The Lean Canvas is an adaption of the Business Model Canvas designed by Ash Maurya to reflect the business models of digital startups versus large enterprises. Like Osterwalder’s, Maurya’s canvas has nine boxes, but it eliminates the Key Partners, Key Activities, Key Resources, and Customer Relationships boxes, and adds Problem, Solution, Unfair Advantage, and Key Metrics boxes. He also adds subsections to three boxes—Existing Alternatives, High-Level Concept, and Early Adopters—so maybe his canvas now has twelve boxes.
Maurya’s explanation for the changes is straightforward and compelling: include boxes for parts of
|THE LEAN CANVAS 9 BOXES|
|Problem: What customer need are you trying address?|
|Solution: What is your high-level approach to solving the customer problem?|
|Key Metrics: How will you measure the progress toward solving the problem and growing the business?|
|Unique Value Proposition: This becomes a finally honed marketing message that describes the unique way—using the unfair advantage—this business solves the need of its market.|
|Unfair Advantage: What do you bring to the table that no one else has? This could be patents, trade secrets, insights, relationships, and/or partners.|
|Channels: How will you reach your customer to market and sell?|
|Customer Segments: What market segments will you pursue?|
|Cost Structure: What forms the basis for the cost of your product? What amount must you cover with sales?|
|Revenue Streams: How will you make money?|
the business model where there is a high risk to a startup. For example, it is unlikely—not impossible, but unlikely—that a startup’s “Partners” is a high-risk item. As a matter of fact, if that was the case, it would certainly struggle to get investors. (Again, Osterwalder’s canvas originally had a different intention, so this should not be viewed as a criticism.)
As with the Lean Innovation section, you might see how these two canvases might be complementary. An established business seeking to innovate might start with the Business Model Canvas to accurately detail nine components of the existing business. Using Jobs-to-be-Done, innovators might explore the existing jobs being done by or affecting stakeholders in all nine boxes.
Based on unmet needs, a startup is spun up to further investigate a specific market segment-unmet need combination. That startup team is perhaps better served filling out a Lean Canvas at this point, rather than its own version of a Business Model Canvas.