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The Social Business Model Canvas is a one-page overview that lays out both what you do (or want to do), and how you go about doing it; enabling structured conversations around management and strategy by laying out the crucial activities and challenges involved with your initiative and how they relate to each other. This visual format, first introduced by Osterwalder and Pigneur, is useful for both existing and new organisations and businesses. Existing programmes can develop new initiatives and identify opportunities while becoming more efficient by illustrating potential trade-offs and aligning activities. New programmes can use it to plan and work out how to make their offering real.

The individual elements prompt thoughts within the separate activities or resources, while the capability to have the complete overview encourages fresh perspectives and ideas about how those pieces fit together. This structure also helps to keep group discussions more focused and bring everyone onto the same page.

How to use it

To make a Social Business Model Canvas, the easiest way to start is by filling out what you do. This helps keep the focus on your main goal as you fill out the other building blocks of the canvas. From there you can build on that goal and see how it can be achieved by adding details about the other activities and resources you have.

Start from a blank canvas and add notes with keywords to each building block of the canvas. If you use sticky-notes for this, you can move ideas around as you fill out each building block in the canvas. You may want to colour-code elements related to a specific client/beneficiary segment. However, be careful not to fall in love with your first idea and instead sketch out alternative business models for the same product, service or technology. You could even practice and learn new ways of doing things by mapping out new/innovative business models that you admire or come across.


Download SBMC

Download Lean Canvas

Many complex problems have several different yet related causes and effects – with several organizations from different sectors trying to solve things individually. With many organizations having limited resources, forming partnerships is a good approach to not only increase capability, but also your reach. Partnerships help build a common understanding and harness the knowledge which might be spread across various different perspectives.

Building partnerships takes a lot of effort from all those involved. It often takes a considerable investment of time to build high quality working relationships that underpin effective collaboration. The partnerships map breaks the process into steps, so you can anticipate difficulties and challenges ahead.

How to use it

The partnerships map describes a series of phases which a partnership might involve. The map indicates what is needed in each phase to make such partnerships work, offering guidelines rather than rules. Each phase, as outlined on the worksheet, is important and should not be neglected if the partnership is to remain balanced and on course to achieve its goals.

To work well, partnerships need to be mutually beneficial to the partners involved.

You can use the partnerships map to analyse at what phase of partnership you and your partner are, so that you can move through the next phases to build a strong partnership together.

  • Identify the stage that shows where you are at.
  • Identify the stage where you would like to be at
  • Use the template as a map to build a pathway towards that stage.

The mapped pathway gives an outline of the activities that need to be done in between.

Download – Partnership Mapping Canvas


Retrospective boards are really useful for co-production teams to understand how things are going or how things went in early prototyping (good and bad). They can then use this information to improve things and implement key changes (if required).

Why use a retrospective board? They are really useful because:

Individuals and teams can speak their minds: A retrospective meeting invites all of your team members to chime in with their insights. What went well? last sprint? What could’ve gone better? How will you act on that information?

Your retrospective provides an opportunity for everyone to voice their opinions (and not just your most extroverted team members).

  1. Challenges are addressed: Teams can get so caught up in getting stuff done, you don’t often step back and evaluate how you get stuff done. There are likely sticking points and tensions you aren’t even aware of. Those all bubble to the surface by using retrospective boards. This shouldn’t be a vent session – it’s a chance for your team to address those challenges and work together more efficiently and effectively.
  2. Collaboration and team dynamics improve: This is the biggest benefit of using retrospective boards. When your team takes advantage of these regular intervals to evaluate their collaborations, their processes and output get better and better. Teams will be able to identify areas for improvement and then actually act on them.

A mind map graphically represents how our minds process information. It’s a visual tool for analyzing, comprehending, synthesizing, and creating new ideas.

Key principles of the mind map technique

A central focal point: Every single mind-map begins at the centre. This central focal point can either be a picture, a single keyword, an idea, or even a question mark.

A unique keyword: Every mind map has a couple of unique keywords associated with the central idea or focal point.

Sub-keywords: You’ll be limited by keywords, but every mind map can have an unlimited number of associated sub-keywords.

Arciform lines: These lines branch out from the central idea to the association (or keywords) and sub-associations (or sub-keywords), showing their relationships or logical flow.

Color and images: Color plays a crucial role in creating a distinction between the various flow of ideas in a mind map. Pictures visualize your ideas, making them easily comprehensible.

How do you create a mind map? Some ideas

Here, a step-by-step process of mind mapping.

