The Business Model Canvas in the Boardroom

Boardroom discussions around business strategy are stressful and challenging no matter which side of the table you belong to. As a strategy consultant you do a lot of work behind the scene to propose a business model to a client. The communication usually involves charts, management models, possibly even infographics along with some rigorous financials. You absorb the client feedback, and then prepare for the next meeting – usually with every rework the level of trust gets a bit lower and project cost increases.

The corporate side of it can be equally demanding. Brand teams work hard to create innovative business models that are relevant to their local market or business situation. They work overtime close to the annual business review to present their plan to Senior Management that has flown in for a few hours. This meeting can define their future for the next year – and often it can be a hit or miss.
In both cases I have been part of business model discussions that have been one sided, heavy with information and lacking in constructive dialogue. The discovery of a Service Design tool, the Business model canvaswas a pleasant awakening to improved ways of communication. This is a one page chart that defines 9 key building blocks of a business model, and allows you to fill it in with visual elements. 
The key benefits of using this tool to represent your business model:
  1. Simplifies: You see a holistic business model in one slide. The use of colors and graphical representation make it easy to understand. Gaps and strengths stand out quickly
  2. Facilitates: Discussions become interactive and feedback can be incorporated in real time. Sticky notes provide flexibility and foster innovation
  3. Includes: The strategizing process can become more collaborative, as this tool appeals to a wider audience. Get insights from other functions, disciplines and stakeholders of  the business for better brainstorming. The user needs are a starting point in this tool, incorporating a human centered approach.
Give it a try – even if your a left brained management type of person like me. It looks like a lightweight tool, but it allows for structured thought in a flexible and creative way. 
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