Skip main navigation

What is a Lean Model Canvas?

In this section, you will learn how to apply the Lean Canvas.
Social Innovation Lean Canvas

Your business model is an integrated view of your entire organisation, bringing together your social model, strategy and operational plans. These components form the ‘engine’ of your organisation, with your vision and mission providing the context of what you do. A business model describes how an organisation creates, delivers, and captures value.

A good way to keep your business model front and centre in your mind is by using a Lean Canvas model. This simple, one-page sheet asks you key questions that are vital to your operation. You might even use this Canvas several times in the process, as elements are bound to change as you refine your idea and move toward implementing it (see pdf documents and an explanatory video of the Lean Canvas below).

How to Create a Lean Model Canvas

1) Read the Lean Model Canvas: Key Definitions and watch the video given in the resources below. These will guide you through the different sections of the Business Model Canvas.

2) Print out a Lean Model Canvas.

3) Sit down and start to fill out the sections of the Lean Model Canvas. When you fill it out the first time, expect for there to be holes. It’s okay not to know exactly how everything will work.

4) You may need to leave some columns blank, do research or reflect on them, and then come back and fill them out.

5) When you’re done, go test those assumptions in the outside world and revise the Canvas with what you learned.

If you don’t have a business idea, apply the Lean Canvas model to one of these organisations:

Case 1: Circo Para Todos An organisation that support disadvantaged children and youth in Colombia by teaching them circus arts as a profession. Discover the story of Circo Para Todos.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Case 2: Sealand Sealand make upcycled bags built to last a lifetime. Sealand is based in Cape Town, a dramatically beautiful city in South Africa where oceans and mountains vividly meet.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

This article is from the free online

Social Innovation: Global Solutions for a Sustainable Future

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education