For those who may not yet have seen the blog post, Alex has created a new tool as an addition to the canvas - the customer value canvas. It can be found through the link at the bottom of the Hub home page, or here

Business Model Alchemist

One of the most difficult challenges an innovation practitioner faces is reconciling all the different theoretical approaches, and variations on leading approaches. Often we are faced with incompatible or contradictory approaches and are left to reconcile the differences or adapt the approaches to make them compatible.

A great example of how approaches can be integrated is the collaboration between Alex Osterwalder and Steve Blank. The addition of the business model canvas to the customer development model (CDM) provided a strong tool to describe what Steve Blank instinctively knew was a key component of the model. The addition of the CDM to the business model canvas provided a process for the business model innovation in a start-up, entrepreneurial environment, to complement the existing business model innovation process in BMG. Steve Blank further extended the integration by the addition of the Lean/Agile product development as a method in "The Start-up Stack".

This new canvas tool takes integration in a different direction, vertical, by creating a 'plug-in' that helps one work out the details of the overall business canvas. Think of it as taking a portion of the canvas (value prop and customer segments) and blowing them up to focus on the details of that relationship. It is also is of great assistance in helping the client to focus on that part of the canvas and to identify and comprehend the relationship.

For some time now I have been experimenting with a couple of plug-ins to help clients work out the details of their value proposition in the business model. I have used the Value Mapping tool from the Board of Innovation, and the Whiteboard value map that is described in Cooper & Valskovitz's Entrepreneur's Guide to Customer Development. I have also experimented with some of the approaches in Ash Maurya's Running Lean; in particular, identifying three key problems and three solutions.

One of the best approaches I have plugged into the customer-value proposition analysis is the 'job-to-be-done' approach of Clayton Christensen and Mark Johnson. I use it in a table that has three columns. The first identifies the potential customers. The second column identifies the job each of these has to get done with which we can help, The third column identifies the need that customer has to get the job done. The 'need' becomes the value proposition in the model. By looking at column one we can identify key groupings of customers with similar jobs to form segments. Column three allows us to group based on value proposition and develop bundles of products and services.

I like this new tool by Alex and will be interested to see what the Hub community thinks of it and how it can evolve.

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Since writing this post, I have had a couple of conversations with people about the tools they are using and the importance of integration of ideas.

I would be very interested in hearing from the community about any tools or frameworks they have integrated with the BMG approach and the canvas. Please share, examples would be great.

Hello Mike,

Since we are looking into business models, not sure if you've read Randy Komissar's book,

Getting to Plan B : 

Merging both frameworks will add important questions one could raise while conducting the assessments.

Just reading this book ("Getting to Plan B") now and enjoying it.

I note that the author mentions FIVE (5) business model considerations (all traditionally profit-motive based only) that he depicts as a "grid" and they include:

  1. Revenue Model
  2. Gross Margin Model
  3. Operating Model
  4. Working Capital Model
  5. Investment Model

I'm pretty sure that these can be derived from Alex's iPad software application since they are all calculations.  Has anyone done this "manually"?  Just curious.


I'm willing to share my work in terms of integrating the two models or showing how the BMC with the usual calculations would produce each of these items.  Anyone else interests in this?

I would like to create the iPad Toolbox for the PC if I could get a look at it without buying an iPad. Anyone know how to look at what's included without the expense?


You might be better served to look at Alexander's web-based tool Strategyzer

It has taken the features of the iPad Toolbox and extended them with the inclusion of the Value Proposition canvas, assumption testing, timeline and the Academy educational tools.

It has wrapped all this up in a slick web-tool accessible from any computer, iPad (or other tablet) and phone. 


Hi  Ken , this is quite  interesting .Kindly share  what  you  have  done and let's  see whether  these two approaches  to business  model  generation actually merge !


I tend to use a combination of Lean Startup, Customer Development, Kanban, Continuous Delivery and Iterative Development practices with the Business Model Canvas.

I use Empathy Maps, User Personas, 4 Actions Framework, AARRR Metrics, Kanban Boards, Experience Maps and others depending on the context.

The initial flow I follow is usually something like Vision Statement -> BMC -> Empathy Maps for the most important Customer Segments -> Experiments to validate/invalidate the Customer and Problem Hypotheses.

I thread the customer through the process so that the work isn't accidentally decoupled from the vision or the model. I want the customer problem to be at the center of it all.

While I've used the Value Prop Designer it hasn't resonated with me yet. Seems to be a mashup of an Empathy Map and Jobs-to-be-done which I can already address without introducing yet another tool.

Don't get me wrong I dig Alex's work and have a lot of respect for both he and Dave Gray, I just don't see a need for this tool in the consulting work I do yet.

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. I try to write and speak about what I do when I have time.


Thanks for the contribution David.

Two days ago I was speaking to a group on the comparison of enterprise architecture and business models (i.e. business design). By profession I am a Business Analyst and have spent time working on business and enterprise architecture. One of the critical differences I have found in the two communities (architecture and design) is the importance of integration of ideas that seems to permeate the design community. Architecture is a very competitive space and each approach (Zachman, TOGAF...) tends to portray itself as the complete and only solution to everything. I acknowledge that may be a bit of an exaggeration.

What really thrills me about the business model, or business design / entrepreneurial community is how thought leaders are more concerned with, or conscious of how the theoretical views can integrate. Steve Blank's "Startup Stack" is a prime example of this.

Beyond the theoretical though is how practitioners, like David, have integrated many approaches to create effective solutions. There is no 'right' or 'approved' answer to how this is done. But by understanding and integrating different elements, there is a very effective tool set for addressing issues.

I find great productivity in the Value Proposition Canvas; to the point where I have stopped using the Empathy map. As I write this I am about to meet a client to look at a new product line. The critical discussion we will have is focussed on understanding the potential customers, their pains and anticipated gains. Only by understanding those can they design and evaluate the effectiveness of their offer.

@David - I really like the way you have pulled all those approaches together.

If you are interested, I'm beginning to social an Experiment Map tool I've been using in workshops and at clients. It is rather simple but the conversations and outcomes are quite productive. I find it helps gives a team focus on their vision, what risky assumptions are in that vision and what experiments they are running to prove/disprove those assumptions.

I tend to use it with Empathy Maps and the BMC.

I'm doing a webinar on it in June and speaking at a few Lean Startup Circles and events about it.

Just a thought.


It might be worthwhile to socialize your ideas here in the Hub community. They have been a pretty good sounding board for a number of ideas ver the past couple of years.


I am very interested to learn about your experiment map.




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