There are many tools out there for doing mind-maps to collaboratively work with remote teams. This can help with coming up with research ideas and projects as well as collaborating through the research if there are remote workers or if you want everything kept online rather than on a physical whiteboard. Here are our top ten tools.

1. Mind Genius (www.mindgenius.com/): Single User Licences start from £147/$205. This programme enables the visualisation of mindmaps in different formats and the ability to create categories to help with clarification of ideas. It is possible to sync files with Microsoft Outlook for action plans and Gantt charts for planning projects.

2. OneNote (http://www.onenote.com/): This free download, it is a Microsoft Office product and works best with Microsoft applications such as Outlook and Excel. This tool allows mindmaps to be easily created. It is possible to attach files to the mindmap, write notes in free form, clip web and picture ideas and collaborate across the team.

3. XMind 8 (www.xmind.net/): This tool has a fresh workspace user interface, slide-based presentation, presentation mode, clip art to input onto mind mapsand templates.  In brainstorming mode, ideas can be themes into groups in the Idea Fatory and evaluated and organised. It has features for businesses such as Fishbone Chart, Matrix and Timeline to track milestones and can convert mind maps into Gantt charts. XMind links to Evernote and files can be synced in the XMind Cloud for easier access across multiple PCs. In addition, mind maps can be shared on social media platforms. X Mind 8 is available for free, XMind 8 Plus for £61/$79 and XMind 8 Pro at £76/$99.

4. Coggle (www.coggle.it): Coggle is free for occasional use, £4/$5 for personal and professional use and £6/$8 for organisational use. It is an online tool that allows notes to be taken in meetings, devise mindmaps in a beautiful way and share these with others. The tool allows for real-time collaboration and has images and diagrams to use. It is possible to join branches of mind maps and create loops as well as being able to have a number of starting points.

5. MindMeister (https://www.mindmeister.com/): This is free for the first 3 mindmaps with the ability to share, collaborate and import. It has the option to upgrade to Pro at £8/$11 per month or Business at £12/$16 per month. The personal tool includes unlimited mind maps, files and images that can be attached, export images and PDF, advanced printing and support. The upgrades includes these features and include other options such as having multiple users and multiple admins. This online tool allows users to brainstorm, take notes, project plan and manage, produce ‘stunning presentations’ and manage meetings.

6. StormBoard (https://www.stormboard.com/): This is free for 1 administrator for unlimited mindmaps with up to 5 other users ‘per storm’. This software, like MindMeister and Coggle, allows mindmaps to be produced in real-time. StormBoard allows users to vote, create summary reports, comment on ideas and use the software on a mobile to name but a few of its features. There are options to upgrade as a startup (£4/$5), business (£6/$8) and enterprise (price on request).

7. Mindomo (https://www.mindomo.com/): Mindomo is free for up to 3 maps with the upgrade from £23/$36 a year for unlimited mindmaps, 1GB storage, iPad and Android sync and a range of export formats. Like other mind map tools, this tool has presentation modes, the ability to use maps online and has mind map templates and real-time collaboration.

June 2017 Update: There are new tools that have emerged:

8. Deekit (https://www.deekit.com/): Deekit enables users to work in real-time, share and collaborate and add notes and images with ‘stunning visual templates’, this can be used on any device.  Premium features include shape library, add any media, folders and managing access. There is a free option for up to 2 people and 4 boards, £4/$5 for individuals and freelancers and £5/$7 bigger groups and teams of any size with unlimited boards and members and 10GB of storage.

9. IdeaFlip (https://ideaflip.com): This is a web application that is used to develop and communicate ideas but without rigid structures that mind mapping tools may have. It enables the user to import raw materials such as webpage shots and PDFs. This tool is £7/$9 for a basic package, £12/$16 per month or £127/$165 for the year.

10. MindMup 2 (https://drive.mindmup.com/): This tool is integrated with Google Apps and enables the user to take notes and access ideas anywhere as this is an online tool. Maps are edited in real-time and team documents can be connected. This is based on opensource mindmap editor and is a free tool.

With these tools, not only can there be visualisation of concepts and ideas but these can be shared and used to collaborate with others. As a researcher, mindmap software is useful for remote working and collaboration.

For knowledge management, if there is a lot of idea generation, Bloomfire may be of interest to you as it goes beyond mind mapping and brainstorming.

This blog post was updated in June 2017.

About the Author Formalised Curiosity

Chloe is a freelance researcher, analyst, bid-writer and project manager. With a background in sociology and business, she blogs about research, business, technology and social sciences.

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