The Solution Canvas

Lean - Agile - Innovation

What is it?

A strategic management tool for analyzing innovation pipelines and monitoring progress as projects move through the pipeline. It applies design thinking and lean startup methodologies to structure and de-risk projects in different stages of the innovation process.

the solution canvas

Why we created the canvas

We noticed teams sometimes find it difficult to follow the lean startup method. In particular to

  • Understand the various phases in lean startup and the goal in each phase.
  • Go through the process in a step-by-step manner.
  • Keep track of current status and monitor progress.
  • Visualize and communicate this to staff and upper management.

How to use the canvas

Purpose of the canvas

The goal of the canvas is to prevent your innovation project from landing up on the graveyard and instead reach the scaling phase.


Before you start you will need to

  1. Define where your projects are in the innovation pipeline, see phases.
  2. Define when projects are allowed to move to the next phase for the discovery, problem-fit, solution-fit and market-fit phases. For example, to show solution-fit you might require 5 customers that say "I want this solution, where can I buy it?".

Furthermore, you will need some office supplies, including

  • a marker and some sticky notes
  • a scissor and some tape

Download and print the canvas, hang it on a wall and place each project in the corresponding squadrant.

Rules of the game

Ideas are added to the backlog. The discovery phase starts once an idea is picked up from the backlog. Ideas move from left to right on the board. A lack of validated learning or technical feasability during a round in the game and projects are parked in the land of the living dead or scifi. If it continues for another round they move to the graveyard.

The solution phases

Phase Goal Outcome
Backlog Store and prioritize ideas.
Discovery Explore the context, empathize with your users, build a first vision for your challenge. A prioritized list of potential opportunities, threats, solutions, customer segments, business models and riskiest assumptions to test.
Problem-Fit Identify and validate the customer's problem. Customers that have this problem and would like it solved.
Solution-Fit Create a number of possible solutions and validate both the offer and value. Customers that want the solution and are willing to buy it.
Market-Fit Identify the best market or segment to launch. A minimum viable product (MVP) and customers that repeatedly use this solution and recommend it to others.
Scaling Fully launch the solution. You won!
Scifi Solution is not technically feasible. Invest in R&D or move to the Graveyard.
Land of the Living Dead Show validated learning. Demonstrate validated learning or move to the Graveyard.
Graveyard Game over.

Download the canvas

Free Download

The game board in A4 in PDF.

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Need Help Innovating?

Developing innovation capabilities
Creating new business models
Realizing growth and agility
Managing organizational change

What I deliver

Growth strategies
Viability testing
Agile and lean product management
Coaching, mentoring and workshops