As 2021 comes to a close, it’s natural to spend some time thinking about all the lessons learned, the goals for the next year, and to contemplate what skills we might need to focus on in order to make big things happen.
On our Notes that Stick blog, we aim to educate and inspire our readers on how visual collaboration can spark imagination while breaking down the barriers of space and time through the magic of asynchronous and hybrid work. This year we dove into a number of hot collaboration topics — from defining our meeting personalities and the power of online warmups to how to conduct effective PI Planning. Along the way, we also announced a number of new features, including new mind mapping and diagram maker capabilities, several notable integrations, and some fancy new Facilitation Superpowers® features.
Here is a rundown of the top-10 articles we published this year for you to peruse so you can start 2022 ready to do great things.
10. Here’s a virtual water cooler to gather around with your team
We’ve all missed those casual conversations in the office kitchen. While some of us might be returning to the office, many people are still trying to find ways to connect with coworkers in a fun, casual, and asynchronous way. In this virtual water cooler article, we explain what they are, how to use one, and explain the various ways you can use MURAL to help bridge the gap between office and home, experiment, and make space for imagination.
9. 5 principles for making hybrid collaboration work
It’s no secret that the office many workers returned to in 2021 was much different than the one they left in March of 2020. That said, the key to succeeding at a hybrid model is looking at it as a system that needs to be equally successful for remote and in-office workers. In this article on making hybrid work, we outline the “5Ps” for setting up your hybrid work model in a way that keeps productivity and morale humming for everyone on staff.
8. Announcing collaborative diagramming and mapping made easy
This spring we announced that one of our most powerful features was getting a much-anticipated upgrade. Our new collaborative diagramming and mind-mapping features allow you to put ideas together individually or as a group faster than ever. And unlike the prehistoric days of whiteboarding, when you diagram and brainstorm in a mural, you can do so with people from all over the world whether asynchronous or in real-time. Want to learn more about how to put these new features to work? Check out this video from our Learning Experience Lead Hailey Temple explaining five tips for faster diagramming and mapping with MURAL.
7. Making collaboration work: A guide for remote and hybrid teams
When you’re navigating the hybrid and remote waters, it’s helpful to look to other companies who’ve found success. At Mural, we were remote long before the pandemic, and in this guide for remote and hybrid teams we break down some of the tools and tips we use to stay productive, as well as offer up a number of helpful templates for keeping your remote meetings and workshops on track.
6. How to create a meaningful product vision
Every great product starts with a story — and the best way to define your story is with a clear product vision statement that defines why a product exists, who it serves, and how it's different. This article takes you step by step through the product vision statement development process so you can build your resilient product roadmap in the most effective way.
5. 5 skills for getting started with MURAL
Did you know that if you double click on the background of a mural you can automatically create a sticky note without having to go back to the toolbar? Or that you can automatically save content from a mural for future use in your very own content library? If you’re new to visual collaboration or looking to uplevel your Mural skills, this article will offer you some simple insights into where to get started, and what key features will help you start to ideate, collaborate, and solve hard problems.
4. The 6 Ps of facilitation needs
We’ve all been in a meeting that either shouldn’t have happened in the first place, or isn’t going anywhere for one reason or another. Ineffective meetings can be transformed into highly productive and enjoyable team sessions by utilizing a meeting or workshop facilitator. This article goes into depth around the different types of facilitation, as well as offers ways to recognize what particular facilitation needs your team may have.
3. Announcing MURAL free
While a free-forever version of MURAL is exciting on its own, looking beyond that our announcement around our new offering was about much more. The new MURAL Free plan is about removing barriers to imagination. Working in a mural with your team means taking a big leap toward working in a new, different (and more exciting!) way. When you commit to embracing imagination, play, and peer-based collaboration, you are saying yes to transformation and a firm no to the stifling world of routine.
2. A team charter template you can use today
If you’ve never taken the time with your team to establish a charter, it might be the single best thing you do in the new year. Taking the time to essentially set ground rules for how you work together will allow you to move faster and avoid many common team pitfalls around expectations, communication, and each person’s individual role within the group. This article gives you all the information you need to use our Team Charter template in the most efficient and effective way for your team —whether you’ve been working together for years or are just coming together for a new initiative.
1. Online warm ups & energizers
Online warm-ups (also known as icebreakers) are short exercises performed at the beginning of a meeting to encourage bonding, introduce new team members, and conquer some of the awkwardness of working in a group. They are easy and fun whether you’re remote or in-person — and MURAL has several of them to choose from in our templates library. This article gives a great rundown of why icebreakers are so important (hint: They make you more productive!), and it is a great one to bookmark so you can pick a quick exercise to do before your next meeting.
Lay the groundwork now for big things in 2022
Now that you’ve had a chance to check out some of our top-performing content from 2021, it’s time to continue your journey into the world of visual collaboration. There are a number of things you can do to improve — whether it’s just making meetings more productive or learning new collaboration or facilitation skills. Here are a few:
Check out these six templates for reflection, celebrating, and planning in the new year.
Celebrate teamwork by checking out the recorded sessions of our Reflect 2021 virtual event.