The Vision Implementation Canvas
Put your vision to work
Hi, my name is Jon and I am a strategist at diesdas.digital. This is the first part of a series of articles in which we share the tools we use to build products.
Companies spend a lot of time and money on vision statements. A vision statement should be “a vivid, credible image of an ideal future state” that comes from “deep, emotional commitment to doing things differently.”¹
When used properly a vision statement is a powerful tool. It can make management decisions easier by grounding them in a bigger cause. It can enable seamless collaboration between departments because everyone is working towards a common goal. It can help whole companies to rally behind one set of shared values.
Sadly, many vision statements are never put to good use. Companies lack a framework to spread their vision throughout the organization and a way to derive implementable solutions from it.
That is why we designed the Vision Implementation Canvas. It is a simple graphical template that brings clarity to the traditionally complex task of using a vision to reason about specific components of a product or divisions of a company.
As you can see, the Canvas follows the footstep of Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas — but instead of showing how a company is making money²; the Vision Implementation Canvas focuses on how a company delivers value to its customers by working towards its vision in specific fields of activity. It needs to be filled out separately for each field of activity. That way it can translate the consistent mental image the vision provides into specific implementable measures in those fields.
The canvas is divided into nine fields across four columns. Here is how to fill it out (Hint: It is easier than you think):
- Add the Required Information: To get started with the canvas three pieces of information are required: A vision statement, the target audience and the field of activity. They are added to the respective areas at the top of the canvas.
- Formulate a Value Proposition: The next step is to derive a value proposition from this information. The guiding questions: How does working towards the vision in the given area add value to our product from the target groups perspective?
- Reflect on the Needs of the Audience: The value proposition needs to be matched to existing audience/user needs. This is done by thinking about which frustrations the target audience is currently experiencing in the area we are talking about and how the value proposition addresses these frustrations.
- Come up with concrete Solutions: User needs and value proposition make it possible to come up with specific solutions. These should be divided into basic needs and delightful add-ons and always relate back to the vision.
- List potential Obstacles, required Key Resources and define Metrics+KPIs: The final step is to outline which resources are required to implement the solution and which factors (KPIs) determine the success of the implementation and which obstacles might get in the way of realizing the solutions.
Download the Vision Implementation Canvas here. We’d be delighted to hear about your experience, should you decide to give it a try inside your company.
Keep in mind that the Vision Implementation Canvas is a tool to be used over and over again. It will reflect your current understanding of your company. The more refined the vision, the more specific the target audience, the clearer divided the fields of activity, the better the results the canvas will yield.
To us it is important to get these three things right from the very beginning (and it also happens to be something we can help you with). That’s why we conduct interviews, create personas and do market research before filling out the canvas with our clients for the first time.
Next week we’ll publish a follow-up post that explains how we use the Vision Implementation Canvas internally. Heads up: It is all about product visions.
 Ciampa, D. (2017). What CEOs Get Wrong About Vision and How to Get It Right. [online] MIT Sloan Management Review. Available at: https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/demystifying-the-development-of-an-organizational-vision [Accessed 1 Jul. 2019].
 Greenwald, T. (2012). Business Model Canvas: A Simple Tool For Designing Innovative Business Models. [online] Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/tedgreenwald/2012/01/31/business-model-canvas-a-simple-tool-for-designing-innovative-business-models [Accessed 1 Jul. 2019]