  1. Place your topic at the centre: Write a single keyword as your primary idea, problem, or goal in the centre of your mind map. Images are even better for co-creation sessions.
  2. Add keywords: Your central idea has associations. These include your strategy, creative blockers, and arsenal of design techniques. Condense them into a single keyword and join them to your central topic using arciform lines. Limit them to no more than seven keywords.
  3. Create sub-keywords or associations: Create sub-associations for your seven keywords. There can be as many sub-associations as you’d like — the limit does not exist!
  4. Play with the text, font, and alignment: Use as many colors as you like to coordinate your lines, keywords, diagram, etc. Vary the text size, too, to add more zest to your mind map. You can even make the text bigger as you approach your central idea.

Why mind map?

  • It helps you store information: Think about how many disorganized clothes versus folded clothes you can fit in a suitcase. Mind map’s structure and order information, expanding your memory’s capacity by streamlining information retrieval.
  • It encourages creativity: Sometimes your creative juices need a kickstart. A mind map visually produces a free associative flow between ideas, stimulating your creativity.
  • It simplifies information: Mind maps organize your brain’s complexities in a visual format, making your project easy to comprehend.

Useful mind map software

Theory of Change – Logic Model

Setting up a Theory of Change is like making a road map that outlines the steps by which you plan to achieve your goal. It helps you define whether your work is contributing towards achieving the impact you envision, and if there is another way that you need to consider as well.

The Theory of Change tool not only helps to clearly articulate and connect your work to your bigger goal, it also allows you to spot potential risks in your plan by sharing the underlying assumptions in each step. In larger organisations, when there may be several projects running simultaneously, the Theory of Change helps to map these different projects first and then consider how they link and relate to each other.

This tool can also aid in aligning team members to the larger end goal and help them understand their role in achieving it.

How to Use It

Start by noting down the main problem you want to solve, and your goals (near, mid and long term) you want to accomplish. Then complete the other boxes, such as your rationales. Try to be as specific as possible because it will help you to come up with more effective actions that you can take.

Work outwards from your problem statement, and towards your long-term impact. Write down the people that are most affected by the issue that you have identified and who you hope to help with your work (this could be a small community group, large organisation or trying to bring a diverse group of stakeholders together under one common cause) – what assumptions have you made? Then think about where to start your work, you may need to find a place, a person or a thing that will be your first port of call. Try and think of some practical steps that you can take to make changes – like creating partnerships or making tweaks to existing processes. Try to keep these as action oriented as possible.

And finally, what would the immediate outputs and outcomes be? These could be tangible results that you can show to other people to clarify how your work is making a difference. List the key outcomes that your activity would lead to. These are the preconditions that you need to realise your goals.

As you fill each of the boxes in the worksheet, it is critical to also reflect on the key assumptions that underpin these steps in your work. This may help you spot potential risks or connections between the different projects.

5W +H Questions

Use the 5W+H questions to gain in-depth insights as well as new findings and information in order to grasp the problem or situation holistically or simply to find relevant questions for an interview.

What you can do with the tool?

  • W+H questions help to gain new insights and information, thus capturing the problem or situation in a structured manner.
  • Infer more abstract, potential emotions and motives from your concrete observations in a specific situation.
  • Use W+H questions during the observation phase in order to observe more closely and dig deeper when you discover something new.

How the tool is applied

The 5W+H questions can be used in all sorts of situations. Sample situation and table shown below:

Goal: to provide a basis for an interview/follow up conversation with users or stakeholders.

  • Prepare a list of possible sub-questions (e.g. in the form of a mind map).
  • Vary the questions and “play” with them. Adapt them to the situation.
  • Create the interview questions or a question map from all this.
  • Try to get a lot of information. Ask why even in the context of other W+H Questions.

Hints & Tips

Always ask several times for answers

  • By asking and asking again, we dig deeper. Even if you think you already know the answer, ask again. It seems strange but use a “beginners mind” and ask “Why?” several times in succession like a child would.
  • In addition, you should try to find more than one answer to every question. Conflicting answers can be of particular interest for unearthing more information on genuine needs.
  • If a W+H question from the table does not make sense in the context of the problem statement, simply skip it.
  • Try to gather as much information as possible with the 5W+H questions, and combine them with other interviewing techniques, for example, 5X WHY. A list of possible sub questions can be created, for instance, which are then combined into a mind map.

Turn questions into the negative in order to create different perspectives.

  • Turning the questions into the negative can bring advantages and encourage creativity, for example, “when does the problem not occur?” or “who is not affected?”
  • It’s very useful to use the 5W+H questions in the context of a brainstorming session or as a basis for an initial brain dump in order to find out everything the team/stakeholders think the believe of know.

No fake news – always go with the facts.

  • Furthermore, it is always good to underpin the answers with facts – with the help of desk research and data analytics, for instance.

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