Brainstorming sessions usually go one of two ways, and neither of them are good. Either you have a couple of vocal people who dominate the discussion, or you have an uninspired, unproductive meeting where no one says anything valuable. Or worse, nothing at all.

Is it any wonder most of us dread these “let’s get the creative juices flowing” meetings?

But good news: There’s a new tool that may just transform all of our group brainstorming woes.

It’s called Attentiv, and it’s software that allows the meeting participants to anonymously answer questions and discuss topics in real time.

So, let’s say you’re the person holding the meeting.

You log on to Attentiv, create a meeting, add agenda items, and then invite your colleagues. Once the meeting time arrives, everyone will have the capability to anonymously participate. Since you’re the meeting coordinator, you can decide which agenda items to tackle and which questions to answer.

Maybe you want to get some feedback on the new marketing campaign. Rather than asking, “So, what do you guys think?” and run the risk of being thwarted by groupthink, shyness, fear, yesmen, big talkers, and dominating managers, you’ll get a bunch of truthful and equally weighted responses.

“By getting everyone’s honest input, and not just the extroverts’ or managers’ input, you end up with more informed decisions and results in your meetings,” explains Attentiv co-founder Daniel Russell.

In addition, the software can give a voice to those who might be nervous to speak up.

“Attentiv is all about bringing to light the brilliant ideas that go unspoken inside each organization every day,” Russell says.

Since there are definitely portions of the meeting where you want to know who’s speaking, we suggest using Attentiv specifically for those times when you want genuine, unfiltered conversation.

While the app can’t make Jack show up on time for once, it can give someone other than Claire a chance to voice his or her opinions—which means your brainstorming meetings will definitely get better.


Photo of co-workers brainstorming courtesy of Shutterstock.