We have since updated this framework to be the 'needs' canvas, focused on capturing a market opportunity on a page.

This recognises that more often than not, a good idea is solving multiple problems for customers and so having a single problem captured is not enough depth.

Key insights if you're too busy to read :) 
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What is the problem canvas

The problem canvas is in essence a breakdown of a problem on a page.

The major benefit of the canvas is that it helps you analyse and understand your problem in more depth before diving into creating solutions.

Problem canvas use cases - when should you use this tool?

We created this tool originally for ourselves, asking the question: 'how do we know we are ready to start creating solutions?'.

In the innovation sphere, there's lots of emphasis on solution techniques and capturing ideas such as the lean canvas and business model canvas. But, we found there was a void when it came to understanding a problem properly, and more often than not that meant that people would jump to solution mode too early.

The problem canvas has been one of the favourite tools our clients have used, and we've been amazed at some of the uses cases!

Why should you use the problem canvas?

There are a few benefits of using the tool:

An example: forge training (old training program)

We've added a filled out version of the problem canvas below created for our own training product: Forge.


Download the template problem canvas below.

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Stories & Improvements

We would love to hear stories from you if you try and like the tool! You can tag us on LinkedIn or shoot me a personal email of your application of the tool at: awetherell@alto-education.com.

We also believe in continuous improvement, this tool is not static but rather as we continue to apply it, learn its shortcomings and create iterations that are better - then we will improve the template. So, if you have suggestions for improvements or issues using the tool you'd like to share with us then we're all ears! My email is awetherell@alto-education.com.