Mural offers visual collaboration tools used in the visual space of a digital whiteboard, for sharing ideas and brainstorming among distributed teams. This San Francisco-based provider has just acquired Luma Institute, a Pittsburgh-based company specializing in learning experiences, digital resources and certification programs. The latter brings him with Luma System an environment to promote design between remote teams on problems of all sizes. The solution is already used by 3,000 organizations worldwide.

In parallel with this first acquisition, Mural is presenting its Collaborative Intelligence System approach, intended to promote innovation within teams. This aims to resolve the feeling of disconnection that can creep into dispersed organizations. It revolves around three components. On the training part, the Collaboration Design Institute (CDI) will support the concept of collaborative design. Scheduled to be available in late 2022, it will offer training, curriculum development, certifications and guidance for collaborative design professionals. The acquisition of Luma Institute is the first step in the creation of the CDI.

An API to build custom applications

At the center of the solution, Collaboration Spaces will be the actual collaboration space, to manage synchronous and asynchronous workflows, “in person”, room collaborations, etc. This digital space is presented as a wall canvas for group reflection in a visual and interactive way. It provides access to various functions to facilitate reflection and exchanges, as well as guided methods and tools for creating and registering for meetings and workshops. Mural’s app integrates with commonly used business software: Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Webex by Cisco, Slack, and Jira. Other integrations are in progress. An API for building custom applications is also under development. She helps insert ideas and solutions into existing processes and workflows.

Mural’s digital whiteboard offers intuitive visual collaboration. (Credit: Mural)

A model proposed by Mural to start a brainstorming group. (Credit: Mural)

The 3rd component, Collaboration Insights, is under development. It will provide management with qualitative and quantitative data to measure and improve collaboration at every level of the organization, from teams to enterprise-wide, Mural describes. Speaking at The Economist’s Innovation@Work event this week, Mural CEO Mariano Suarez-Batta said workers have spent the past two years being brutally coerced into experimental work practices. “I believe the human disconnect is the biggest problem we can face right now,” he said. “If we can sort it out and help all the teams out there by deliberately deploying this collaborative intelligence, we have a chance of solving many of the innovation problems we’re having.”

The digital whiteboard, a changing use

For Wayne Kurtzman, IDC Research Director of Collaboration and Communities, it’s important not to confuse collaboration with the technology that enables it. By acquiring Luma, Mural is expressing a mutual understanding of the complexities ahead to help companies meet these challenges, he believes.

The market for digital boards has exploded during the pandemic, as companies have sought to get their teams working on product development and project management. These types of applications already existed before 2020, but they were mainly used by specific groups, such as designers or software developers. Their use has become more widespread in companies and some of them go beyond the basic whiteboard functions found in video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Teams or Webex.

Mural raised $118M in Series B in August 2020 and said its platform had one million monthly active users. In July 2021, the company raised another $50M.