage projects from any device or window with ClickUp’s mobile app and Chrome Extension
- Take your Mind Map further by linking tasks, drawing task relationships, and sharing options
- Advanced diagramming features with Blank Mode, ClickUp Whiteboards, and its many templates
- Quick to set up and easy to learn its drag-and-drop interface
- Feature-rich Free Forever Plan
- Tons of collaboration tools to align the entire team
- Fully customizable features adapt to any work style and scale as you grow
- Over 1,000 integrations to streamline your workflow
- Not all views are available on the mobile app (yet!)
- There can be a bit of a learning curve adjusting to so many powerful features
- Free Forever: Whiteboards, Mind Maps, unlimited tasks and members, 100MB of storage, and more
- Unlimited ($5 per member, per month): Unlimited storage, unlimited integrations, unlimited Dashboards
- Business ($12 per member, per month): Unlimited teams, custom exporting, advanced public sharing
- Business Plus ($19 per member, per month): Custom role creation, custom permissions, increased automations
- Enterprise (contact sales for pricing): Enterprise API, guided onboarding, dedicated success manager
- G2: 4.7/5 (4,510+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (2,270+ reviews)
Miro is a collaborative digital whiteboard software for remote teams to create mind maps, org charts, and roadmaps on a single, infinite canvas. It is helpful for product developers, remote teams, and even UX researchers who may work asynchronously on large projects.
Miro integrates with over 70 applications to broaden its capabilities with tools to create surveys, track tasks on your board, embed documents, and increase file storage.
- Hundreds of pre-made templates for flowcharts, mind maps, and more
- Built-in video and chat features
- Zoom into specific areas on your whiteboard in Miro’s present mode
- Video call with the team from your board
- Folder organization to keep track of whiteboards
- Highly visual and easy to use
- Multiple collaboration tools directly from your board
- Easily integrates with other services
- Board owners are unable to give editing access
- Limited features in the free plan and pricey paid plan options
- It can be a bit overwhelming if you’re new to digital whiteboards
- Team: $8 per member, per month
- Business: $16 per member, per month
- Enterprise: Contact for pricing
- G2: 4.8/5 (3,670+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (710+ reviews)
Lucidchart is a digital diagramming tool for businesses looking to brainstorm and visualize complex systems or structures. As with other popular whiteboarding tools, users can create detailed mind maps in Lucidchart using its many shapes, templates, and drag-and-drop functionality.
- Automated layout for quickly creating data-driven diagrams
- Over 500 mind map templates
- A vast library of shapes to simply drag and drop onto your mind map
- A wide variety of templates
- It generates entries that can be seamlessly integrated
- Import data from popular apps including Zapier, Excel, and Salesforce
- Limited offline functionality
- Outdated-looking interface
- Limited free version
- Individual: Starting as low as $7.95
- Team: Starting as low as $9 per user
- Enterprise: Contact for pricing
- G2: 4.5/5 (670+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (1,200+ reviews)
Check out these Lucidchart Alternatives!
Infinity is a project management software with multiple customizable views to develop ideas. The collaboration features built into Infinity help teams take new concepts beyond the brainstorming phase with calendars, tables, Gantt charts, lists, and columns to manage data together.
- Multiple project views to help your ideas take shape
- Custom attributions to add context to your ideas
- Workspace can organize and store data easily
- The hierarchy system helps break down projects into a mind map-like structure
- Multiple options to easily share your projects
- Several pre-made templates
- No free plan
- Limited features to make the most of Infinity’s many project views
- Limited integrations
- Limited permissions and personal settings
- Duo (two members): Basic starting at $99, can upgrade to Pro for $149
- Team (five members): Basic starting at $199, can upgrade to Pro for $299
- Startup (10 members): Basic starting at $299, can upgrade to Pro for $399
- Business (25 members): Basic starting at $499, can upgrade to Pro for $699
- Company (50 members): Basic starting at $999, can upgrade to Pro for $1,299
- Unlimited (unlimited members): Basic starting at $1,999, can upgrade to Pro for $2,499
- Enterprise: Custom pricing
- G2: 4.6/5 (10+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.8/5 (10+ reviews)
MindMeister is a mind mapping tool to organize your ideas and boost your creativity in brainstorming sessions. The software automatically aligns nodes, making creating mind maps quick and easy. It allows creative thinking while helping users to collaborate in real-time, take notes, brainstorm ideas, and plan projects.
- Multiple themes with styles, colors, and formatting options
- Full-screen presentation mode
- Comments feature for team collaboration
- Diagramming tools
- Customizable mind map themes
- Multiple exporting options
- Simple to learn
- Limited integrations
- Limited features on the free plan
- No tracking features to follow through on your ideas
- Basic plan: Free
- Personal plan: Starting at $4.99 per month
- Pro plan: Starting at $8.25 per month
- Business plan: Starting at $12.49 per month
- G2: 4.4/5 (20+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (220+ reviews)
Check out these MindMeister Alternatives!
WiseMapping is a free brainstorming software that centers on mind mapping in public and private workspaces. It is a web-based software that allows users to create complex mind maps.
- Text style and formatting
- Multiple sharing and exporting options
- Several features specific to educators and classroom use
- Drag and drop functionality
- The option of either a collaborative or personal workspace
- Free for personal use
- Heavy emphasis on educational use cases
- Focused on idea development through mind maps
- Brainstorming features are limited to mind maps
- Lacks real-time collaborative editing
- Designed for classrooms rather than project or product managers
WiseMapping is free for personal use and offers a free trial for team use. Contact WiseMapping for more detailed pricing information.
