webmasterMarch 15, 2016March 15, 2016Not that many years ago, when your company or department wanted to hold a brainstorming session, it was a face-to-face affair that lasted 4-8 hours in duration. There were plenty of sticky notes, a whiteboard and a person designated to record all the thoughts and decisions made during that session – much of what was forgotten or shelved shortly after the session. Fast forward to 2016 and you will find a workforce that is all about using apps and technology to unfold the best ideas. With many individuals in different locations, time zones or just super busy, the old fashioned way doesn’t fit today’s working environment. So how do you facilitate collaboration? With the right technology tools, brainstorming sessions can go faster with real-time notetaking and easy consolidation of ideas; all while contributing to the process on a large screen. Technology Hardware for Brainstorming Although brainstorming has had a technological twist for a couple of years (i.e. iPad rentals used for mind mapping, whiteboards that capture notes), it has not been until this year that individuals could stand before a large monitor, tie-in remote attendees and share collaboration apps on a real-time basis. This hardware is called a Microsoft Surface Hub and it runs Windows 10 and Office 2016 just like your Surface Pro and laptop rental does. Which App to Use for Collaboration? Mischief This free or fee app allows users to brainstorm on the large screen with the use of the stylus pen included with the Surface Hub, which supports up to 3 pens and 100 simultaneous touch points and can allow maximum idea generation. Office 2016 Every document generated in Office 2016 can be shared with your team in the OneDrive cloud. This allows for maximum sharing of documents before, during and after the session. Concerned about cloud privacy on public domains like OneDrive and Google Drive? Add a budget line item for a cloud rental solution that has a higher degree of security and is scalable if you need more storage. Skype for Business You can bring 250 individuals into the brainstorming session via videoconferencing. As long as everyone is on Office 2016, you will see your contacts, online statuses, schedule future meetings and/or pull-in apps like Word and PowerPoint while you are talking. Etherpad This is a free, open sourced app that allows users to edit documents collaboratively in real-time. It is a basic text editor that is a good app for jotting down a lot of ideas and then, voting on the ones that resonate with the group. GroupZap Think of this app as an online whiteboard with sticky post-it notes. This app works well with the Surface Hub when a majority of your team is remote and a few are local. The ideas can be expressed, clustered and voted upon – all in a real-time environment. This app is web-based, so a fast and reliable Internet connection is essential to its success. Retrium This app allows individuals to brainstorm privately then share their ideas, group common ideas together, vote and create an action plan and track progress on those break- through thoughts. The Microsoft Hub can be a very effective offering when grouping, voting and prioritizing ideas. Hartford Technology Rental is Your Hub for Microsoft Products Interested in adding any of these technology tools to your next brainstorming session? Or is your organization is interested in renting a Microsoft Hub or Surface Pro? Please fill out our online quote request or give us a call at 888-520-5667 to receive a quote from us. Let us help you start collaborating with your team.