What is the Idea Model?

The Idea Model comes after our super handy Idea Napkin and before tools like the lean canvas, business model canvas, or business plan, in a series of practical tools for designing change.

We like to think of it as a bit of a home plate from which you can do the work required to design the ‘really big value version’ of your own idea.

It’s also been designed to support a deliberate design process that includes value proposition innovation, customer deep dives, pretotyping of your offering, and a build-test-learn cycle.

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Bridge the “new idea gap”

Most people find getting that from hunch to business plan (or even to the simpler business model) isn’t nearly as straightforward as they expected. The Idea Model helps you bridge that gap in a step by step way that’ll have you answering the right questions and designing the most highly impactful and imminently feasible version of your idea.

Get serious and go deeper

Whether you’re working up something new or you need to go back and look at the fundamentals of an existing business, the Idea Model can help you focus on the right things. We find people who take the time to develop an Idea Model begin see things more clearly and can then take their value creation work to a deeper level.

Collaborate and get feedback

You can use our Virtual Design Space or Google Docs version of the Idea Model to easily share your concept with others, to collaborate with your team, and to get the feedback you need to make it even stronger. (Or – if you prefer kicking it old school over a cup of coffee – you can print the PDF version and work though your idea by hand.)

Do you teach / coach tomorrow’s leaders?
Do you teach / coach tomorrow’s leaders?

This is a great tool for facilitating a conversation with an employee, manager, innovator, or entrepreneur. It guides conversations, forms the basis of a lesson, captures and defines ideas within a portfolio, and boosts a practical ideation or strategy session.

What's under the hood?

  • Free canvas (template) for the Idea Model (in PDF and Google Docs formats)
  • Directions and guidance about how to evolve your concept into its most highly impactful and feasible version
  • Explicit links to related tools such as those for assessing your idea
Let me use it now for free! »

Welcome (back)!

Access to the Creative Commons tools and a lot of the content on our site(s) is completely free. We just ask that you sign in / sign up using an existing social account. To do this, click one of the icon(s) below:


This will take you to their sign in tools - we'll never see your password and you won't have to create and remember yet another one. This is for convenience but it's also to keep the sign in process as secure as possible.

This is handled at arm's length and all we ask to receive from your provider is your name and email address so we can uniquely identify you. We know how important that information is to you - we use websites too. And you have our commitment to protecting and always respecting your privacy.


In turn, by signing in you're agreeing to our terms of use (including privacy policy and license agreement) found here »


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Also available to you and your team:

  • Versions for use in our Virtual Design Space
  • Related courses and mini-courses
  • Educator and coaching resources