Online Workshop- Business Model Canvas

See also: Business Model Canvas Tutorial.

In this Business Model Canvas workshop, you’ll learn how to frame and answer key questions about a business model and its execution.

Learning Objectives

  1. Ability to substantially ideate, describe, evaluate and discuss a business model using the Business Model CanvasBusiness-Model-Canvas-Annoted-Small
  2. Hands-on understanding of how to user personas and problem scenarios to articulate the Offer’s key drivers
  3. Hands-on understanding of how to use the AIDA(OR) framework and storyboards to evaluate the effectiveness of Customer Relationships and Channels
  4. Understanding of business type and how to evaluate Key Activities, Resources, and Partnerships in this context


The workshop slides:
[scribd id=237914517 key=key-keyGhvGNXA05zzTeNEO9 mode=scroll]


The workshop, on Youtube:

Preparation & Prerequisites

The casual user can simply print out the Canvas using the PDF below, grab a few index cards (or sheets of paper) and follow the agenda below.

Instructor notes: The checklists below describe ‘minimum viable preparation’ and additional related preparation.

Minimum Viable Preparation

  1. Review the slides and materials below
  2. Review the Business Model Canvas Tutorial (skip the slides- they’re the same as below)
  3. Print an organize the storyboarding squares for use in the AIDA(OR) exericse (Three copies of each page per student is what I’d recommend if you have a group over 5. Otherwise, you can just print a quantity of them and let the students grab what they want, buffet style.). You can skip this exercise if you don’t want to prep. the squares but: a) I find participants end up with pretty arbitrary output for Channels and Relationships otherwise and b) it’s an easy intro. to a powerful technique you may find useful. See the Storyboarding Workshop for more detail.
  4. I recommend pens or ideally sharpies for writing and colored pencils for creating notes on linkages between items on the canvas (but a simple pen or pencil will do fine)

Additional Preparation

  • Review the tutorials on the underlying tools and frameworks from the exercises:
    • Personas
    • AIDA(OR)

If you’re interested in the surrounding body of work on Venture Design, see that link and if you’re interested in a structure program for product design & entre/intra-preneurship, check out Startup Sprints.


PDF of the Canvas

This links to a printable worksheet for the Business Model Canvas. I produce two copies per participant in case they want to split it up or start over.

Storyboarding Squares

Cutting-Storyboard-Squares STORYBOARDING SQUARES

For workshops, group exercises, and generally getting started with storyboarding, I like to use these paper squares and a sharpie/pen. The PDF you can download here has a set of typical scenes which you can print out and use. They do need to be cut or ripped since there are two/page. You’ll find cutting marks and the individual pages and what I actually like to do is use a metal ruler and just rip them (see left).

Google Doc (Post-Workshop)

I DO NOT recommend using the Google Doc during the workshop- students will spend much more time than is allocated to work with the Google Doc application (vs. paper and pen/cil). But, depending on your format, you may want to make students aware of the resource for follow-up presentations and distribution of their canvas.

Workshop Agenda


Item Time (min.) Materials & Technique
Intro talk on Business Model Canvas & the Venture Design curriculum 5 Slides: 1-20
Importance of the Customer Segment to Value Proposition pairing(s) as primary ‘independent’ variable for a business model and use of design thinking as a tool to focus and improve that pairing 10 Slides: 21-40
Exercise: Write Down as many personas as you can for your venture/product 5 Slide: 41

– index cards: one persona per index card (these cards will come back into play in later exercises)

– give each persona a first name- ‘Andrew the Account’
– each team member should do this individually (they can compare notes later)

Exercise: Are they buyers, users, or both? Note on each Post-It with a ‘B’, and/or ‘U’ 1 Slide 42

Materials: Use those same index cards, annotating each with a ‘B’ and/or ‘U’.

Exercise: Can you think of 5 real people for each? 2 Slide 43

Materials: use the back of the existing index cards

Exercise: Sort the personas. Which have the most compelling need, desire? Why? 1 Slide: 44
Exercise: Brainstorm
:: problem scenarios
:: alternatives
:: your value propositions
7 Slide: 45

– index cards: one trio of problem scenario-alternative-value proposition’s per card
– What problems (desires) do you believe the various personas have that are relevant to your venture?
– What’s their alternative (or alternatives)? What are they doing right now instead of using your product?
– What’s your value proposition for them?
– Participants do NOT need to link these to personas yet.

Exercise: Prioritize problem scenario to VP trios 2 Slide: 46

– Like the personas, think about which VP you would pitch if you had to choose one. Then which?
– sort the index cards accordingly

Exercise: Map Personas to Value Propositions on Canvas 3 Slide: 47

– printed Canvas
– colored pencils (optional) or pen/sharpieNotes:- list the prioritized Personas in the Customer Segments box and the prioritized Value Propositions (from the ‘trios’) in the Value Proposition box
– link the Personas to the Value Propositions that are relevant to each
– Customer Segments are not the same as Personas; but at this early stage the workshop uses personas instead

Exercise: Create a positioning statement 4 Slide: 48

Materials: index card/sNotes:
– This is important for the next step. As the participants present to each other, it’s important they lead with some general context about the venture

Peer Presentations 8 Slide: 49

– Continue with: positioning statement on index card, annotated Canvas
– Students pair up and ‘pitch’ each other with the guidelines on the slide, 4 minutes per side
– Ideally, students in teams break up and commingle with others so they can get a fresh perspective

The importance of describing the customer journey for evaluating Customer Relationships and Channels. The use of AIDA(OR) as a framework for this and storyboarding as a visualization/narration tool. 5 Slides: 50-58
Exercise: Storyboarding AIDAOR 10 Slide: 59

Materials: storyboarding squares: 3/type/student

Break 10
Exercise: Describe Customer Relationships 5 Slide: 60

Materials:Canvas (Customer Relationships block)Notes: see key points and examples on slide

Exercise: Channels 5 Slide: 61

Materials: Canvas (Channels block)

Exercise: Peer Presentations 5 Slide: 62
Exercise: Describe Revenue Streams 3 Slide: 63-64

Materials: Canvas (Revenue Streams block)

Exercise: Map Revenue Streams to Personas and VP’s 2 Slide: 65

Notes: Basically, this is extending the Personas to VP mappings to one or more Revenue Streams each (if applicable)


Item Time (min.) Materials & Technique
Business model type and corporate focus. Its relationship to evaluation of Key Activities, Key Resources, Partnerships and ultimately cost drivers (Cost Structure) 5 -Slides: 66-70
Exercise: Describe Key Activities 3 Slide: 71
Exercise: Describe Key Resources 3 Slide: 72
Exercise: Describe Key Partnerships 3 Slide: 73
Talk: Managing cost drivers in a new venture 3 Slides: 74-75
Exercise: Describe Cost Structure 3 Slide: 76
Exercise: Describe cost drivers relative to Key Activities and Revenue Streams 3 Slide: 77

Materials: colored pencils (optional) or pen/sharpieNotes:The basic idea here is to answer the question: ‘How do your Key Activities & Resources drive cost? Are the costs fixed or variable (note on description of cost)? How do those in turn drive revenue?’

Exercise: Peer presentations 4  Slide: 78
Closing notes 2  Slides: 79-81