Third Stage: Meta-BMC - what makes a good business model canvas?

Research of known effective materials:

Udacity course: How to Build a Startup, Lesson 4: Business Models and Customer Development

  1. Hypothesis Or Guesses
  2. Hypothesis testing

Strategyzer: Business model canvas instruction manual

Strategyzer: Designing crystal clear business model canvases

Strategyzer: Business model design space card deck

Christian Doll Copy of the Business model design space card deck

Yves Pigneur Slide deck for Disruptive Business Model

Strategyzer: The business model canvas one page pdf:

Google docs Template for the business model canvas Make sure to view the entire canvas here - there are sticky notes 'outside' the document.

Business Model Canvas "Fiddle"


Card deck one of two: Meta Business Model Canvas

The business model canvas is just one tool.
It has a place in the continuum of broad view and narrowly focused
resources for modelling businesses.

The business model canvas is shaped by four areas:
Left is industry forces, Top is key trends, right is market forces,
bottom is macro-economic trends 

Zooming in gives us customer development and agile engineering.

A good business model canvas stays within it's boundaries.

Sketch out new business ideas or visualize existing businesses.

Used corporately as shared language to have better strategic conversations.

Individually used to structure your thinking.

Front of Card
Deck Back of Card

Card deck two of two: What makes a good business model canvas?

Coarse grained visual indicators:
A large rectangle, suitable for the environment and the participants.
Regular size 3x3" post it notes
Black only, standard sharpie

Ground rules for physical and virtual canvases:
Don't write on the canvas. 
Keep things flexible with mobile ideas on stickys.
Move things on and off the canvas.
Include text and imagery on each sticky.

Do not use a white board, as it will encourage writing on the canvas
directly, diluting it's effectiveness.

As we find insights, we will change the canvas by moving stickys off or
adding new ones.

One idea per sticky
Don't make bullet points on stickys. 
Use two sticky notes to describe two different concepts. 
    Like physical store sales and your companys web-store.

It is supposed to be dynamic.
This approach allows you to play with the elements of the business model
    to gain understanding.

Use these same concepts for physical and virtual canvases

Whether a paper on the wall or the business model canvas fiddle, follow
the same concepts of what makes a good business model canvas.

Front of Card
Deck Back of Card


Print out many of the business model canvases, then draw your iconagraphy and start populating based on the questions at the current level. Don't worry about perfection, but do start with a real value proposition you want to test. Do focus on meeting the standards of the tool. That is, don't dig deep into the business model canvas book or the value proposition detailed questions yet. Stay focused on just the highest level for right now, then stage 4 and 5 of the program overview will allow you to get hyper focused when you are ready.

Specifically, as you develop business model canvases, don't get distracted by the detailed components of what makes a key partner for example. Just answer the top level questions: "What key partners and suppliers are neccessary to make the busines model work?" and "Who are your customers, and why would they buy?"

Here is a simple SVG business model canvas created in inkscape. It will not print correctly from inkscape, but looks close enough when printed from Firefox on linux to a HP OfficeJet PRO X576DW MFP.

Lessons learned:

Meta-BMC cards took 10 minutes for straight through memorization What makes a good BMC cards to 27 minutes for straight through memorization

It's so powerful. It's so encouragingly effective. Actually went through this research, incorporation stages, and I am transformed through the study and knowledge. Now for the execution part. Now to make a business model canvas according to the known effective execution materials from the Steve Blank resources:

Links to the exact materials used:

A large rectangle, suitable for the environment and the participants:

24" x 36" Heavyweight poster board

Regular size 3x3" post it notes

Black only, standard sharpie

Example canvases Example one Example two