Object of play: The partnership canvas is a tool that enables visualization of current and/or future partnerships. It can also be used for early testing of the value creating potential of a partnership between two partnership candidates. The tool’s purpose is to define your business priority for partnering, and empathize with your partner to explore whether there is potentially a match. The partnership canvas can be used as a stand-alone tool, but comes to full strategizing value when it is jointly used with the business model canvas, also available on this site.
Number of players: This can be done by yourself, but preferably with 2 teams of max 5 people representing each side of the partnership. Alternatively, make multiple pairs if there are more people.
Duration of play: (60-90 min):
– Step 1- Define intent (15 min)
–Step 2- Design partnership (15 min/sketch)
–Step 3- Bring teams to the negotiating table (15 min)
–Step 4- Evaluate the negotiation results and define next steps (20 min)
How to play
1. Define intent
a) Describe the aim or goal of the partnership for your business
b) List what would be ideal partners to work with and why. Organize a post up. Select a top partnership candidate, or multiple candidates.
c) Create (multiples of) 2 teams; 1 representing your business, 1 for a potential partner’s business.
2. Design partnership
a) Each team identifies their desired assets in their respective partner’s business model
b) Teams sketches out a partnership canvas from their own team’s perspective using stickie notes to define each building block
3. Bring teams to the negotiating table
a) Each team presents their partnership canvas
b) Compare the two partnership canvasses by mirroring the partnership perspectives. Compare between value offers of one team, to desired value of the other team, and whether there is mutual understanding of the transfer activities. Check for a clear fit.
c) Create agreement on the created value for each partner. Adapt partnership canvas and iterate step 3 if required.
4. Evaluate the negotiation results and define next steps
a) Do the elements of created value provide clear added value to each partner’s business?
b) Define next steps to effectuate the partnership
Strategy: The partnership canvas can be used to explore the idea of engaging in a partnership. A team can use the canvas to prepare for an upcoming conversation with a potential partner. Alternatively the session can be conducted jointly with a potential partner if there is already a mutual interest to explore partnering possibilities. The tool can firstly be used to determine whether there is a technical fit between two businesses. By working in teams and negotiating certain rivalry is always invoked, and teams can also get a sense of cultural fit between two partnering businesses.
In order to obtain full strategizing value from use of the canvas, it is advised to integrally work with the business model canvas. In the end, the partnership discussion is a key step in business model innovation