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MURAL Meetup - Reinventing In-Person Facilitation Using Digital Devices

Written by 
Emilia Åström
August 12, 2019

Everything we know about collaborating at work is changing: where it's done, how it's done and who does it. Most conversations are not going to be face-to-face, and we need courageous facilitators to broker dialogs among a widening range of stakeholders right now.

New tools enable different types of collaboration, but the tools themselves don’t create the necessary behavior changes that come with them. Here at MURAL, we’re committed to understanding new ways of collaborating and teaching others how to work with digital mediums.


To that end, at the end of July 2019, MURAL hosted a meetup at the EY wavespace Chelsea NYC in collaboration with Daniel Stillman, Jay Melone and Jim Kalbach on ‘Reinventing In-Person Facilitation Using Digital Devices’.

Jay presenting the Cynefin Framework for problem framing.

Daniel commenting on the importance/difficulty matrix of one of the breakout groups.

Jim sharing insights about the past, present and future of work.

Mingling in front of the networking canvas.

Digital alternatives are available to replace flip-charts and whiteboards. Not only do you save time transcribing content, you can also save time setting up sessions. Remote participants can work on the same workspace as co-located participants, which helps them not feel like second-class citizens.

Collaborate in real time on the Surface Hub with MURAL and Zoom.

But most teams are still hesitant to include (more) screens in their in-person meetings, worried that digital devices will break the natural flow of in-person collaboration. "Mobile phones and laptops away", we often hear declared at the beginning of sessions. And it’s understandable: facilitators need to engage and focus the team so they can collaborate effectively.

Together with our expert facilitators, the participants were taken through an innovation process using digital devices in order to experience its power and for you to learn how this can be valuable for your team.

Visual problem solving using digital whiteboards.

Solving challenges together.

This was a very hands-on meetup - the participants got fully immersed in the innovation process using digital devices.

Touch screens everywhere.

Group activity using the Surface Hub.

Demo of MURAL Scan to digitize stickies instantly and skip hours of transcribing.

When people arrived, they had their photo taken - a photo that they then could drag and place in a matrix on a MURAL canvas. This was used by the organizers to get a sense of the group's previous experience to adapt.

Step 1: have your photo taken.

Step 2: move your photo to the part of the matrix that you identify yourself with.

Step 3: Jim sharing the result of the collaborative input as part of the introduction.

For welcoming both the in-person and online attendees we created a networking canvas that included a little activity and space for leaving personal details. In-person attendees filled this in on the touchscreen display and the online people received a link through the webinar chat to access the mural from their laptop.

Create your digital name-tag.

View remote and in-person participants.

To make sure remote attendees were involved in the meetup, one of our facilitators in the room made sure to loop in the online group for questions.

Use the buddy system to make sure remote participants gets heard.

Join our next meetup in San Francisco: ‘Running Successful Remote Design Sprints


Don’t miss our next meetup! On August 14th we're hosting a meetup in SF at the Steelcase Showroom, in collaboration with Renata Vieira, Robert Skrobe and Katie Plant on ‘Running Successful Remote Design Sprints’.

🕺Sign up here:

💻 In case you can’t make it in-person, you can sign up for the webcast here:

Foto: @bendierckx

About the author

About the authors

Emilia Åström

Emilia Åström is a facilitator and coach of creative and collaborative processes that support digital transformation.