The Business Model Canvas (BMC) is a widely used tool to develop new, or document and innovate on existing, business models. It helps to visualise the essential elements of a business:

  • value proposition
  • infrastructure
  • customer segments
  • finances

The original business model canvas was developed for ‘lean start-up’ companies and is focused on merely financial returns. The “triple layer business model canvas” was later invented to explore sustainability-oriented business model innovation. With this 4 returns landscape business model canvas, Commonland has expanded from those models and other sources of inspiration to develop a new canvas for business models that have a landscape approach and wish to deliver 4 returns. If you are not already familiar with landscape approaches or the 4 returns, you can find out more on the Commonland website.

The BMC can be used both to transform a business idea into a business model and to adapt an existing business model to real world experiences. In the case of this model, it could also be used specifically to innovate a traditional business model into a 4 returns model.


Filling in the canvas: iterative process

We recommend filling in the 4 Returns Landscape Business Model Canvas in the order indicated in the canvas. This order is slightly different from the order of the original business model canvas. Here, we start with the 4 losses, because these are the initial drivers of landscape initiatives and of 4 returns business cases.

Keep in mind that filling in the canvas can be an iterative process – as you answer the questions of latter boxes, it may provide you with new ideas to go back and adjust or add to earlier boxes.

You may not be able to fill in all boxes in the beginning, which is also fine and maybe even provide a useful insight as to our proposed model.  It is important to realise that a filled-in business model canvas may always remain a work-in-progress, as well. Ultimately, this canvas is a tool to help you, so feel comfortable to adapt it to your needs.

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