Prep Time:
Time to run:
1-3 hours

Build your own template

An activity in which people express ideal solutions using symbolic elements

Courtesy of our friends at

Use this template to help people express their “what ifs” by putting tools for creativity and communication in their hands.

This template equips your team with a kit of symbolic elements that makes it quick and easy to create a visual representation of an idea. What you end up with are illuminating artifacts that provide a reference for what they desire or expect of your team’s solutions or goals.

Note: A well-planned, easy to use kit of parts makes it possible for people to build what they imagine. The components you provide need to be simple and relatively nondescript, but should be appropriate to the type of solution you desire.

The build your own template helps you:

  • Kickstart your team’s visual and creative thinking by giving them the building blocks for a solution
  • Get broad alignment by engaging your whole team in the ideation process
  • Uncover gaps or misunderstandings by analyzing team feedback regarding solutions or goals

How to use the build your own template

To use Mural’s build your own template as a means to solve problems with your team, follow the steps outlined below.

1. Identify a problem you’d like to solve

The first step is to determine the central question that you’re trying to answer through team-wide brainstorming and ideation. This should be no longer than a phrase or 1-2 sentences.

2. Create building blocks based on your area of focus

Use Mural’s library of icons or images to create basic building blocks that are appropriate to your areas of focus or expertise.

For instance, a toolkit comprised of building blocks and figurines could work for urban residents invited to imagine their ideal use of public spaces. However, a toolkit consisting of pre-drawn user-interface elements and a sheet of paper would work better for IT professionals imagining their ideal network monitoring interface.

3. Invite a group of stakeholders and divide into teams

Next, invite your stakeholders and divide them into teams of 2-3 so that you can build multiple solutions and look for areas of similarity or common themes that emerge. Give each team 15-30 mins to create their solutions using the building blocks provided.

4. Bring everyone back together and analyze results

Once your teams have completed the exercise, it’s time to circle up together to present the final ideas and analyze the results across the board to look for themes. Then, you can vote to determine the best overall idea or even the best elements of each idea across all stakeholders.

Tips for running a build your own template workshop

To run a successful build your own template exercise, you should:

  • Carefully select a group of elements or building blocks that will be relevant to your stakeholders and the solutions they are likely to create
  • Use Mural’s anonymous voting feature to democratically determine the best outcomes from your brainstorming session
  • Once you have determined the best solutions, use tags for sticky notes or color coding to help group and assign next steps, so that you have total transparency and better understand roles and responsibilities for action items

How to create a Build your own template

Mural makes it easy to curate the building blocks for team brainstorming and ideation

With Mural’s intuitive features and tools, you can easily create an environment that includes the right elements to make for a visually engaging and productive session with your team.
Icons, GIFs, & images

Icons, GIFs, & images

Express complex ideas visually or lead an engaging team-building activity with Noun Project, GIPHY, and Unsplash integrations.

Outline navigation & instructions

Outline navigation & instructions

Structure your mural for easy navigation, then add activity instructions for collaborators.

Create & publish custom templates

Create & publish custom templates

Save time and scale methods across your organization by publishing templates to your workspace.



Visualize ideas, prototype, and quickly annotate for a better-than-a-whiteboard experience.

Sticky notes & text

Sticky notes & text

Add ideas, action items, and more as a sticky note or text box — then change the colors and cluster to identify patterns and new solutions.



Add comments and tag collaborators for smooth asynchronous communication.

Build your own template frequently asked questions

What are the elements of brainstorming?

What elements should I include in a brainstorming template?

LUMA Institute

Template by LUMA Institute


LUMA offers acclaimed in-person training, custom innovation programs, and a unique digital platform (LUMA Workplace), used by innovators in over 70 countries. Leading organizations around the globe rely on the LUMA System of Innovation — a practical, flexible, and scalable approach to Human-Centered Design.

Mural and LUMA System Logo Lockup

Mural is the only platform that offers both a shared workspace and training on the LUMA System™, a practical way to collaborate that anyone can learn and apply.