Skip to content

What: Based on nine building blocks, it is a tool which helps you visualize the business you are thinking about. Business modelling gained in popularity after the publication of Business Model Generation and Business Model Canvas by Alex Osterwalder.

When:  The business model helps you place the various (and sometimes intangible) elements of your HCD approach in a broader economic context and see them with more clarity.

Advantages: You can present data obtained through HCD tools (personas, stakeholder analysis, customer journey, etc.) visually and professionally.


- Make sure you know your business well because a business model requires in-depth knowledge
- The book Business Model Generation can help you interpret the fields and ask the right questions; alternatively, invite an external moderator to help you. The first time, this is definitely useful.
- Business model exercises are conducted on a business model canvas. Choose the approach that best suits your needs. The most common methods used in product development practice are:
- Mapping of your current business: A critical analysis of your own way of working;
- Starting from scratch, fast and easy brainstorming about a new product or service;
- The combination of current and new: Combining the above methods may prove very productive. Putting new products/services on top of the already mapped business model is a fast way to illustrate the potential impact of your new idea on the rest of the organisation.
- Decide how you want to approach the business model canvas:
- Market-driven: You build the entire business model from the market angle. In this case, the key questions are: which trends are visible in the market and which offering can you match them with?
- Competence-driven: From the perspective of your own organisation’s uniqueness and strengths. What are we capable of? Which unique offering can we produce with those skills?
- Provide cards and images relating to the issue and a blank canvas and Post-its.

The business model session
The development of a business model is a step-by-step process, always based on the same 9 building blocks: Market segments, Customer Relationships, Value Proposition, Sales Channels, Core Business, Core Partners, Core Resources, Cost Structure and Sources of Income.
- A business model generation in a guided workshop takes about three hours (the exercise in itself takes at least 108 minutes - 12 minutes per field) - A team consists of 3 to 7 individuals; share the responsibilities between them (time keeping, taking notes, etc.).
- Describe briefly how the session will proceed, what business modelling is, and explain the topic of the exercise.
- Whenever you input data in the fields, ALWAYS try to estimate the link with cost and yield.
- Use the index cards and keep everyone involved in the session: 9 times 12 minutes is a long time.

After the session
- Immediately take high resolution photos of the canvas in case the Post-its might fall off.
- In the group, deliver a short sales pitch of the model developed to capture the essence.
- Write down the key points of the pitch or film it and do something with your insights and results.