Next-gen digital whiteboards: 7 shared canvas apps for visual collaboration

Online whiteboards were just the beginning. With hybrid workforces on the horizon, today’s visual collaboration tools are a key component to keep everyone on the same canvas when brainstorming, planning, and managing projects.

visual collab tools lucidspark voting
Lucidspark

Digital collaboration platforms have seen an explosion of interest over the past year, as all-remote teams look to provide better ways for employees to brainstorm, develop products, manage projects, and more. Once used mainly by software development teams, these platforms have expanded horizontally to include users from across the enterprise looking for visual collaboration tools that go beyond the basic whiteboard function found in online meeting platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Webex.

As teams begin to explore return-from-remote strategies for the post-Covid era, companies may want to look at these tools to provide visual collaboration for their employees. Not everyone will return to the office, and many organizations are looking to deploy a hybrid work strategy where some employees work in an office some days of the week, others come in on other days, and whoever’s not in the office works remotely.

In this scenario, you can’t return to meetings where people brainstorm with sticky notes or draw ideas on a physical whiteboard. All of these processes need to exist in a continuous digital form.

“A topic of conversation that comes up every day now in a hybrid environment is, ‘How do we provide collaboration equity, so that those who are remote have the same access to the same information and influences?’” said Mike Fasciani, senior research director for digital workplace applications at Gartner. “The physical whiteboard is less relevant in that kind of setup.”

Practices established during the pandemic, such as exploring visual collaboration tools, will likely remain in a hybrid world, Fasciani said. “The hybrid work environment just presents new challenges around how to integrate the virtual world with our physical conferences. It’s an ongoing challenge that hasn’t quite been solved yet.”

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