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One 'Mindful' Way to Stay Organized in the Cloud

TeamBrain maps out the tools of collaboration.
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Web-connected workers don't just need first-rate collaboration tools--they must also navigate a sprawl of online business apps and shared documents without losing their heads in the cloud.

TheBrain wants to help. The Marina del Rey, Calif.-based collaborative software firm recently introduced a web-enabled mind-mapping application called TeamBrain. It lets users store, categorize and share project-related information--documents, notes, images, web links, contacts and even calendar alerts--through a visual mind map.

What it does: TeamBrain is an extension of the company's TheBrain desktop app, which links ideas, tasks and other data visually. Users start with a topic and link it to a succession of subthoughts, ideas, files and reference materials to make a so-called "mind map" of complex business problems. With TeamBrain, personal maps can be published, shared and synced with others via an account on

The software, which includes access to WebBrain's online services, starts at $300 per annual subscription.

Good thinking: We found the TeamBrain functionality to be a handy way to show the subtle relationships between information. It easily linked simple notes, images, PowerPoint presentations, e-mail addresses--the list goes on--to individual thoughts, tasks, projects and business goals, all grouped in a way that wouldn't be possible with basic computer directories and websites.

Mind-altering: Though it looks cool--and it's fun and easy to make the maps--a lot of effort and buy-in from all team members is required to keep TeamBrain thinking straight.

Bottom line: Tough call. TeamBrain is a fast on-ramp to building a web collaboration environment, so collaboration-savvy shops should like it. But to make the purchase pay off, a business would really need to commit to maintaining the tool.

For some, TeamBrain could prove more mind-bending than it's worth.

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