Collaboration Canvas

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This tool is based on the well-known Business Model Canvas: a non-linear approach to brainstorming, strategizing and developing new projects. It allows you to describe, design, challenge and (re-)invent your project in a very visual manner.

Created By TANDEM Cultural Managers Exchange

Keywords project development, project concept



The canvas includes 10 steps of any basic project description: Stakeholders and target groups, budget etc. With a full canvas you can efficiently write down any project or business plan. You can also recycle certain elements of the canvas for specific presentations or meetings.


  Download: Print Template DIN A3 | PDF for Online Work


In our experience the canvas method allows participants in our trainings to a fast and deep understanding of the possibilities their potential collaboration or project has to offer. It’s easy to follow what’s happening on the big canvas and using post-its you can shuffle ideas and elements infinitely.

How to do it

1. Brainstorming

Don’t start immediately with the canvas, but take some time to brainstorm. [20 minutes]. Anything that comes up is good, from using specific web tools to finding strategic partners and a specific person that you want to include in the project. Collect all ideas, key words, blurbs etc. on post-its. Each person can write for themselves or you can appoint a reporter. Use a new post-it for each idea or key word.

2. Categorization

Try and fit the post-its into the different categories. If you can’t figure out which category, you can put the post-it on the side of the canvas for the moment. At this stage, you can already see the first shape of the project come to life.

3. First Impressions

Share your first impressions in the team and see where more attention might be needed. Is it describing the target groups’ needs or the perhaps the impact evaluation? Can you now find a plce for all the post-its? You can decide to break into smaller groups or work individually on the building blocks that are underdeveloped.

4. Completion

Come back to the canvas and together tell the story from step 1 (target groups) to 10 (revenue streams). Take your time and keep adding new post-its to the canvas. If the story doesn’t feel right, try to re-arrange the post-its until it makes sense to you.

Several interesting tools may help you or your audience in filling out the sectors of the collaboration canvas. In example, do a stakeholder analysis under 5 (key partners/stakeholders).

Tips & tricks

  • Draw: use words AND images to describe the project and enhance understanding of the bigger picture
  • Use coloured post-its or colour pens to distinguish between for example the input from the different team members or for specific elements on the canvas
  • Sketch alternatives: even though you’re happy with the canvas at a certain moment, don’t be afraid to re-mix it and see if you can come to even better idea (take a picture so you can come back to the version you liked)
  • Invite other team members: tell the story of your project and their questions or feedbacks will help you further or inspire you