The book, Business Model Generation, is well referenced within the Toronto innovation community.

(I don’t know if it’s nearly as cited in other cities or other communities).

Business Model Generation is notable for having a standardized canvas. This canvas forms a common language for disparate groups of people – designers, developers, financiers and others.

As you can see, it has nine boxes, roughly corresponding to all the sections of a normal business plan:

  • What is your key value proposition?
  • Who are your customer segments?
  • What sort of relationships do you have with your customer segments?
  • What channels do you use to serve them?
  • What are your revenue streams?
  • What are your key activities?
  • What are your key resources
  • Who are your key partners?
  • What is your cost structure?

Every company should be able to answer those nine questions. It just so happens that this grid forces them all to be enunciated.


  • It’s a canvas – it’s meant to be designed.
  • It enables many degrees of freedom while still being useful enough to be a model.
  • It’s a structure that enables comparison.


  • Key Trends, Industry Forces, Macroeconomic Forces, and Market Forces, while mentioned in the book, are all treated as completely outside (exogenous) to the base model.
  • Competitive forces are not broken out clearly.
  • Assessment criterion are normative.

It’s a book worthy of your attention and consideration.

Can you draw out a canvas for your firm?


I’m Christopher Berry.
I tweet about analytics @cjpberry
I write at