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A Pi-Shaped Product to Think & Design

Written by 
Mariano Suarez-Battan
September 16, 2014

Earlier this year we started a residency inside IDEO. We were looking forward to pause for a bit and redefine the fundamentals of our business. We chose to really dive deep into understanding the early phases of the design thinking process and how to solve problems that design thinkers when working and collaborating.

One of the insights we gained after observation and synthesis in the "meta project" with IDEO, was that we needed to simplify the experience (too many buttons and options).

The simplicity of a sticky note became an inspiration, and we’ve been designing with that in mind.

Another takeaway was that we needed to make a product that was al least 10x (100x?) better than a foamboard with stickies to help you think and design... We needed to bring some intelligence into each mural: we wanted to design the system to be your assistant so that you can focus your time and energy on the creative work.

A T-shaped Product

IDEO people say that the best designers (or even... all creative professionals) can wear multiple hats but are also experts in one area in particular.

Feedback taught us that people appreciated the flexibility of MURAL in addition to the opportunity to work with their teams at different times and in different locations… but we didn’t have a particular expertise.

We wanted MURAL to be horizontal; it should accompany you from the early stages of your project through its completion. That also includes coming from and going to other analog tools like stickies, foamboards, and printouts, as well as digital ones (Spreadsheets, Presentations, Documents, Presentations and so forth).

We understood that MURAL was good at supporting collaboration, but we wanted to take it a few steps furtner in specialization. With this in mind, we chose to add features and capabilities that are done better on the computer.

We all agreed that if we helped you think by adding some smart processing & information management, we had the potential to support not only the longevity of a project, but the synthesis of its parts as well.

It may be a ∏ more than a T given the two areas of expertise, but you get the point.

Pi shaped product

Think, Imagine, Design and Share

As touch screens (or Apple TV enabled screens) become more available, we envision every design room running MURAL. And for people who don’t have the luxury for a design studio, provide the digital version of that key space.

We want to help you think by organizing your information.

We want to help you imagine new stuff while documenting what’s in your mind.

We want to help you design by providing the tools to go from observation to a sketch of a prototype and a plan to get it to market.

We want to make it as easy, fast and fun as possible to share your ideas so that you can connect your mind with your teammates’ and make magic happen.

We are building a collaborative app that based on a digital whiteboard that is simple to use, works on every platform, and can connect to other systems… and most importantly, that is (a little) smart. MURAL is here to become your assistant to enhance your experience as a creative team.

Multi Device. Smart. Assistant. Interconnected.

In the current release and upcoming updates, we are putting a lot of focus into the ideation and synthesis phases of the creative process.

New Stuff

After a lot of research and development to get high levels of performance, we are happy to tell that we have our first native app in the App Store. Get MURAL Sketch for iPad.

You’ll notice a simplified UI and full use case around brainstorming and sketching. We wanted to nail that use case first and then extend to the rest.

You can also run a session from the Web as we made it feature pair in terms of sketching in sticky notes as well as be able to run a voting session.

We’ll continue to release updates, a mobile version and more features to make it easier and more fun to use.

We created an algorithm that scans sticky notes from a board and gets them arrayed in a Mural for you to keep on going online. Every time we have demoed this to power Postit users, we’ve got a “wow” moment so we are opening up to beta testers here: http://MURAL/scan.

Mural Scan


In our first approach to making the Mural "smart" is to add a way to filter through information in it. First approach, but have a lot prototyped here… please be patient.

Collaboration assistant

In honor of our great Design Director while in IDEO, we gave birth to PONTUS our bot that will help you with the boring stuff and also try to inspire and help while designing. First time one stage with a simple onboarding exercise to our new users: MURAL/tutorial.

We also included a simple notification when collaborating with others that let's you see what changes in a mural since the last time you were online.

We are all eyes and ears

We have a roadmap full of great stuff that we want to bring to market to make work life easier and more fun.

Thanks for supporting us along the way and keep checking out the blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and or Instagram feeds for news on what's new. We have also been producing content to inspire and educate so check it out.

This is all work in progress. We are listening and reading to all of your feedback and are eager to chat with anyone currently using MURAL or considering it so please reach out.

Now let's go design something great.

About the author

About the authors

Mariano Suarez-Battan

I run MURAL, where we are making creative teams become better design thinkers through our collaboration software. We started MURAL because of a game we were designing. Ask me about that.