The business model canvas was originally invented by Alexander Osterwalder and it came from his book, Business Model Ontology. It was designed to help businesses of various sizes focus on operational, strategic and marketing plans. The lean canvas is a variation on the business model canvas that was created by Ash Maurya. It is a more focused tool that tackles the same issues as the business model canvas. However, each of the issues is viewed through the lens of a startup company instead of businesses of varying sizes.
The topics and their differences
Each of the models is broken down into six topics or elements:
The business model canvas is aimed at new and existing businesses. The lean canvas is aimed at startup businesses only.
The business model canvas is aimed at customers, investors, entrepreneurs, consultants and advisors. The lean canvas is only aimed at entrepreneurs.
The business model canvas emphasises customer channels and relationships. The lean canvas does not emphasise customer segments since startups may not have any customers yet.
The business model canvas looks at existing infrastructure, finance sources and anticipated revenue streams. The lean canvas takes a problem-focused approach followed by a proposed solution, the channels required to achieve this solution, how much it will cost and the anticipated revenue streams.
The business model canvas focuses on ways to remain active in the market using quantitative and qualitative methodologies. The lean canvas analyses whether or not the startup business has an advantage over its potential competition and if so, how best to capitalise on it.
When applied, the business model aims to foster an environment of understanding, frank discussions and constructive analysis-based feedback. When applied, the lean canvas takes a step-by-step approach to guide startups through a problem-solution oriented development cycle.