MultiBrainStorm PRO Help and manual

This guide will help you work with MultiBrainStorm PRO Follow these quick links to get to the section you need:

Introduction

This manual introduces you to the fundamentals of MultiBrainStorm PRO: a totally new way of working together in one application on a single PC. Digital collaboration, with multiple users concurrently, at the same time! MultiBrainStorm PRO Software is unique in its capability to enable multiple device inputs on a single desktop. This means that any number of users can interact together, at the same time and concurrently, by each having an individual cursor on screen within this application. MultiBrainStorm PRO enables group brainstorming sessions, scenario building, SWOT analysis etc. with live input from all participants. The software is straightforward and easy to use. This application allows multiple users to simultaneously interact with text/ideas/notes in the application.

There are three main benefits of working with MultiBrainStorm PRO:

This guide assumes that MultiBrainStorm PRO is setup and ready to use, which meanst the application is installed, licensed and functional. Multiple input devices (i.e. wired or wireless mice or tablets and keyboard) properly connected. Check to see whether devices are connected and operational by moving each device.You should see colored cursors move on the screen after launching MultiBrainStorm PRO.

MultiBrainStorm PRO identifies three basic phases in a brainstorm session:

  1. Generating ideas
  2. Grouping and organizing
  3. Voting & discussions

MultiBrainStorm PRO makes it easy to generate reports from a brainstorm session. The report is accompanied by screenshots, stats and other useful information.

Attaching additional mice and keyboards to your computer

Our software is designed to make use of additional hardware devices like mice and keyboards. Laptops already have a keyboard and a mouse trackpad built in. If you have got one or more extra mice and keyboards (who hasn't got an extra mouse lying around these days) you can simply plug these into the USB port of your computer. Windows will install the necessary software to make use of the extra devices. You cannot, however, make use of them independently. This is where DicoLab software comes to the rescue. Our software allows you to make use of the extra devices independently of each other. Just startup the programs and any extra USB input device that is attached will be recognized automatically.

If you have more devices than USB ports on your computer you can use a USB hub to create extra USB ports. A USB hub is a device that expands a single USB port into several so that there are more ports available to connect devices to a host system.

Preparing the session

The moderator or ´master user´

After the Brainstorm software has launched, the first user that moves its device will become the group Moderator. This user will be able to adjust program-wide settings. These settings change the amount of votes, session backgrounds, select Create, Group, Vote or Hide Cursors.

Select the Background image

MultiBrainStorm PRO allows users to personalize the look and feel of a session by changing the background. For example, you can change it to a branded background with a logo. Changing the background affects all backgrounds on all tabs. This setting can be changed in the preference menu. Click File and Preferences. Click Select image and choose the image that you want to use as the background.

By clicking Save as the default, this background will be used every time MultiBrainStorm PRO launches.

Setting the number of votes per cursor

The amount of votes per user per session can be set to a maximum of 100. It is set to 5 votes by default. This setting cannot be changed while running a group session. The number of votes can be changed in the preferences window (File: Preferences: Voting). The settings are adjusted on the fly. Please note that settings are changed directly. Changing these settings influences the current votes.

Saving sessions

The initial save must be done through the File menu. It’s advised to create a folder specifically for the session’s output since MultiBrainStorm PRO saves the screenshots in the same location as the saved MultiBrainStorm PRO files. By default they are saved in ‘My Documents\MyMultiBrainStormFiles’
Quick key: during a brainstorm session, a quick save can be done by pressing the key combination: Ctrl + S

Taking screenshots

A screenshot can be taken by pressing the F5 function key. The screenshots are saved in the location specified for the saved brainstorm file, by default files are saved to the ‘My Documents\MyMultiBrainStormFiles’ folder. Screenshots are useful for showing you the steps the group took to getting to the final results.
Quick key: During a brainstorm session, a screenshot can be made by pressing: F5.

You can enter the timing for automatic screenshots to be made in the Preferences. Go to File: Preferences. By default this is set to 1 minute and disabled.

Creation phase: recording thoughts and ideas

Thoughts floating around in the brainstorm session can easily be entered into MultiBrainStorm PRO. Enable the Create Mode.


Although you may prefer to have the moderator enter the text so that everyone has an overview, any connected keyboard can enter text in the input box (bottom left corner) Press Enter to place the sticky note on the stage. Image:input box at bottom left of application window

Sticky notes can be edited easily. As soon as the Moderator user left clicks a sticky note it becomes editable. All connected keyboards can edit the sticky notes at the same time by modifying the text.

Setting Sticky Note color


You can change the color of the sticky notes in the Create Menu. Select the color from the dropdown menu. All sticky notes create hereafter will have this color.

Duplicating Sticky Notes


You can duplicate a sticky note by right clicking (right mouse button) on a Sticky Note and select ‘Duplicate’. Duplicating a sticky note on the same tab will not duplicate the votes it has been given.

Rescue Sticky Notes

You can recover sticky notes and groups that have fallen outside the screen area by pressing Ctrl-R. Or select “Bring all into view” from the Group mode dropdown menu. By doing this all Sticky Notes will be brought back onto the screen. Quick key: <Ctrl>+<R>

Grouping phase: Creating Groups


An important part in the brainstorming process are the groups. Groups enable the Moderator to cluster sticky notes. The user with Moderator rights can easily create group boxes by enabling the group function.
Left-click the “Group” button to enable the creation of groups.

