Box Canvas: Join the beta for new ways to collaborate

For many of us, the New Year is a time for reflection and a chance to spark positive change. Yearly, we make resolutions like improving finances and organization, or taking more active approaches to our health. At Box, we’re committing to simplifying (and improving) the way people work together, and we have some exciting news to help you make this change your reality.

With the flood of technology and apps that have entered the market over the last few years, navigating hybrid work has become increasingly difficult (Orgs use an average of 187 applications. Ouch.). And, with more apps comes more complexity — not to mention more fragmentation and more data silos. It all sounds like more work, and this is one time when more isn’t better.

Introducing an entirely new way to connect, collaborate, and inspire innovation

Designed digitally from the start, the Content Cloud is purpose-built to secure your content and power collaboration. And, when it comes to work, our goal is it to help you brainstorm, create, curate, and analyze directly within Box — simply and securely from anywhere, with anyone. That’s why we’re extremely excited to announce the beta release of Box Canvas.

Box Canvas

Box Canvas is an intuitive, visual collaboration and digital whiteboarding experience. With infinite space, unlimited Canvases, and an intuitive, easy-to-use toolset, Canvas powers freeform collaboration, helping your and your teams move ideas from brainstorming to execution, securely within Box. So go ahead, explore the big picture, examine all the moving parts, and zoom in on the details for everything from product creation and process plans to marketing campaigns and account overviews.

Box Canvas

Canvas is designed to address business needs and turn ideas into action by offering:

  • A flexible feature set: From sticky notes to emojis and comments, you’ve got plenty of options to generate creative solutions and provide feedback
  • Freeform drawing and visual elements: Shapes, connectors, and more empower teams to work in ways that make them most productive
  • Premade templates: Get a quick start on projects, along with real-time notifications and tagging that alerts collaborators when something needs attention
  • Internal and external sharing: Work together in real time, individually or with anyone, inside or outside your business
  • Enterprise-grade security and compliance: Reduce complexity and risk, and securely integrate Box Shield, Governance, and Relay with your other go-to apps

Available to all Box customers, the Canvas beta can be easily enabled from the Admin Console. See how in this Box Community article. And, most importantly, we need your feedback! Once you’ve enabled and used Canvas, if you have feedback please be sure to let us know on Pulse.

Box Canvas

3 ways to follow through on our resolution of simplifying (and improving) collaboration

We’ve set our goal and mentally prepared for change, but we want to make sure our resolution to simplify and improve the way you work together doesn’t fall flat. You may have heard this before, but SMART goals —  Simple, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Sensitive — are essential. Below are three ways to follow through and use Canvas to help improve communication and teamwork.

Start small, get feedback

Some orgs may be ready to dive right in and enable Canvas for all users but that may not work for everyone. When we first launched Canvas internally at Box, we extended it to a small group of users (about 20) who thrive on experimenting with new communication styles and features. We were able to get feedback from them and incorporate it into our Boxer-wide release and training.

Our recommended approach is to find that first group, possibly admins, IT, or support teams and add them to an allowed list (up to 100) for a period of time (for example, two weeks) so they can become familiar with Canvas. Once your experts are comfortable, you can then enable Box Canvas for all managed users. Be sure to get feedback where able and do pass it along to us!

Don’t be afraid to be visual

True story, but I was afraid of the whiteboard — if you’ve ever seen me draw, you’d understand (my stick figures are legendary when it comes to hangman but less than stellar when I try to sketch out an onboarding workflow). Here’s the thing, if you don’t try, you’ll never get better. By practicing my skills at whiteboarding, I found that it soon became second nature to map out a campaign flow or a platform diagram (even though my drawing really hasn’t gotten better) and that helped me connect with my team and ultimately build out better ideas.

Visual thinking helps layout all the possibilities: getting people get out of their own heads and bridging the gap with others so they can understand complex ideas or processes. Canvas centralizes your content in one place so its available to everyone, helps you lay your thoughts out, and connects us, no matter if we are working from home or the office, the USA or the UK. And most importantly, we can all get engaged and contribute to a Canvas — even anonymously. So, kick off your meetings with an icebreaker (two truths and a lie anyone?) or set up virtual water cooler time. And when you’re getting ready to roll up your sleeves and work, use Canvas to tell a story when you’re planning your next marketing campaign, diagramming the sales process, or organizing and analyzing team (and customer feedback) for your next retrospective. The more you use Canvas, the easier it becomes and the more it takes thinking far beyond what words could say.

Invite your team to the party, securely

When you make visuals a part of meetings, planning processes, and deliverables, you add dimension that helps with engagement and understanding. Additional benefits include improved communication, increased participation, and higher efficiency.

With Canvas, we make working together incredibly simple. Share a Canvas by add collaborators’ email addresses or by creating a secure, shared link. You can work on a Canvas with internal team members or external stakeholders (depending on your org’s permissions). And of course keep of track of your collaborators with in-line cursors, so you’re more productive. When kicking off a Canvas session with new users, try using a warm up poll or exercise to introduce them to the features!

Again, we are so excited to release Box Canvas in beta and hope that this new way to collaborate will help your teams innovate and work together securely, to achieve better results.

The Box Canvas beta is available to all customers and can be enabled from the Admin Console. Register for our webinar, happening Wednesday, January 18, at 11 a.m. PST to get tips and tricks on how to set up and use Canvas in your org.