Venture capitalists, social entrepreneurs, and C-level executives have shared with us how they use the Business Model Canvas to do their job better. But plenty of them have asked us how they could get others around them to integrate it to their processes? Change isn’t easy inside an organization. Here’s how organizations that have successfully adopted the Business Model Canvas did it.
There’s no doubt that the Business Model Canvas has empowered people and businesses (perhaps yourself included), to improve how business strategy and innovation is conducted in many different ways. But these same people come back to ask us: how do you get everyone else to let go of old processes and adopt the Business Model Canvas? How do you make the Business Model Canvas part of a company’s DNA? We asked organizations that successfully integrated the Business Model Canvas. Check out the 9 things they did to make it happen (and download the poster at the end of this post!):
1. Find champion users. Champions are game-changers. They question processes and approaches that don’t work, experiment with new ideas until they can improve the way things work. Champions are key people who promote the tool and make sure its systematic use doesn’t fall off the corporate agenda.
2. Get C-Level Sponsorship. Change can happen at the grassroots level, but it will never amplify across the organization unless change-makers receive official support and buy-in from top executives.
3. Make it official. Willingness to change isn’t enough and new processes don’t become standard overnight. Integrate the Business Model Canvas into templates and strategic plans will formalize the process instead of keeping it as an ad hoc practice.
4. Train people. Training and seeking outside help facilitates the understanding and use of the Business Model Canvas at work.
5. Create risk-free spaces. For example, brown bag sessions are opportunities for people to experiment with the tool freely and feel comfortable with it. They allow people to try out new tools without worrying about the mistakes they make.
6. Showcase success. Case studies that illustrate how new tools have helped produce great results encourage the rest of the company to embrace them.
7. Create a sense of urgency. Why is this important for your company? For your team? Provide the context, and find key reasons why adopting the Business Model Canvas will help the organize achieve strategic goals.
8. Make it a priority. Show your commitment by training those who are working on key projects first, or by mentioning initiatives around the Business Model Canvas in communications from top executives.
9. Start simple. Do not scare away people by assimilating the Business Model Canvas to risky projects. You can simply start by using it as a communication tool in regular meetings.
It’s amazing to see how one concept can empower millions of people to solve diverse issues they face at work. That’s how I feel about the Business Model Canvas. It was embraced by an eclectic mix of people like product managers, venture capitalists, C-level executives or social intrapreneurs. Some of them use it to analyze competition, others to make better investment decisions or to prototype new growth engines ideas with it.