Sticky notes can be organized in different ways:

Group settings can only be made by a user with Moderator rights. Regular users cannot modify the settings. Right-click the top of the group to edit the group settings. The following settings are available:

Arrange sticky notes

This option orders the current sticky notes and makes it easy to organize the screen after grouping the notes.

Duplicate groups

This option duplicates the group with its current sticky notes.

Remove group

This option removes the group while the sticky notes remain in the program.

Remove all

This option removes the group and the sticky notes it contains. Please note: there is no way to retrieve the deleted sticky notes. They will however be registered once a report is generated.

Minimize / Maximize

You can minimize and maximize a Group after right-clicking a sticky note with a Moderator mouse. The group name will be visible and the right click menu is accessible after minimizing.

Scaling

The left, right, and bottom border of the group enables the Moderator to scale the selected group. Just move your mouse on these borders and click/drag the border to scale a group window.

Rank sticky notes by using axes

By using MultiBrainStorm PRO’s built in axes, it’s possible to rank sticky notes on a horizontal and vertical scale. For example: “Large impact vs. Small Impact” or “Likely to happen vs. Not likely to happen.” This is ideal for scenario building.
The axis can be enabled by a Moderator from the tab settings menu. Right-Click the current tab and select “Show Axes”. Axes labels can be edited by double clicking the label.

Voting

MultiBrainStorm PRO allows quick ranking of ideas and groups by voting. By default, users can cast 5 votes. Changes to this number can be made in the preferences area. See Setting the number of votes per cursor.

Voting can be enabled by the Moderator by left-clicking the “Vote” button.

Users can cast their vote by left-clicking the sticky note or the group area. The number of stars next to their cursor shows the amount of votes left for a user.

As a participant, it is possible to withdraw a given vote by right-clicking anywhere on the screen. The vote that was placed last will be the first to be withdrawn. Votes given to a specific sticky note stay attached to the sticky note when moving this note around. It even moves with its sticky note when adding it to a different group.

The number of votes per sticky note are shown on the sticky itself. The sum of votes given to a group is presented at the top of a group. Votes given to a group in general and not to a sticky note are presented in the lower left corner.

Activity on sticky notes

Votes are good at helping to make decisions. It can be useful to (occasionally) compare a voting round with a view on how much activity there was around a sticky note. Each click on a sticky note is being logged in the background.

MultiBrainStorm PRO counts the amount of clicks on a sticky note. Click activity can be shown by enabling the activity view. Enabling this feature is a two click action and can be done by selecting the dropdown menu next to “Group” and selecting “show activity”.

The redder a sticky note is, the more people that have clicked the sticky note. This represents a higher level of activity on a particular sticky note (and not necessarily the amount of votes), which can be useful information for the Moderator. Clicks by the Moderator are not included.

The activity can be reset by selecting ”reset activity” from the same drop down menu.

Sort sticky notes by ‘number of votes’

With a lot of sticky notes on the screen it can be hard to determine which sticky notes have received many votes. MultiBrainStorm PRO gives you the option to sort all available sticky notes and groups by the amount of votes they’ve been given.

The ranking is calculated by the total number of votes on the sticky notes The sticky notes are placed from left to right. The sticky notes with the lowest amount of votes are placed on the left side and the highest ranked sticky notes on the right side.

Hide users

When discussing the sticky notes, it can be distracting to have multiple cursors moving around. The Moderator can use the “hide user” function to overcome this.

Select “Hide” to hide all cursors except the Moderator cursor, allowing the Moderator to move/order the sticky notes. Clicking “Hide” again will show all of the users.

Click the tab settings and select “sort by votes” or select “sort by votes” the drop down menu from the Vote button.

Working with tabs

If a group needs more analysis or a second session needs to be started, it can be done by adding an extra tab. Only Moderators can add a tab.

Click the + to add an extra tab to your session. It’s possible to switch between tabs during a session. Instead of adding a brand new tab it is also possible to duplicate an existing tab.This can be achieved by right clicking the Tab and selecting Duplicate tab. When duplicating a tab, its activity is not duplicated (votes and click activity). While it’s background is duplicated.

Tab backgrounds

If you change the background for a Tab that background will be the default one for that Tab and all other Tabs that are created thereafter. Tabs that already exist will keep their existing background. You can change this setting by selecting the Tab in question and going to the Preferences to change the background. You can change a background by selecting a new background from File: Preferences.

Create a report

After a complete session or in-between MultiBrainStorm PRO sessions, the results can be easily exported into a report. This report can be distributed to the participating users via a USB stick or Email.
Creating a report is simple. Using the Moderator’s input device, left click “File” then chose “Export as report”. MultiBrainStorm PRO will generate a report containing screenshots and group and vote results per session.

It is recommended to create a dedicated report folder within the location specified for the saved files. See: Saving sessions. This makes it easier to find your reports & screenshots. The report contains a screenshot per session and sub-sessions.

Tips & Tricks

The best tips and tricks we, and our users came across while working with MultiBrainStorm PRO are listed in this section.