Over the past decade, InVision has obsessed over how to help teams do their best work together. Starting in design, we focused on bringing teams to the table to thoughtfully hone and hand off their work. And with Freehand we’ve brought that same energy to empower cross-functional teams across full organizations to brainstorm, ideate and connect.
We’ve seen first hand those magic moments when a cross-functional team is firing on all cylinders, and learned about the alchemy that is required to have deep engagement, thoughtful ideation and focused execution.
We’re driven by three core beliefs:
- Cross-Functional work is paramount: Be it product prioritization between engineering, product and design, go to market strategy alignment between sales, marketing and customer success, or organizational planning across all functions, the decisions cross-functional teams make have an outsized impact on business success.
- Visual collaboration must be pervasive: Today there is simply too much friction in leading Visual Collaboration solutions. Per-seat pricing is too high and user experience is unintuitive to truly be adopted and exact the change necessary across organizations. Today’s pricing models are optimized for departmental work, but are an impediment for true cross-functional participation. There isn’t a tollbooth in your conference room, so why should there be one in your collaboration tools every time you bring a new teammate in?
- The canvas has to move beyond the digital whiteboard: We’ve seen first hand how the real-time multiplayer canvas can unlock a team’s ability to work together. However, cross-functional teams do more than just brainstorm and ideate, and the canvas has the opportunity to move beyond objects to truly unlock productivity and transform how teams do their work.
We’ve made tremendous progress against these beliefs:
- Thousands of enterprise customers are using Freehand to empower their cross-functional teams to brainstorm, ideate and connect
- We’ve been maniacally focused on ease of use to ensure everyone in an organization feels like they can get started with and immediately create within Freehand (now rated #1 simplest tool by G2)
- We’re inclusively priced. At half the price of Miro and Mural and with flexible flat-rate and ELA options, we are built to ensure there are no barriers for thoughtful and serendipitous collaboration.
And over the past year we’ve been working on a new technology that greatly unlocks a new world of potential on the canvas.
Introducing the Intelligent Canvas
The Intelligent Canvas is a major advancement in visual collaboration that brings deeply immersive and interactive experiences to the canvas that previously were only possible in purpose built standalone solutions. By incorporating this directly onto the canvas, you not only benefit from the spatial and tactile value of a real-time multiplayer experience, but it also unlocks a vast array of use cases through structured data, automation and improved productivity.
The Intelligent canvas consists of three key components when pulled together:
- Smart Objects: While visual collaboration tools benefit from having various objects together on the canvas, those objects are generally unaware of each other or the information contained within. This greatly limits what can be done on the canvas. With Smart Objects, we have created a method to deploy highly interactive objects that contain their own data and can also interact with other objects on the canvas. Smart Objects are developed using our WidgetSDK which gives the power of the canvas to anyone who can code in React.This has made it possible to develop a Smart Object on the canvas in hours rather than weeks.
- Connectors: With connectors we are creating the methods to take advantage of the data models in Smart Objects to add intelligence and automation to workflows. Any user can create their own workflows using Smart Objects and connectors including data interpretation and transformation between objects.
- Bidirectional Integrations: Because the canvas now includes data models, the ability for integrations to sync bidirectionally with common tools across the organization is unlocked. This creates a more seamless exchange between tools and less abrupt context switching.
While we are excited about what’s under the hood, what matters most is the immediate unlocks for our customers. Pulling these components together creates Smart Workflows and starting today we’re introducing two types of Smart Workflows, with many more to come in the weeks ahead.
Task Management: Brainstorm, ideate and act on the canvas
The intersection between structure and unstructured work has always been challenging to navigate and we’re now empowering teams to be even more agile by enabling them to seamlessly pivot from ideation to action and back as projects inevitably hit their twists and turns.
- Visually assign tasks: With the new people cards, you can visually drag and drop people onto a task card to automatically assign ownership.
- Bidirectional integrations: Sync the data from your existing task platform such as Jira to the canvas, collaboratively make changes on the canvas, then automatically sync changes back in real time. This helps connect the unstructured work that happens within visual collaboration to the structured work in task management tools — saving time and establishing completion of tasks within the canvas.
- Capacity plan: Easily size projects and leverage connectors to calculate capacity and evaluate risks in real time.
- Flexible Task Layouts: Visualize tasks in board view and (coming soon) table, gantt and calendar views, allowing teams to synthesize and limit time in updates and status reporting.
Team Activities: Build deeper connections with the team
The path to unlock workplace productivity also means building deeper relationships with teams — most importantly with cross-functional team members who don’t all share the same rituals and rhythms. To help break down these barriers, we have launched a series of smart workflows that help build deeper connections.
- Leaderboard: Whether you’re tracking sales goals or simply playing games, unlocking the competitive juices within a team brings everyone closer together.
- Flip Cards: Which can be leveraged for reviewing customer information, Q&A and retros
- Buzzers and Spinners: Even remote teams can engage more closely by having fun with games, group challenges, and team building exercises
Available today in Open Beta
We’re thrilled to announce that Tasks and Team Activities are available to use today in open beta. Try these new features in our getting started template, and see specific use cases in our template gallery. We have more integrations, and objects coming every week to unlock even more use cases and to solve deeper workplace productivity challenges.
The future of work centers around the canvas
We believe cross-functional work is at the core of what drives the biggest business outcomes. And the launch of Freehand’s intelligent canvas is a major investment in the future of visual collaboration as the center of workplace productivity. With Freehand by InVision organizations can realize:
- A more inclusive experience: The #1 rated easiest to use platform with the most inclusive price at 50% of the cost of Miro and Mural
- A more agile team: Empower teams to be more nimble and seamlessly navigate from brainstorm, to ideation to action without having to context switch.
- Productivity gains: Greatly reduce steps in your existing business processes through intelligence and automation
- No Code bespoke workflows: Tailor fit to your business process needs through easy to create bespoke workflows
Today is only the beginning of our deep investment in the future of work. We’re just getting started, our belief is the Intelligent Canvas unlocks new ways of working through more fluid workflows and deeper connection with cross-functional teams and their functional tools. In the coming months we’ll be adding more Smart Objects, and connections not just with objects on the canvas but also third party services such as OpenAI to deeply transform and accelerate intelligence and automation on the canvas.
Stay tuned as we continue to innovate with Freehand and unlock your organization’s true potential. Learn more at freehandapp.com and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
by Jeff Chow
Jeff Chow is Chief Executive Officer at InVision where he is leading efforts to reimagine how organizations work by bringing visual collaboration and inclusivity to full organizations. Prior to InVision, Jeff led product and product design for the Consumer Experience group at TripAdvisor, was product lead for Google's Newsstand experience (now Google News), and also founded and ran several startups in the mobile, consumer, and marketing spaces.