Social business models canvas
The canvas at the first level is a brainstorming tool. It can address all critical issues to launch a new project or a new organization / company.
Organized into nine blocks, the instrument is designed to be printed or drawn on large sheets of paper, or projected onto a whiteboard, and gradually completed with ideas or designs, written on small pieces of paper like post-its .
Attached tools facilitate the documentation of the results obtained during the exercise.
This tool can be used by a large diversity of people like:
- Persons carrying social projects, social field workers
- Organizations with a strong societal impact, umbrella organizations
- Academic field workers, teachers, facilitators, animators
- Entrepreneurs aware of their social impact
When an organization is created or is being reviewed, it is often necessary to take a step back to look at it as a whole.
It is crucial that the whole team supporting the organization may share the same views on her, about what it does, for who it does, and what it seeks as societal impact.
The canvas becomes the referential for a more detailed construction, constituting the backbone of other tools.
Its use allows to share a same vision of the organization and also promotes creativity.
The brainstorming exercise with the canvas is, in principle, unlimited, being easy and relatively quick to perform and document.
The definition of the blocks has to be shared by everyone prior to initiating a session. Depending on the group's degree of ease, the presence of a facilitator who already practiced the canvas can be useful.
Warning: the assumptions made during the meetings are to be confronted with the field reality!.
A first canvas is rarely definitive. Several reflection cycles, alternating canvas and field validation are required, before moving to the next level.
- Social Business Models
- The impact Hub Geneva
- LGBT Youth
- Business Model Canvas: Osterwalder et Pigneur
- Lean Canvas: Ash Maurya
- Social Lean Canvas: Rowen
- Logic Framework: World Bank
The first level of the framework is intended to be used in a brainstorming session with the team carrying the social business model.
It is designed to be printed or drawn on large sheets of paper, or projected onto a whiteboard, and gradually filled by ideas or drawings, written on small adhesive paper or post-its.
The first level of the framework is composed of nine blocks, leading to answer some fairly basic questions. The limitation to nine blocks fosters creativity and the diversity of thoughts, a more systemic approach and a more interactive work, less detail oriented.
According to the motivations of participants and the organization, the values affirmation and the eight questions can be addressed starting with any block and follow a sequential or completely random walk; however, the "Values", "Why" and "Who" blocks are the most representative of the social business behavior of the canvas.
This work should be done preferably in groups of 4 to 8 people, in order to enrich the thinking and collective creativity.
In the table below, you can find the values affirmation and the eight base questions with their explanation and their sub-questions.
The shared values
The values of the people carrying the business model are at the center of the canvas and are more a statement than a question, because they probably already exist and are shared, thus influencing the business model. They are the foundations of the business model because when integrated with the culture of the organization, they will manifest themselves in behaviors, further transcribed into action principles, and finally will be reflected into the actions and so will be impact generators.
This basic question basically refers to the societal impact that the model business may cause. You can decline it into:
This basic question refers to all audiences for which the business model will meet and try to solve the needs. You can decline it into:
This basic question refers to the context in which the business model will be developed. You can decline it into:
This fundamental question refers to what the business model will provide to its customers segments. You can decline it into:
This question refers to the bridge between the future products and services, generated by the business model, and its different target audiences. You can decline it into:
Behind this question lies the whole production of the business model, including:
This question reflects the saying "Alone we run faster, together we go far ahead." You can decline it into:
This last question closes the loop, looking back at the "Why", assuming the premise of which is not measurable is pure subjectivity. You can decline it into:
- Write only keywords on post-its, preferably with large markers;
- Respect the time allowed to each person putting a post-it on the canvas;
- Follow the basic rules of brainstorming: no censorship and so on...
- Bounce again on presented the ideas and concepts!
It takes at least an hour to the exercise of creating a business model through the canvas. This can allow the group to make two or three versions of the canvas, in the space of half a day, before working in more detail.
It is recommended, if the exercise is done on a poster or with a beamer projection on a white wall, to take several photographs during its creation.
A good practice is that everybody prepares several post-its, and when he affixes them onto the poster or the board, to talk time for short explanations, which allow other participants to "bounce" over the ideas and concepts presented.
The example below is a canvas made around an Innovation transfer project, in the context of the european program Leonardo da Vinci:
Click on the image to enlarge it
The first one display contains explanations of the blocks and can print legible printed in A1 and A2. The second does not contain any explanations.
It complements well the photograph of the poster with its stucked post-its.
Example: The Social Business Models' canvas
Below you will find the canvas reproducing our own association business model, made during some committee meetings and working groups, and then carried in one of the instruments attached to the page tool.
However, it should be considered that this is one of the possible representations and it is not entirely immutable.
Even if the mission (why, who and what) basically remain the same over time, new value propositions may arise and other items are subject to change and to be improved.
Not only the context can change, but new partnerships can be concluded, the working methods may change, as well as financial flows.
You will find in this compilation of views expressed during the first sessions of the committee.
Click on the image to enlarge it
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