Creative Inspiration? Yeah, There’s an App for That.

By: Tina Shaffer

Well, sort of.

How many times have you had a great idea for a creative project or Challenge solution but no means of recording it? Or, maybe you've hit a wall and just need a little creative spark to inspire the next plot twist for a story you’re writing. 

Your creative muse can strike at any time. If you’re lucky enough to have a notebook (or the nearest crayon and shred of paper) handy, you can easily jot down your flow of ideas. However, many of us are not always that lucky. But while you may not carry a notebook when you’re on-the-go, you most likely have a cell phone at hand. From choosing character names for a skit to sketching designs for a structural device to creating a mind map—a visual outline of your thoughts and ideas—there is a galaxy of smartphone applications designed to ignite those creative juices and help you on your quest to unleash your creative genius.

A variety of companies even offer free or low-cost apps to help you accomplish this. So the next time inspiration strikes, just grab your phone or tablet and use one of these creative ideation apps to document your innovative ideas no matter how big or small.

Autodesk Sketchbook— (iOS/Android – Free) Are you the artist in the group? Just love to doodle? Unleash your creativity and digitally capture your ideas with this professional-grade paint and drawing app. Autodesk Sketchbook even includes layering options and a full set of sketching tools.

Lino – (iOS/Android – Free) Lino is great tool for creating a digital storyboard and unlike many other comparable apps, it allows you to create colorful storyboard canvases using sticky notes, text, photos and links. You can even click and drag your ideas on your canvas as your story develops, as well as share your canvas with team members to collaborate on a project.

MindMeister—(iOS/Android – Free) Need help getting and staying organized? MindMeister is a handy mind mapping app that allows you to do just that. From crafting a schedule to help you keep track of creative or academic projects to sharing information and ideas with friends and team members to digitally capturing random bursts of inspiration, you can design a mind map using test, photos, icons and links. This handy app also allows you to conveniently access your mind maps from your phone or computer.

A Novel Idea— (iPhone only) Whether you’re an aspiring author or a writer on your DI team, check out this app to help you build on your story’s plot, including adding scene goals, props you want to include in a sketch, and objectives for different characters. This app is also perfect for anyone who jots down different elements whenever inspiration arises, allowing you to drag and drop each element of your story into place as it develops over time. 

Toca Builders—(iOS/Android – $2.99) The possibilities are endless with this educational, Minecraft-style app that encourages both creativity and curiousity. Kids can use their imagination to build 3D structures and create their own worlds while learning math and technology concepts, strengthening their thinking and reasoning skills, and having fun! The game also includes a snapshot feature for kids who want to save a digital copy of their innovative design.

Have an app that you use for creative inspiration? Let us know in the comments below.