The Business Model Canvas can be considered as a graphic organizer (high level TreeMap) that shows 9 tessellated elements, tiles, or “building blocks” of an archetypal business model. Since the 2009 publication of Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur’s “Business Model Generation” book, use and popularity of the Business Model Canvas (BMC) have surged worldwide.
The BMC is enthusiastically used by entrepreneurs, startups, established businesses, and non-profit organizations as well as university students, lecturers, and selected scientists from America’s National Science Foundation program. But is the BMC efficiently being used? Is the traditional BMC a “living organism” that would evolve to a higher level or simply become extinct in the jungle of tools for Business Model Planning, Strategy, and Performance Management (BMPSPM)?
As a long-time practitioner of TRIZ (“Theory of Inventive Problem Solving”) and an avid observer of idealized systems, a particular question that interests me is this: Would the BMC evolve towards the “Ideal Final Result (IFR)” by disrupting and cannibalizing itself, that is, by becoming multi-functional while instantly using freely available and/or internal resources at little or no cost? In other words, would the BMC evolve from being “good” to being “great” as an adaptive organism?
So far, evolution regarding the graphic organizer of the BMC has been superficial: the visual structure or BMC Gameboard (blank graphic framework) and how to use it have remained the same. So far, the most popular change to the BMC is by Ash Maurya in his Lean Canvas. In the Lean Canvas, 4 topics (Key Partners, Key Activities, Key Resources, and Customer Relationships) are eliminated while being respectively replaced by topics such as Problem, Solution, Key Metrics, and Unfair Advantage. These changes violate the macro-logic of a business model. The Lean Canvas focuses on operationalizing the Lean Startup method which is a methodology for continuously managing highly risky (innovation) projects. However, the Lean Canvas is inadequate for Business Model Planning, Strategy, and Performance Management; the Lean Canvas does not use a business model as a unit of analysis.
Recently, I presented a list of 10 characteristics of a “great” Business Model Canvas. The traditional BMC scored a 3 (out of 10). The 10 characteristics relate to tasks especially in Business Model Planning, Strategy, and Performance Management as well as Business Model Gamification. The question, then, is: how can we “ideally” transform a good BMC to a great BMC? Ideally, we should make little or no changes to the topics of the BMC and logic of a business model. The Lean Canvas falls short of that ideal.
The presentation below shows how one can “gamificate” (turn into a game) the traditional BMC so that it meets the 10 criteria of a great Business Model Canvas.