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Virtual whiteboard vs. ideation system: Which is best for you?

Digital whiteboards are useful when tackling short-term needs, but a full-featured ideation system might be the best option for more sophisticated and mission-critical projects.

A combination of declining prices and an abundance of options has encouraged businesses to deploy technologies that help them develop business-related ideas, concepts and themes.

Recently, two choices have gained traction: the virtual whiteboard and digital ideation system. Both are useful for creative collaboration, but when investigating the difference between the virtual whiteboard vs. digital ideation system, each has specific advantages.

Virtual whiteboards are likely the most well understood as they put a digital twist on the analog concept of an erasable board and marker. Virtual whiteboard features include the following:

  • use in person or virtually by one or more participants across multiple platforms;
  • ability to record and share whiteboard material in video or still image formats;
  • easily add or cut and paste images, video, audio or text;
  • built-in graphical and charting capabilities;
  • unlimited color palette;
  • indefinite palette size; and
  • ability to stretch or shrink content.

While virtual whiteboards are flexible enough to be used for a wide range of purposes, they've traditionally been used for the purpose of group data and information gathering or as an aid when presenting written or diagram information, ideas or concepts to one or more participants.

But, in brainstorming in a virtual collaboration session where simultaneous input is a must, ideation systems are a better option. The goal of an ideation session is to kick off projects that seek to build competitive advantage. The process is focused on taking an idea and working on ways to optimize that concept to the fullest.

Unlike a typical whiteboard session often composed of like-minded participants, an ideation session pulls relevant data from multiple subject matter experts with a shared goal. Virtual whiteboard sessions have relatively short life spans; in contrast, ideation sessions can last weeks, months or years. When evaluating virtual whiteboard vs. digital ideation systems, keep in mind that the latter are engineered with more advanced features, such as dashboards, spreadsheets, KPIs, ROI tracking and timelines. These are important tools to have when managing, monitoring and tracking the additional data generated during an ideation session.

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