Key Things to Know about Mission Canvas

Introduction to Mission Canvas

How do organizations involved in the defense sector or services bring clarity to their policies and areas of execution? What are the processes that have to be planned or the stages that a product or service has to pass through to make it a success? There has to be a clear roadmap or a visual representation that envisages and lays out every aspect of a campaign or an organization and connects it. That is the Mission Canvas.

What is Mission Canvas?

Business model canvas help businesses to make the maximum use of their resources to create profitably and value. But when the organization does not operate for earning profits, then how to adapt that business model? It’s at this stage that a mission canvas comes into its own. A canvas is just a visual representation of the business model that an organization adopts.

A Mission Canvas is for those organizations such as those in the areas of defense, intelligence services, military organizations, support organizations, warfighters, among others whose primary interest is not to earn profits but to serve the nation and the community.

The Business Model Canvas by Alexander Osterwalder and Steve Blank forms the basis for the Mission Canvas. It is a new version of the Business Model Canvas where organizations who do not operate to make profits and earn revenues, can adopt the Mission Canvas. Here, the canvas is tweaked to make the canvas box adaptable for mission-driven organizations.

The revenue stream is not the main criterion here. But other critical aspects determine the success of the organization. Therefore, to measure the metrics of the overall working and operations of such organizations, the business model canvas is changed a bit. It becomes more relevant to the social enterprise.

What has changed in a Mission Canvas?

So we gather that something’s changed in the Business Model Canvas. But what? Let’s have a closer look at this. One thing that makes it so obvious to change is the type of organization that is in focus. Different organizations have different levels of management, operations, command, and the customers are also very different. Customers also vary from organization to organization.

Customer Segments has changed to Beneficiaries

Customers for some organizations are not those who pay for services or products but benefit from them. In a defense organization or military organization, these customers are not outside, but inside them. There are many levels of commands, and officers are there to oversee the operations. Some of them control the battle tanks, while others command the support staff. Some of them are deployed for systems control, while others command intelligence areas.

There are many stakeholders and users involved, and these are the beneficiaries of Mission Canvas. Thus, the Customer Segments box from the business model canvas has changed to Beneficiaries in the new Mission Canvas.

Value Proposition Canvas

Customers are the beneficiaries of Mission Canvas. But there are so many beneficiaries at so many levels. So to address those beneficiaries, Value Proposition Canvas makes the relation between the beneficiaries, products, and services. It is a visual add-on to the Mission Canvas. It has to be made for every beneficiary.

How will the product or service benefit the beneficiary, and what feature of that product will act as a pain reliever, or gain creator. So it establishes connectivity between the beneficiary or stakeholder and the value proposition box. It is then collectively called the Product/Mission Fit.

Distribution Channel has changed to Deployment

For organizations such as the Navy, the Army, or other services, the Distribution Channel box changes to Deployment. So there are questions that have to be restructured for the mentioned organizations, such as:

How will the software be deployed to users within that organization? Such deployment happens in services within the organization, or outside the organization, where the field of use is much greater.

  • How many personnel will it require?
  • How many units to deploy?
  • What are the architectural components needed?
  • How to deploy it in the field of use?

Customer Relationships changes to Buy-In/Support

Another box that has been modified in the Business Model Canvas is the Customer Relationship. It is now changed to Buy-in and Support. It is also relevant as it will visualize the type of personnel or beneficiaries that can provide funding or resources to solve a problem or come up with a new product that will have a competitive edge, not just technologically but as a service.

These beneficiaries within the organization will form a team or a coalition that has access to funding sources or have connections with other stakeholders. The organization will be clear of the buy-in needed to support a campaign. Support is another aspect of this box, and this is the support that the campaign receives. When the product reaches the actual users, how will they support it?

Revenue Streams changes to Mission Achievement

For a business organization, the Business Model Canvas had its Revenue box. But for mission-driven organizations, this box is changed to Mission Achievement.

Thus, what was revenue for a business enterprise is mission achievement for a service organization.

It is not the same as the Product/Mission Fit box, where the connection between a product and the benefits it confers was established.

It determines whether the product was delivered to the end beneficiary or not. Furthermore, it is the metric of the success of the mission or campaign that this box shows. Rather, it answers questions such as:

  • How many bombs did we defuse?
  • How many shelters did we build for refugees?
  • How many cyber-attacks did we fail?
  • What was the range of the new missile tracking system?

What’s not changed in Mission Canvas?

Some boxes have not changed in the Mission Canvas. They are:

Key Activities

The key Activities box is the one that will help to identify the activities that will create value in a product or service. It will help to answer questions such as:

  • What are the activities that the beneficiaries and users need to do?
  • What are the channels which are needed to channelize these resources to the users?

Key Partnerships

This box helps to solve the problem of whom to approach for outsourcing the activities. The stakeholders have to be identified in this box. It will have a clear idea of who are the beneficiaries, stakeholders, and who to partner with. It will answer questions such as:

  • Which are the activities of the partners?
  • What partners to approach?
  • What resources to outsource to partners?

Key Resources

This box will help organizations to determine what kind of resources they want for their campaigns. What are their products and how much of them need to be produced. It will put into perspective the users and their needs, the deployment channels, the activities and processes that beneficiaries need to do, and more.

Mission Budget/Cost

What is the expenditure to be made for the product or campaign, this is a question that is probably best answered by this box. It will define all costs that go into making or deploying a product. It will help to determine whether the campaign is cost-effective or not, and also provide answers for questions such as:

  • What are the major costs?
  • What are the savings on the project?
  • What processes are the most costly to use?
  • What is the projected overall cost?

Final Words

So, it’s this Mission Canvas that helps to plan out a campaign from the start to its deployment, which measures its success. It creates a visual picture of all the critical aspects of the planning, execution, and actual deployment.

That way, it negates all possibilities for errors, and it exposes loopholes or gaps in the smooth flow between the different levels of command.

It makes a clear indication of the hierarchy structure within that organization, and what are the stakeholders and other users of the product.



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