Lean Canvas

The Lean Canvas is a strategic management tool based on the Osterwalder Business Model Canvas for the development of innovations.

Best used for


Time to introduce this activity in lecture / Time to run this activity

30 min / 5-6 h

In the context of Digital Social Impact courses and learning activities

When working on social issues, students can apply the lean canvas to ideate a possible solutions.

Main Target Group


Potential tools for digitising this activity

PowerPoint, Miro

Step by Step

1 Using your chosen lean canvas template (paper or online), students start by answering: What are the existing and relevant problems or needs in society? And defining the biggest problems to be addressed at the beginning.

2 Next they must consider: Who is affected by these problems or needs? What target group(s) can you identify (age, income, location, etc.)? You can use the Persona method for a more in-depth discussion of the target group.

3 Next is solution ideation. The students must think: How can the problems and needs be solved for your target group? Develop a possible solution for each of these problems or needs.

4 Measuring the success of their solution is a key parameter to consider. The students must answer: How can you measure the success of your solution? Define key metrics of the identified problems or needs that will make your project measurable later, e.g. 30% of people living alone are over 60 years old.

5 At this point, the lean canvas asks the students “What is your unique selling proposition? Define the user promise of your solution offered to your target audience(s).”

6 Next the students must research competitor solutions. “What (competitive) advantage do you have over other projects/providers of similar products or services? Define what is not so easy to imitate in your project.”

7 Staekholer and target group outreach is a key component of any social impact initative. The lean canvas asks “What channels can you use to reach your target group(s)?” Student should collect different media for this, e.g. radio, newspaper, Facebook, etc.


8 Afterwards, students discuss which conclusions they can draw from the information in the Lean Canvas and which subsequent steps they need to focus on in order to achieve the solutions.