The Business Design Canvas

The Business Design Canvas v1.0 — Creative Commons — Attribution to Robin Wong
IBM’s Red, Green and Blue Logotype — designed by Paul Rand

Thinking like a Designer

Whoever can think like a Designer and apply Design to as many aspects of how they work and what they produce will inevitably be able to meet the needs of their customers and employees in better ways and less time.

A Primer on Design Mindset and Values

The mindset behind Design is simple, I think of it this way…

Design Values

The 3 Design values, or “lenses” as I like to think of them, offer 3 perspectives on your ideas, and used regularly, can help you evaluate, test and strengthen your business ideas to find increasingly better ways to delight people.

Desirability — Viability — Feasibility

The Business Design Canvas

The canvas is designed to be simple in principle but demanding in practice.

The Business Design Canvas v1.0 — Creative Commons — Attribution to Robin Wong

Question Time

To find the answers to questions around the Desirability, Viability and Feasibility of your business idea and assess your levels of confidence in each, I find it useful to stress-test the 3 statements about the idea to see how much evidence I have.

The case for Desirability

The first and most important case to make is that something is Desirable.

  • Who the customer or target audience is
  • What they are trying to achieve
  • What’s getting in their way or challenging them
  • How we plan to help them overcome that
  • What that allows them to do that they couldn’t do before
Desirability example for WonderFitKit

The case for Viability

Once you have sufficient evidence that you’ve found a real problem or opportunity to address for a real group of people, you need to prove you can get paid enough to do it to actually have a commercially viable business on your hands.

  • Have we got a large enough group of people we can do business with?
  • How much value will that group of people provide?
  • What types of product or service are we offering?
  • What does it cost us to offer that product or service?
  • At what level of cost or scale do we break even?
Viability example for WonderFitKit

The case for Feasibility

I tend to consider Feasibility last because, in my experience, anything is possible, it just depends how much time and money you have, and that depends primarily on how desirable your idea is and how viable it is. That said, in some cases where your idea is particularly ambitious, you will need to assess this early, and work out how you can break your idea down into small slices that you can deliver early.

  • Who will help and support the creation, delivery and operation of my product or service?
  • Are we set up to do this now, or do we need to borrow, build or buy something in to make it possible?
  • What activities do we need to day-to-day?
  • How are we going to target and do business with our customers?
  • How are we going to play to win in this market?
Feasibility example for WonderFitKit

Testing testing

Once you’ve written everything down, scored how confident you are and have considered what assumptions you need to test, it’s time to start testing your idea and building confidence that it has legs that you can run as a business.

A completed example of a Business Design Canvas

Start testing your idea now

You can download your own copy of the Business Design Canvas from this link and start testing your business idea.

Download Business Design Canvas (PDF)
Download Example (PDF)



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Robin Wong

Robin Wong


I help people turn business ideas into customer-centric, data-driven business ventures. Global Head of Service Design at BT.