Friday, August 29, 2014

Business Model Canvas ... the end of a long road.

I'm currently hitting a road block with the latest memes around business model canvas and it's driving me nuts. First, let me be clear, I find business model canvas an extremely useful tool but it's not the beginning but the end of a long road.

Whenever I look at doing something in business, the first thing I do is map out the landscape focusing on the user needs. In figure 1, is an example map (an old early draft) from a section of the security industry.

Figure 1 - Security Industry.


The next thing I do is look at WHERE we can attack i.e. the various plays open to us. This usually is an intensive process of discussion. In figures 2 & 3 are two example plays from a dozen odd potential plays in the map in figure 1.

Figure 2 - Play 1 - a commodity play around Identity.


Figure 3 - Play 2 - Trust as a Service


The map usually provides immediate cues as to what is risky, what has potential now and what has potential for the future. I then normally look at what steps we can use to make the plays happen (see figure 4) looking for supporting and complimentary approaches.

Figure 4 - Potential Steps


I then take these multiples WHEREs and examine the outside market, looking at competitors, inertia they have, inertia we have, what we can exploit, what capabilities are needed, where we can build ecosystems, what constraints exist, buyer / supplier strengths, likely economic effects - an example of a small part of very old map in a different field is provided in figure 5.

Figure 5 - Comparison to outside


I then normally pick a few of the most attractive WHERE's which we can influence highly (either through open approaches or use of dark arts) and have beneficial properties (constraints we can exploit, potential for ecosystems, poor strategic play by competitors) and run a few scenarios looking for how things are likely to evolve, potential for co-evolution, impacts of points of change, predictability of change, what's likely to emerge, what we should discontinue or sell elsewhere etc e.g. see figure 6 - from another industry.

Figure 6 - Scenario comparison


At this point, I normally have multiple WHERE's, the user needs, the potential impacts of changes, what we can influence, target markets and information on how to play the game. This can take a lot of effort, for a reasonable size business then you could be talking a few days work or even a week or so of hard graft. But at the end of this process then I'm at the point of saying WHY we should attack one space over another or WHY we should attack multiple points. I'll normally have a map and the background info to demonstrate this in a way that everyone in the organisation can understand, discuss and input into.

It's at this point we can develop our chosen point of attack - I can usually state all the activities , practice and data involved, how we should attack, what the user need is (and what we emphasise on), what components we need, where the constraints are (and how we exploit), what markets to focus on, our revenue models, how we should manipulate (e.g. open approaches) and estimate the likely cost structures from the components. I have a good idea of how to play the game, cope with competitors, who we should acquire and what to watch for. I'll have a pretty decent idea on how to play the game to our advantage.

I'll even have a decent idea of how to manage and organise around this, what we need to build, what techniques to use, where to differentiate, where to copy and what we need to experiment on etc (see figure 7)

Figure 7 - Managing a system


At this point, I'll have ALL the information I need to fill out a business model canvas (see figure 8).

Figure 8 - Business Model Canvas


I prefer just to use the maps since the business model canvas is an artefact of the process. However, it's a neat summary of the bits of the map (or maps) that I want us to focus on and hence I do find it can help. The map however provides the greater context and situational awareness is key with strategic planning.

Oh, and just for your info, mapping is the stuff I used when I was CEO of a Canon subsidiary and when I ran strategy for Canonical. I would never hand this off to some other company or agency. Mapping was important in understanding how to play the game which is what we would do next. Let me emphasise - WE played the game which meant WE had to understand the landscape that WE were competing in.

So, given I think Business Model Canvas is a useful technique then what's my problem with it?

I'm starting to get companies asking me what do I think of their Business Model Canvas which is all good. BUT, I normally respond with "can I see your map or some other expression of situational awareness, the plays, comparison to market / competitors and your scenarios examined?"

A disturbingly frequent response is "we don't have that but what do you think of our canvas?"