- G2: 4.3/5 (8 reviews)
- Capterra: N/A
Mindly allows you to create unique digital mind maps to capture ideas, brainstorm, plan projects, or prepare for meetings.
- Passcode protection to access your mind maps
- Custom color schemes and map elements
- Visual clipboard for reorganizing ideas and styling options
- Multiple export options
- Accessible on multiple devices
- Great for creating a visual hierarchy of ideas
- Limited features in the free version
- No task or management features
- Limited integrations
Mindly offers a free option, but pricing for its full version varies based on your device.
- G2: N/A
- Capterra: N/A
Coggle is an intuitive digital mind mapping and flowcharting software for planning processes and breaking down ideas. For mind map beginners, it is easy to get the hang of, but the software may be limiting for more seasoned users looking to plan complex projects.
- Collaborative drawing and real-time editing
- Annotate your mind map with floating text, media, and images
- Saved edit history of all changes
- Auto-arranging branches
- Convenient sharing via URL
- Intuitive interface with branches that auto-arrange for fast drafting
- Multiple ways to link related topics together on one map
- Mind maps on Coggle’s free version are automatically public
- Few other brainstorming tools besides mind maps
- No mobile app
- Free Forever
- Awesome: Starting at $5 per month
- Organization: Starting at $8 per member, per month
- G2: 4.4/5 (5+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.6/5 (30+ reviews)
Scapple is a brainstorming software that provides users with a digital canvas to write their ideas and get back to them later. Think of it as a virtual notebook for jotting down quick ideas, sentences, and notes for when you’re on the go. Ideal for creatives like songwriters, writers, and literary professionals, Scapple is most often used for making to-do lists and creating simple mind maps with arrows, text bubbles, and shapes.
- Connect notes on Scapple with its drag and drop interface
- Group notes based on shapes and backgrounds
- Organize notes of related ideas in a word cloud-style way
- Data import and export features
- Easy to use and quick to learn
- Simple and clean interface
- No free trial and paid plans are pricey
- No support for mobile use
- It May be too simple for complex ideas and projects
- Scapple offers a 30-day free trial
- Standard Licence: For macOS and Windows, $18
- Educational Licence: For macOS and Windows, $14.40
- G2: 4.5/5 (2+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (150+ reviews)
Stormboard is a digital whiteboard solution for remote teams to collaborate, conduct meetings, and monitor projects. Like a bulletin board accessible on virtually any device, Stormboard has several visual elements like sticky notes, images, links, and presentation features to jog your creativity during brainstorming sessions.
- Idea management features like folders and task priorities
- Navigation panel to hone in on specific areas of your board
- Project tracking and backlog management
- Highly visual and interactive
- Tons of templates
- Mobile and desktop access
- Limited free plan, especially for mid-sized teams
- Tons of features can take a while to learn
- Personal: Free
- Startup: $5 per user, per month
- Business: $10 per user, per month
- Enterprise: $16.67 per user, per month
- G2: 4.3/5 (20+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (30+ reviews)
Conceptboard is a digital whiteboard tool for teams to brainstorm and develop new ideas together, with clients, groups, and external partners as if they are in the same room.
Add style to your board with shapes, sticky notes, drawings, and media, then present your ideas with collaboration features like live pointers, video conferencing, and screen sharing.
- Various visual styling options
- Customizable pre-made templates
- Share your board with a password-protected link
- Clean and intuitive interface
- Video and audio calling and screen sharing
- Few features to manage ideas beyond the brainstorming phase
- Limited text editing tools
- Premium: $6 per user, per month
- Business: $9.50 per user, per month
- Enterprise: Contact for pricing, minimum 250 licenses
- G2:4.5/5 (40+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.6/5 (30+ reviews)
Mindnode is a digital brainstorming app for organizing, capturing, and sharing new ideas in the form of a mind map. Mindnode makes it easy for users to express their thoughts visually and establish connections between different ideas.
- Choose to capture your ideas as text or as an image
- Share documents publicly through the MyMindNode service
- Clean interface
- Easy to use
- Limited templates and icons to choose from
- Only allows basic editing in Mindnode’s free version
- Not ideal for complex projects or ideas
Mindnode offers free basic editing. To access Mindnode on your iPad, iPhone, or Mac, you’ll need the paid plan which starts at $2.49 per month per user.
- G2: 4.2/5 (30+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (10+ reviews)
Ayoa is a mind mapping software with productivity tools like kanban boards, whiteboards, instant messaging, and task management. It is suitable for users who want a visual way to stay on top of tasks. The platform allows you to invite collaborators to work in real time and allows users to communicate easily with their team members.
- Collaborative whiteboards
- Real-time collaboration and chat tools
- Public mind map sharing
- It is easy to use
- Tasks can be viewed in different ways
- The interface can look a bit busy
- Free trial: Seven days
- Mind Map: Starting at $10 per user, per month
- Task: Starting at $10 per user, per month
- Ultimate: Starting at $13 per user, per month
- G2: 4.4/5 (50+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5(200+ reviews)
Use Brainstorming Software for Your Next Brainstorming Session
Brainstorming software should help you think big, get creative, and put your ideas in motion. While there are tons of tools that benefit a limited set of use cases, you should look for the platform that will help you push beyond your current situation.
AKA, look for ClickUp. 🤓
Number one on this list and in our hearts, ClickUp is the only software with built-in Whiteboards and Mind Maps that can turn your ideas into actionable tasks.
Sign up for ClickUp for free, forever, and uplevel your brainstorming processes to new heights. 🏔