Scaling visual collaboration


Scaling visual collaboration at Emerson

Creative collaboration is built into the culture at Emerson, a multinational Fortune 500 company with $18.4 billion in annual sales that helps manufacturers automate and optimize production processes.

Using the LUMA System of Innovation, teams at Emerson practice human centered design (HCD) to solve problems. They’re supported by Emerson's Human Centered Design Institute, a team who works across business units to empower others within Emerson to adopt the framework. They function much like internal consultants, facilitating workshops and training sessions to help teams at Emerson design solutions that put people first. And ultimately, they empower and train these teams to adopt human centered design and improve productivity and collaboration in their day-to-day work.

We teach people visual, collaborative methods … and one of the common questions is, 'My team is not located in the same building. How can we do this?' …It came up in every workshop we did, so we were looking for something that would really enable that, and that’s when we found MURAL.

Christina Koffskey
Christina Koffskey
Senior Success Architect

How might we work together when we can’t be together?

With 88,000 employees distributed across the globe, it was a constant challenge to get the right stakeholders in the same room to conduct workshops with the HCD Institute. Sometimes, it was logistically impossible.

With no way to replicate the “sticky notes on a whiteboard” experience during remote workshops, Emerson was challenged to collaborate across time zones and scale design thinking throughout the organization efficiently and effectively.


  • Travel expenses for in-person sessions are costly for global collaboration
  • Time lost while traveling
  • Scheduling conflicts
  • Taking pictures of hundreds of sticky notes and digitizing the work took days
  • Difficult to keep the momentum going after the workshop when all they had were photos of the work

To solve these challenges, Emerson needed a way to:

  1. Save time and money when facilitating and documenting workshops
  2. Scale human centered design by lowering the barrier to entry

Emerson had already been thinking about how to collaborate in a virtual environment, even before COVID. With Mural, we were already set up. We didn’t skip a beat.

Christina Koffskey
Christina Koffskey
Senior Success Architect

Facilitating remote workshops

With Mural's digital workspace for visual collaboration, Emerson’s Human Centered Design Institute could finally replicate in-person workshops online. In some cases, they could even improve upon in-person practices, using Mural's tools for facilitators to work more efficiently and make sure everyone has a voice.

This was especially critical when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, prohibiting in-person collaboration and travel. Fortunately, the transition was easy for Emerson’s Human Centered Design Institute because they were already comfortable with remote collaboration.

Embracing remote collaboration in all forms

Emerson uses Mural for more than just workshops. Thanks to its ease of use, Emerson team members — even those who haven’t viewed themselves as “visual thinkers” in the past — use Mural for everything from asynchronous collaboration to team building activities.

Remote collaboration is engaging for everyone. In person, the introverts in a group can easily get lost in the shuffle. With Mural, the barrier to engagement is lower and everyone has the opportunity to participate.

Christina Koffskey
Christina Koffskey
Senior Success Architect

Results with Mural

More effective workshops: Workshops are more inclusive, engaging, and efficient.

Reduced workshop costs: With no need to travel, workshop costs are dramatically reduced, and participants don’t lose any time traveling.

Faster follow-up: Post-workshop documentation time is reduced by 60 to 80%, so teams can hit the ground running immediately after it ends.

Culture of collaboration: Now, teams are empowered to collaborate remotely even without the direct help of the Human Centered Design Institute. And with the over 700 practitioners of HCD across Emerson, Mural is being adopted more quickly. In six months, the number of Emerson employees using Mural increased by 135%.


Template: Ideation and Prioritization Workshop

Use this template to facilitate workshops with Mural. Created by the Human Centered Design Institute at Emerson, this template provides a five-step framework for problem-solving that can be completed in under 90 minutes. Start with a warmup to get everyone engaged, then brainstorm, prioritize, and solidify ownership and next steps. The best part? The template is incredibly flexible and can be adapted for any number of situations and challenges.

Create a mural in your workspace from the template below.

Ready to activate the genius within your team?