Generate Ideas

These programs are useful in research of all types - gathering, storing, sorting, selecting, organizing, generating data, hypotheses, concepts.

Name Comments
Axon2007

What it Does: Organize and process ideas in multiple ways.
Runs on: PC only
Price: $135
Uniqueness: It's one of only a few tools to provide this combination of functions
Best Feature: The extraordinary versatility of the program
Worst Feature: The unfamiliar (but logical) and sometimes awkward interface
Learning Time: Hours --- Export/Import: Good
My use: Regular --- Confidence in Evaluation: Good
Comment: "The Axon Idea Processor provides a specially designed environment that supports and empowers the thinking processes. Objects and Links form the basic entities for idea processing. These entities are displayed in a multi-level, 3D workspace." It's true.
Generating note: Many intriguing semi-automatic idea generators.
CmapTools

What it Does: Concept relationships - Useful in group situation
Runs on: PC, Mac, Linux
Free
Uniqueness: It's one of only a few tools to provide this combination of functions
Best Feature: Public server allowing group projects.
Worst Feature: Initially difficult to see how powerful it is.
Learning Time: Hours --- Export/Import: Medium
My use: Infrequent --- Confidence in Evaluation: Good
Comment: I have used it quite successfully in several courses. It was particularly helpful in promoting class interaction.
Freemind

What it Does: Relationship diagrams - brainstorming etc.
Runs on: PC, Mac, Linux
Free, Open Source
Best Feature: Very rapid development of a set of concept relationships
Worst Feature: Cannot add much text or images.
Learning Time: Half Hour --- Export/Import: Medium
My use: Infrequent --- Confidence in Evaluation: Medium
Comment: A simple but elegant tool for organizing a bunch of ideas. Ideal at the brainstorming phase of a project. Quicker to use than cMap, but not as powerful.
Review & Comments about Freemind in Academic Tools Blog

 

 

Update: 2006-11-26