Let me be clear to everyone. I think you're foolish to even consider committing one cent to an idea expressed on a business model canvas without any situational awareness of the competitive landscape or scenario planning. The business model canvas is not where you start, it's at the end of a long road which could take a week to travel. Ok, it's better than the even more crazy ideas of not even expressing what you're planning to do in a clear form but the canvas is all about the 'how, what and when'. You really do need to answer the 'where' and then 'why' before you start using it. The canvas is the end of a journey and not what you fill in at the beginning!

Don't get me wrong. The business model canvas is an extremely useful tool BUT if you think that filling it out has anything to do with understanding strategic play then you are sorely misguided. Yes, you may well still be successful but you're not looking at the environment and that's a bad move on average as you're leaving more stuff to chance than necessary.

30 comments:

markson said...

There is a major qualification between the representative who have taken PMP accreditation and the one, who have not passed it, as the degree of administration will be significantly better after the test. ExcelR PMP Certification

Abu Raihan said...

Your business ideas on the long road are very good. Personally, I suggest starting coffee shop or restaurant in the long road. Reat the latest business guide from John Murphy.

digitaltucr said...

it's really cool blog. Linking is very useful thing.you have really helped ExcelR pmp certification

Priyanka said...

Attend The PMP Certification From ExcelR. Practical PMP Certification Sessions With Assured Placement Support From Experienced Faculty. ExcelR Offers The PMP Certification.
ExcelR PMP Certification

cordydaymen said...

Quickbooks provides tech assistance services like Quickbooks payroll support, Quickbooks tech support, Quickbooks chat support, etc for your support as in case you need any assistance regarding Quickbooks issues you can contact any of these tech services and ask for Quickbooks support

jamesdeny123 said...

Norton setup is a type of antivirus software program that always helps or detects different types of virus and malware attacks. Download norton.comset/setup with product key to protect your system from any type of third party users. Mainly norton removal tool helps you to install and reinstall Norton antivirus security software. If you have any issues regarding this then visit us.

jarvis deny said...

if you are looking for the best security protection for your system against cyber problems and threads. you can use McAfee it is the best antivirus to secure all your important data and other important things on your system. for more information yoou can visit our website:
McAfee account login

Geek squad said...

As per user convenience, Geek squad support offers different types of tech-related services, offers or many other benefits to help you out for solving different kinds of tech problems. It is available for 24 hours. If you have ever face any such problem, then you may contact with them on best buy geek squad number.

cobb deny said...

rblxgg seems to be a cool platform for gamers and game developers it is comprises of best and variety of tools with exceellent game emulator and this is the best for every gamer whether you are pro or newbie.

lily grace said...

You can get it from avg to protect your identity. Browsers also contain cookies which track user’ location, id, and much other information and can be harmful so that AVG AntiTrack can protect you.
For some devices, during installation, AVG AntiTrack may show SQL Error, which cannot let you use the application and so we have discussed the blog here.
install avg with license number
AVG antivirus is the security program that works after it’s activation with avg retail. It requires an activation product key to activate AVG’s working and to protect your operating system. www.avg.com/retail | avg.com/retail
avg download

Roan said...

Webroot antivirus, internet security, and identity protection. Webroot SecureAnywhere® Mobile Free keeps you secure when browsing, shopping and banking.
www.webroot.com/secure | webroot.com/secure |
Install Webroot With Key Code


Roan said...

Dragon NaturallySpeaking software is a speech recognition program that allows the user to speak into a microphone on a computer with the software translating
dragon naturally speaking | dragon naturallyspeaking

rachel joy said...

Trend Micro is one of the largest providers of internet and antivirus security in the world with over 250 million users. The company’s antivirus protects you from malware, email scams, and even ransomware, which is become more dangerous every day. www.trendmicro.com/bestbuypc |Trend Micro Geek Squad | www.trendmicro/bestbuypc

lily grace said...

