Yet another feature request from me... sorry TB team, hope it's not too much asking.

The Brain is a great tool to collect, store and categorize information but, IMO, it lacks more functionality to explore and extract insights from the stored information. This is a way to do it.

Over a couple of years, I have built a large brain with information that I collect from many different sources. It includes hundreds of attachments, links to sites, notes taken during on-line presentations, ideas to research. The brain is used to categorize and describe dozens of vendors, products and functionality, as well as use cases, problems and success stories. It is also the source for my research writing.

Often, I need to do a bit of personal brainstorming to prepare a new document or presentation. Usually, I create a new Idea thought and try to connect to existing thoughts that might have relevant information for my brainstorming process... the result is usually a total mess:

- I get rubbish ideas mixed up with relevant ideas and curated information.
- I can't fully explore my thought process because I am afraid of damaging the existing brain information structure.
- I can't try new options because I will lose whatever I have already, and if I try to copy it somewhere else, to do it again in a new way, exploring a new idea, it gets very confusing or I lose context

Why? Because TB is not able to isolate what is structured and curated information that I have stored in the brain, from a brainstorm process that is only useful to address a specific question.

What are Brainstorms and how could this feature help?

We could have the ability to create a kind of virtual brain inside an existing brain (the Brainstorm), with new thoughts that would only be visible inside the Brainstorm (local), and links to existing thoughts (global).

From the brainstorm we would see and interact with all that - the local and global thoughts and links, but from the main brain, there would be no sign of it. Meaning that this would not mess up with the curated information in the brain, although we could build very complex structures inside the brainstorm.

We would reuse global features such as types and tags but we could introduce local classification too - only meaningful for a specific brainstorm.

The brainstorm would give us the flexibility to explore new connections, link thoughts in a different way, create local thoughts with notes and attachments without affecting the overall brain.

Each brain could contain several brainstorms that could be open on different tabs, side by side with the main brain.

Also, there would be a way to catalog, filter, search for brainstorms (a single brain can hold dozens or hundreds of brainstorms) and also inside the brainstorms, like we search and work on a regular brain. In fact, Brainstorms could just be special thoughts with a collapse and/or hide function, that would sit inside the brain and would allow us to navigate in an isolated space.

We should have the option to only see the brainstorm content, filtering everything outside it - like an isolated virtual brain.

There should be options to make content from a brainstorm available and visible to the brain holding the brainstorm. Or maybe even have the possibility to make it all part of the brain - transform the brainstorm into regular thoughts, visible and accessible from the brain.

BTW, this would be  different from creating a second brain and linking it to the main brain. In a brainstorm we don't lose context. We are inside the brain and can easily and quickly link to all its information and use its classifications. 


Use Cases:
This could be used to build custom mindmaps, for example, reusing existing thoughts stored in the brain, to explore a new idea.

Would be useful to structure a paper that we want to write or a presentation.

Could be used to prepare a filtered view of the brain to share with someone else - no access to the global brain.

Would help prepare a meeting, selecting just the relevant thoughts to be discussed.

Maybe you can think of other use cases...


I would like to start a brainstorm about the Brainstorms feature request. What's your take ?

- Does it even make sense or is it total rubbish?
- Would you use it and would it be relevant for you?
- How would you change my suggestions?
- Do you see it being delivered in a different way?
- What other use cases can you think about?

Finally: TB team... any chance of ever seeing something like this in The Brain?
There's a lot to unpack here, but my immediate thought is this functionality could mostly be emulated by:
  1. Copying the contents of the database into a new database. 
  2. Making changes and tagging thoughts you just changed as you go (to keep track of them).
  3. When you are done brainstorming, run a report on all thoughts, Add to Selection. Run a report on the thoughts with the tag or a modified date after a specific date/time and remove those from the selection.
  4. Delete all selected thoughts (except the modified ones).
  5. In your main database, create a link to the Brainstorm database main thought.
I don't know if I would have recommended this in TheBrain 8, but with the Tabs and linking capabilities (and the fact that copy/paste seems to be more robust), at first blush it sounds like a pretty viable workflow.
macOS 10.14.6
TheBrain 11.0.119
Very interesting concept and as Alex mentioned, a lot to take in.  I'll document the idea for our engineering team to review and get some internal feedback.

Some of the features you've mentioned can be done with reports.  Viewing recently activated thoughts, recently modified, etc.  

