The creator of Lean Canvas is entrepreneur Ash Maurya. The world-famous Business Model Canvas was the basis for the creation of this tool. The main goal of Lean Canvas was to make the plan as actionable as possible. Its principles were to be oriented primarily towards start-up entrepreneurs. Therefore, Maurya modified the original Business Model Canvas to capture the most uncertain and risky areas, which are the most common reasons new companies fail.
Therefore, he removed four original building blocks from the Business Model Canvas – Key Partners, Key Resources, Key Activities and Customer Relationships. He then replaced them with new concepts:
Most startups fail not because they fail to develop the product they intended, but because they waste resources on the wrong product (solving the wrong problem). Understanding the problem correctly is half the way to success, according to Maurya, which is why this field of the canvas comes first.
The very next field of the canvas is Solution. Here we are tasked with defining possible solutions to the problems we outlined in the previous field.
A common problem for startups is the lack of a definition of success and its metrics – that is, how do we know that the company is going in the right direction. That’s why their definition is part of the Lean Canvas.
An unfair advantage is any advantage that cannot be easily obtained by competitors – either by buying it or by simply copying it. It can be, for example, non-transferable experience, contacts, access to information, free space to do business, etc. Ash Maurya points out that many startups will only find their unfair advantage over time. So if we don’t discover one at the beginning, we don’t need to worry right away.
A sample canvas can be found below: