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Lean Canvas

> Explore and brainstorm together

Participants will seek to build a new marketing offer. To do so, they'll ask themselves the Lean Canvas' key questions, starting with the targeted client and the latter’s problem. Next comes finding solutions and confirming their competitive edge. The value proposition can then be defined to finally determine the associated cost structure as well as the revenue generated. 


Assemble participants who have a comprehensive view of the company’s various functions: marketing/sales, strategy, finance/management control, production/service.

Prepare a Board activity with 9 categories:

Target Customers, Problems, Solutions, Competitive Edge, Value Proposition, Performance Indicators, Channels, Cost Structure, Revenue.

You may want to explain what’s expected in a note on the first card of each category (giving them the same colour code).

Activity settings Board

  • Activity format: Direct
  • Vote: by Points or Likes
  • Categories: 9 categories corresponding to the Lean Canvas




Explain the purpose of the session to the group: building a business model. Review the components you previously entered so that the entire group sets off on an equal footing.

Next, explain the method and especially the meaning of the 9 categories:

  • Target Customers: Who are the customers you want to target? Specifically, who will be the first customers to use the new product/service?
  • Problems: What problems are these target customers be facing? Are these problems critical? 
  • Solutions: What are some possible solutions to the problems you want to deal with?
  • Competitive Edge: What would make your offer stand out from those already on the market?
  • Value Proposition: What are the characteristics of your offer? What value does it provide to target customers?
  • Performance Indicators: How will you measure your offer’s success? 
  • Channels: How will you reach your customers, both in terms of communicating with them and delivering your offers?
  • Cost Structure: What are the fixed and variable costs that are absolutely essential to your business? 
  • Revenue Stream: What are the expected cash inflows?

The Lean Canvas is normally used to come up with a value proposition idea.


Exploration & Discussion

The workshop takes place in steps. For each of them, the facilitator briefly reviews the step's content before allowing a few minutes for participants to put their ideas forward in the corresponding category. A debate ensues, before moving on to the next category. In case of major disagreement within the group, a vote on the category can be held whilst hiding the others.

  1. During the first ‘Target Customers’ step, participants are asked to identify customer segments they want to work on and for which they want to think about new offers.
  2. Once the target has been identified, it’s time to move on to the second category and find out what ‘Problems’ they’re encountering – at this stage, try not to think about the offers. Doing so will limit reflection. Taking the time at this point to catalogue the customers’ problems is essential if added value is to be found. 
  3. Is there an existing problem with no satisfactory solution to date? Time to move on to ‘Solutions’, where you’ll try to innovate to address some of the customers’ difficulties. The better the solution addresses a critical problem with an as yet unsatisfied solution, the more value you’ll be creating.
  1. Now ask yourself about the ‘Competitive Edge’ you have with these target customers. What is it? Are there any other stakeholders already in position? What advantages do you possess for succeeding in this customer segment with the solutions you have in mind?
  2. Do your ideas still seem relevant up to this point? Now you can make your ‘value proposition’ official, summarising all the previous elements and substantiating the value you’ll offer your clients.
  3. Once the value proposition has been defined, move on to the "Performance Indicators" category and decide on the best way to measure the success of your new offer.
  4. Next, define the ‘Channels’ for communicating with your target customers and also delivering your new offer to them.
  5. The workshop can now conclude with the final two financial categories. Starting with ‘Cost Structure’, take an inventory of the various sources of expenditures, from investments to operating costs. These can be initial costs or costs incurred over time.
  6. Finally, we come to ‘Revenue’. Participants will outline different ways of bringing in money. What will the company sell? 

Once the 9 categories have been filled in, ask the participants if they feel that everything they’ve put together is consistent. Do they consider it viable? 

As the 9 aspects are closely linked, it’s often helpful to return to a previous category during the workshop and add an idea to ensure a greater degree of consistency.

Perhaps some ideas need to be further explored later on. If so, which ones? 



When the activity is finished, identify a leader for each key idea needing further development. Note the components of the action plan as actions or decisions in order to have them appear in your meeting notes and ensure follow-up.

Suggestions and variations

Before delving into the Lean Canvas, you may want to run a SWOT analysis, which will enable all the participants to properly share in the strategic context before coming up with a new offer.

Activity Board
30 to 60 min
2 to 30
Build a new marketing offer.
The Canvas is highly geared towards marketing, and it’s very much in fashion in the world of digital start-ups, asking the key questions for creating new offers by spotting needs that are as of yet unfulfilled.