Also, with TheBrain 8 - you can filter your view in the Plex.  Run a report on all thoughts of a certain type, or with a certain tag and then filter them either on or off for a presentation.  This feature has not yet appeared in v9.

I'm trying to think of a scenario though where you're not duplicating your content.  Maybe this could even be done now by creating jump thoughts of of 'some' thoughts and the jumps get a Brainstorm Thought Type.  Only connect them to other Brainstorm Thought Types via a customized Link Type... sort of like a Brain within a Brain...  Then when you find content on a Brainstorm Thought that you really like - it gets moved over to the original native Thought.

More for me to wrap my head around I think.

This sounds seriously cool. What I would love to do is to create a selection of thoughts and click Brainstorm. I would then just see those thoughts and their links. This would allow me to explore a specific subject without the background noise of the hundreds of other thoughts that are close by. I could add or remove thoughts and links to the Brainstorm depending on my needs. The Brainstorm could then disappear on close, or be saved for later use. If changes to the thoughts have been made, it could be possible to save to the Brain or keep them inside the Brainstorm, saved or otherwise.

Can imagine so many uses for that, especially wandering around in that select part of the brain. When I wander in my brain, it gets lost everywhere as it jumps from one subject to something completely unrelated.

I do also have specific brains for certain things but more and more I'm using a megabrain. Megabrain + Brainstorming = Bliss.
I like @jotapa's concept a lot -- I think of this as building different scenarios from the thoughts in a brain, and within that (saved) scenario linking them / giving them scenario-specific types / adding scenario-specific tags.

@Moltaire's idea of building a selection then kicking those thoughts into a new brainstorm is a good starting point.  I think that initially, when the new brainstorm is created, the links/types/tags that these thoughts have would be retained but could be over-ridden while viewing that brainstorm.

It would be helpful to be able to name/edit/delete/duplicate brainstorms.

It would be helpful while in "normal" brain view to press a hot-key and see a special tag or some indicator that would highlight the thoughts that are part of a saved scenario.

There was a concept (@zenrain's) recently mentioned about selecting several thoughts and viewing/exporting their notes en bloc -- that would be a perfect companion for brainstorms.

Great concept, @jotapa -- the plex is already a 2-d projection of a 3-d set of relations and the brainstorm concept kicks that up to a higher dimension.  Hmm, quantum brains. [thumb]


Feedback and vote - it is the lack of this feature that has me use my brain less frequently. I end up exporting to MS Word Outline so that I can rearrange my thoughts and edit easily (without changing the links in my Brain).

An idea around one way to accomplish this brainstorm idea. Expanded View allows me to choose a series of thoughts and arrange them on the page. If I could ACTIVATE my expanded view and create NEW links between thoughts, it would work very much like this brainstorm idea.

This is what I currently do with expanded brains, but without the "new links."

As a user, I can
add thoughts to a selection,
switch to expanded view in expanded brain
click to bring in additional ideas - to include and sort all of the thoughts I want to organize in a new set of relationships
remove the thoughts I don't want

***and then I (user) can create a new set of links to connect/organize the thoughts in the brainstorm/expanded view*** which ONLY exist in this saved "brainstorm" view. Then, like a filter, I can switch to normal/outline view and continue my normal brain work - but all the results ONLY exist in the brainstorm view. (I would have to "save" the changes like an expanded view, but that would be a small price to pay for the exponential shift in functionality.)

Done. It is a brain within a brain, but leveraging the existing codebase.

From an xml perspective, y'all could generate a unique string as an identifier tag for that brainstorm - just like you do when you save an expanded view.

Just an idea.



Mark Michael Lewis | The Profitability Coach |
There is a lot to like about this idea [smile]

I must admit that I've often struggled with this aspect of TB... TB is awesome for storing completed thoughts / projects, but I've often found it not the best for fleshing stuff out (Brainstorming in this thread): TB gets confusing really quickly with all the inter-relations (especially for things that only may happen).

Often I'll do my MindMapping somewhere else (like iMindMap) and import it later... and with some of the changes upcoming (eg: minus Calendar / Events) I've wondered if that's the best way to go anyway and leave TB to manage the filing?

There's also obviously lots of implementation options to think about too... but a Sandbox area to play in that can be 'exported' into the brain proper has extensive possibilities (I'm sure they'll grow once the functionality is available)!

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