You can get it from avg to protect your identity. Browsers also contain cookies which track user’ location, id, and much other information and can be harmful so that AVG AntiTrack can protect you.
For some devices, during installation, AVG AntiTrack may show SQL Error, which cannot let you use the application and so we have discussed the blog here.
install avg with license number
AVG antivirus is the security program that works after it’s activation with avg retail. It requires an activation product key to activate AVG’s working and to protect your operating system. www.avg.com/retail | avg.com/retail
avg download

ethan hawke said...

canon printer setup into your pc, your system does not need to install the driver on it. Canon printer that can be downloaded via page is the best wireless printer that you can connect to your device and print data smoothly. canon.com/ijsetup
CD is not the well-suited technique to use canon.comijsetup setup installation for longer.

ethan hawke said...

eset internet security can be installed quickly on each device if the user follows the correct procedure. You can follow the instructions below to install the setup on your devices such as Windows PC, Mac, or mobile device. www.eset.com/ca/download Best IT security solutions for your home and business devices.

Devin Smith said...

office.com/setup-Nowadays businesses are not restricted by geographical barriers, which calls for a universally used program in every office premise. This is where Microsoft Office comes in as it is used widely in the offices all around the globe. Every industry and sector avails the esteemed apps and features of MS Office; be it schools, hospitals, offices, or banks. Microsoft Office also known as Office is a family of premium customer software manufactured and distributed by Microsoft.

Devin Smith said...

Sign in to enter your item key, get to your record, deal with your membership, and stretch out your Norton security to PC, Mac, Android, and iOS gadgets. On the off chance that you don't as of now have a Norton account, make one today. Welcome to Norton . Sign in to enter your item key, get to your record, deal with your membership, and stretch out your Norton security to PC, Mac, Android, and iOS gadgets.For more information visit norton.com/setup

Devin Smith said...

norton.com/setup-Norton is undoubtedly the best antivirus software developed by the Symantec Corporation. It is available for every device like Mac, Windows, and even Android, as well. Most importantly, it offers lots of advanced features that include three types of scans (Quick, Full system, and Custom scan), and speak to the real person in support as well.

360DigiTMG said...

I just got to this amazing site not long ago. I was actually captured with the piece of resources you have got here. Big thumbs up for making such wonderful blog page!
data analytics course
business analytics course
data science courses

Oliver john said...

promo codes for roblox i had used for many years and i get much of the currency for free.

smithzack792 said...

Microsoft Office Which Is A Part Of Office.Com/Setup, That Is An Exclusively Designed Program That Is Helping Corporate And Education Sectors For So Long. You Cannot Go A Single Day Without Using It To Accomplish Your Work-Related Tasks.

Roan said...


Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 Home speech recognition software lets you - quickly and accurately - using your voice.
dragon naturally speaking | dragon naturallyspeaking

Roan said...

McaFee security offers simple and effective virus protection to help UA students, across connected devices.
www.mcafee.com/activate

peter said...

if you are using McAfee activate and looking for product key then you can visit our website where you will get the full information related to it. if you are facing any kind of error while using mcafee.com/activate then you can visit our website and share your problem with our technical assistant. and if you not installed any antivirus in your system then install it now. it provides maximum protection to your data from thread and viruses.

lily grace said...

McAfee service offers trusted safety to protect data and devices. So, you can shop, surf & keep all your devices safe online with the convenience of a single subscription.
www mcafee activate | mcafee login my account |
www mcafee com login
mcafee livesafe login | my mcafee account |
mcafee activation code |
mcafee.com my account

best said...

Then you can merge three dragons to make a bigger dragon, three flowers to make a bigger flower.
merge dragons tips

Neha said...

nice post .
mcafee.com/activate
mcafee.com/activate

peter said...

you can install Mcafee activate in your system to remove viruses. Mcafee automatically scans the system and remove the viruses and threads. the protection and security wall of Mcafee is stronger than other antiviruses. for more visit on McAfee activate

Edward Lewis said...

central.bitdefender.com - Download and install the Bitdefender antivirus. Then, activate it by entering the product key at central.bitdefender.com.