5 Social Technology Based Divergence Tools for Brainstorming

29 Jul

The humble brainstorm… It’s process is as simple as a conversation. I ask a question and you respond openly, talk as much as you want, and be free in your thoughts. Remember, no judging yourself or what is said. The conversational nature of the brainstorm has given it a flexibility that allows it to be modified in many ways. This post is a quick overview of a five popular technologies that you can use to conduct the divergence side of a brainstorm… some of which you might have never heard of before. Most here can handle the full brainstorming process. If you know of another technology, please leave a comment.

FACEBOOK.COM

Every so often, Rosie will raise a silly question to her followers and inspire laughter. In this post below, she asked “What are the legitimate reasons to wake up a dentist at 2am?”

The status message in Facebook can handle a brainstorm as demonstrated here.

The status message in Facebook can handle a brainstorm as demonstrated here.

I responded “Tooth fairy mugging.” She prompted her audience with a provocative question and successfully received  answers that cycled through the alphabet. Her method easily handles quick asynchronous responses as well as allows others to vote with the “LIKE” button. Respondents can leave links and long replies that explain their message. The trade-offs, however, are that only your “friends” can respond and that the response is based upon how well people like you and interest in the topic of the status message.

VARK.com

This web site is home to a new google technology that allows you to hold the conversation with a complete stranger. Through gchat or the site, you can ask a question from a self identified expert and receive a response in 5 minutes.

Behind the virtual aardvark of vark.com is an artificial intelligence and machine based learning script to navigates your question to a self identified expert on its network. It works.

Behind the virtual aardvark of vark.com is an artificial intelligence and machine based learning script to navigates your question to a self identified expert on its network. It works.

The AI treats interactions with others with courtesy by asking their experts whether they want to answer the question. When the expert choose to respond, you will receive an email containing their response and be able to rate their response.

TWITTER (It can do everything, including monitor your energy usage.)

With some modification of your process, twitter can be used to gather responses in a manner much like Facebook, but without the ability to vote.

With some modification of your process, twitter can be used to gather responses in a way much like Facebook, but without the ability to vote.

WAVE

In its reinvention of email, Google designed Wave to be a way to manage documents across teams. The technology is  new and occasionally lags under heavy usage. After its steep learning curve, Wave is the most powerful of the free social technology tools shared here. The developers’ extensions have enabled bots to clean mistakes and typos, enable a wave to offer videoconferencing ability, and polls. With maturation of Wave, those capabilities will become more diverse to meet your needs in running the brainstorm.

The king of the virtual brainstorm, Wave offers extensions and controls that can be used within a company or shared publicly. When it started, 250 journalists converged in a brainstorm like fashion to gather data around a FDA hearing. The data were collected live and used in reports after the meeting.

The king of the virtual brainstorm, Wave offers extensions and controls that can be used within a company or shared publicly. When it started, 250 journalists converged in a brainstorm like fashion to gather data around a FDA hearing. The data were collected live and used in reports after the meeting.

WordPress (yes, a blog)

At first blush, a blog is a blog. It doesn’t seem possible that a blog can be modified for a brainstorm. During those situations when an answer needs some detail, the blog itself can turn into a place where writers can turn a post into a response to a prompt and use categories and tags to help guide others to discover their idea. With careful planning and design of plug-ins, a developer can modify WordPress to handle the full problem solving cycle.

A blog can be modified to handle the brainstorm. It changes how the idea can be presented and demands more deliberation in its delivery.

A blog can be modified to handle the brainstorm. It changes the idea's presentation and demands more deliberation in its delivery.

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