Championing Design Thinking & Transformation with MURAL

'Design Thinking', a creative and highly collaborative process used to visualise ideas, identify challenges, craft solutions & ultimately drive growth

The digital consumer landscape is evolving at a rapid pace and no matter the type of industry or organisation size, in order to stay competitive in the future brands need to be equipped with the tools and the skills that allow them to readily adapt to this ever-changing digital landscape.

The digital consumer landscape is evolving at a rapid pace and no matter the type of industry or organisation size, in order to stay competitive in the future brands need to be equipped with the tools and the skills that allow them to readily adapt to this ever-changing digital landscape.

Don’t worry, it’s not as daunting as it sounds! One of the most widely used methodologies that harness the core skills to encourage agility is 'Design Thinking', a creative and highly collaborative process used to visualise ideas, identify challenges, craft solutions and ultimately drive growth. And... it’s actually a very fun exercise once you get going!

Traditionally this type of collaborative process would be held in the form of brainstorming around a whiteboard or A1 paper in a conference room with your team. MURAL has taken that to another level, facilitating real-time collaboration within a digital workspace, worldwide! As avid users of MURAL ourselves, we champion the use of design-thinking in our everyday work, from digital workshops to consulting and problem-solving with destinations across the globe. We also use MURAL extensively in our newly launched Digital Transformation Series, and it is a pivotal tool in facilitating the creative ideation needed for transformation, and getting the whole team together to share and collect ideas, wherever they may be.

We caught up with the MURAL team at their offices in San Francisco to find out more about this incredible platform and how they continue to pioneer Remote Design Thinking.

What are the principles of Design Thinking?

Design thinking is a visually creative and customer-centric process which allows companies to understand the organisation, understand it's customer and identify its business challenges to then effectively craft and apply solutions based on the findings. The process oversees end to end campaign planning, starting from the initial discovery and ideation, through all the different touch-points and stages to implementation.

Visually mapping out this process is also known as Journey Mapping, looking at an individual as a customer of a service and essentially mapping out the full experience and then aligning your organisation to it. In the case of DMOs, this involves mapping out the complete customer journey from Dreaming to Sharing, to critically evaluate and understand every stage, challenge and opportunity from start to finish.

How is MURAL pioneering Remote Design Thinking?

MURAL, founded in 2014, is a customer-centric, digital workspace that facilitates the process of Design Thinking through virtual collaboration for distributed teams. Customisable canvas’ allow teams to ideate, plan and apply findings, while enabling companies to effectively scale creativity across multiple locations whether that’s regional, national or global.

For DMOs, MURAL is the ideal platform for working together across markets, as well as creatively collaborating with the all-important partners and stakeholders of your destination. A varied set of perspectives and input means more ideas and the best possible outcome.

Despite the name, design thinking is not just for designers and the platform is constantly evolving into a much more cross-collaborative tool. MURAL are huge advocates of embracing remote work and creativity, and encourages businesses to invest in yourselves and team to understand and innovate your product from within - understanding your core customer needs, problems, challenges and solutions. MURAL enables teams to develop these skills in a comfortable environment (wherever they choose to be) and the nature of the digital workspace also empowers people to actively share their ideas whereas a more conventional setting could potentially hold back open creativity.

Aaron Richman from MURAL explains the 3 key elements involved in design thinking;

  1. Empathising - This relates to identifying your customer persona in order to fully understand  everything about what they want, need, care about, what their challenges are, what they want to see in your destination etc.
  2. Defining problem sets - After putting yourself in your customers shoes and empathising with their wants and needs, the next step is using that understanding to identify key problems throughout the journey.
  3. Ideating - Once the main problems have been identified, the team ideates around the problem, brainstorming solutions, identifying relevant trends and finally establishing ways to implement these findings.

Future Platform Developments

MURAL is constantly evolving and developing its platform based on user-research and feedback, streamlining the process further and making it as user-friendly and efficient as possible. One of the key developments based on customer feedback is the MURAL Scan App. The app allows you to scan physical post-it notes and instantly transcribes all the information directly onto a MURAL board, effectively bridging the gap between digital and analogue to save time and most importantly, not miss out on any of the great ideas and sketches generated in the session.

How can Design Thinking work for your destination?

Along with MURAL, we believe that design thinking is going to become an essential process for organisations to stay competitive in today’s market. For travel and destination marketing, incorporating the design thinking process into decision making can provide deeper more valuable insights for destinations to be able to understand the key deciding factors that influence people to visit your destination. The shared creative process is instrumental in spotting emerging consumer trends and travel trends, turning insights into successful innovations and matching these key findings to the customer journey. We have heaps of downloadable templates on the Launchpad (check out the '12 Stages of Transformation' section) where your team can actively collaborate on a vast range of topics.


Each template is carefully designed based on that particular topic, mapping out the entire process to include key considerations, discussion points, challenges, and plenty of space to ideate.

Access our  worksheet on Design Thinking with Mural below.


Key Takeaways

1. Design Thinking is a fun, creative and highly useful skill in fostering team collaboration, and turning insights and ideas into successful innovations. For example, developing bookable experiences within your destination based on user-research, trends and ideas.

2. In terms of destination marketing, your core customer is central to your future marketing strategies. Journey mapping allows your destination to visually map the full customer journey which is essential to your strategy in order to identify challenges and ideate solutions that will constantly improve the customer experience.  

3. Invest in your business and innovate from within. MURAL not only fosters these key principles throughout companies worldwide, but practices what it preaches. MURAL constantly develops  the platform based on user-research and feedback to improve its functionality, and whilst there are no tangible results, a recent study has evaluated the true impact of Design Thinking.

Published on:
November 2020
About the contributor