Brainstorm collaboratively with Stormboard

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Stormboard is a new web app for collaborative brainstorming. It’s based on sticky notes and multi-section boards. While not my ideal brainstorming format, it’s very effective for quickly getting ideas out, organizing them and developing them. It’s ideal for remote teams who are used to using whiteboards, and comes with SSL-encrypted connections even at the free subscription level.

You start an idea in an entry field in the left column. When you hit enter, it’s added to the board as a sticky. You can change the sticky’s color, comment on it, vote on them and quickly copy and move them between boards.

You can also add photos and videos as ideas with the same set of features. Paid subscribers can also add “stacks,” which you can double click and dive into to create brainstorms within larger brainstorming sessions.

There’s a built-in chat in addition to commenting on individual ideas. You can filter ideas by color, votes, date added, and new comments. You can also quickly see which ideas you added to the pile, and which ones you’ve voted on.

Paid subscriptions also allow import of Excel, CSV and text files to your Stormboards. Starting at the $5/month subscription level, you also get basic and advanced reporting and basic support. You don’t get Stacks, which I consider the most valuable tool, until the $10/month level, along with export to CSV.

The interface is nice and does allow for rapid brainstorming of ideas. I find that re-organizing ideas is a bit tedious as you can only move one idea at a time. I would love it if I could drag (or even shift-click) to select multiple ideas and move them or perform other actions like converting them to a stack. That doesn’t seem to be possible at this point.

Turns out you can select multiple notes by shift-dragging. I just had the wrong combos. If you have a paid account, you can also create stacks just by dragging notes together, which is exactly what I was hoping for.

As I said at the beginning, sticky notes and whiteboards aren’t my personal favorite for brainstorming. I prefer mind maps where it’s really easy to organize and branch ideas as they pop up (see MindMeister for collaborative mind mapping). However, Stormboard is a great take on the idea, and has the potential to be a powerful tool for teams.