Lean Canvas Introduction

Lean Canvas was developed by Ash Maurya, and is a modified version of the business model canvas for use in start-ups or internal innovation. Ash Maurya designed Lean Canvas for starting entrepreneurs and emerging companies.

An overview of the most important key points of the company is created according to the Lean Startup method. It is an easy method to implement, with the focus on the overall strategy of the company. It also provides insight into (external) threats and opportunities. Instead of embracing the solutions and ideas, the problem must be embraced in order to achieve a good Lean Canvas.

Lean Canvas is mainly used to visualize ideas and it is an easy way to communicate with others. It also clarifies the essence of the product.

The Lean Canvas
The Lean Canvas Template

The canvas consists of twelve building blocks.

  • The top row of building blocks consists of; problem, solution, unique value proposition, unfair advantage and customer segments.
  • The middle row of building blocks consists of; existing alternatives, key metrics, high concept pitch, channels and early adopters.
  • The bottom row of building blocks consists of; cost structure and revenue streams. By giving short and clear answers to the building block topics, the problem and idea are developed into a plan. (see “Subjects Building Block” for the corresponding questions).


Download Template

Lean Canvas

Executing the Method

  • Step 1: Canvas on paper

    Draw the model digitally, on a flip-over / large sheet of paper or print it out on at least A3 size paper.

  • Step 2: Describe problems

    In order to be able to complete the Lean Canvas it is crucial that 1 to 3 problems are described. Write down all three problems. Based on these problems, the canvas can be further filled in.

  • Step 3: Complete Lean Canvas

    Read and answer the questions in the template of this canvas per building block. Answer the questions, briefly and clearly, step by step for each building block (see "topics building blocks" and the associated questions). Then write or draw out all the content of the building blocks. Use post-its or write / draw it directly on the canvas.

  • Step 4: Check

    All building blocks have now been completed. Take a step back and consider all of the information entered in Step 3. Use this information to identify weaknesses and strengths in the company. All other and unnecessary information can be removed. A general strategy can be refined on the basis of the Lean Canvas.



  • Problem: Which 1 to 3 problems require a solution/idea?
  • Solution: Describe a potential solution/idea for each problem.
  • Unique Value Proposition: What is the unique clear message, what makes it distinctive and what needs are met?
  • Unfair Advantage: What cannot be easily copied, what makes it unique?
  • Customer Segments: Who are the target audience and users?
  • Existing alternatives: How are the problems already being solved?
  • Key Metrics: Which measurement values indicate the status of the product or service, why does this opportunity offer potential?
  • High-Level Concept: Summarizes the concept in 1 sentence.
  • Channels: What interaction is there in reaching customer and company?
  • Early Adopters: Who are the ideal customers and what characteristics do they have?
  • Cost Structure: Which fixed and variable costs are incurred?
  • Revenue Streams: Where does the turnover come from?

Advantages & Disadvantages

  • The model saves time because the company does not have to write comprehensive business plans.

  • The model can be used in combination with the business model canvas.