Robert Hoekman Jr

Deliver Value Faster

Innovation Canvases

Tools for understanding, prioritizing, and acting on research and other insights so you can start yielding results from your product design and innovation efforts.

I've stolen, adapted, and otherwise learned about some of these from fantastic people such as Christina Wodtke (Elegant Hack) and James Young (Tangible UX). Others, I created myself.

Value stream diagram

Value stream diagram
  • What it's for: Visualizing every step in the process of delivering value to a recipient (a customer, user, internal stakeholder, etc.). This ensures every person on the team has the same understanding of the problem or opportunity. Stop remembering. Start seeing.
  • When to use it: First, such as during the MVP Studio, prior to building anything or running any experiments.
  • How to use it: As a group of delivery team members, use this in combination with a body-storming exercise, in which you physically act out the steps in the process of delivering value. As the group acts out the steps, a live-sketcher captures the steps in a drawing via flip pads, a whiteboard, or something else.

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Value proposition canvas

Value proposition canvas
  • What it's for: Defining the promise your solution will make to the recipient (customer, user, stakeholder, etc).
  • When to use it: Early, while planning your upcoming series of Innovation Studios.
  • How to use it: As a group, identify problems, pain points, and potential gains from the value stream diagram (above), and synthesize these into a mission statement for the solution.

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Impact/LoE matrix

Impact/LoE matrix
  • What it's for: Prioritizing the elements of a solution based on their potential level of effort and impact.
  • When to use it: Early, such as during the MVP Studio, prior to building anything or running any experiments.
  • How to use it: As a group, organize sticky notes that each describe a distinct element of a solution into the four squares. Crucial: Must include input from Engineering, PM, and UX

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Value/Risk matrix

Value/Risk matrix
  • What it's for: Prioritizing the elements of a solution based on their value and degree of risk to decide which elements to work, plan, put on hold, and file away.
  • When to use it: Early, such as during the MVP Studio, prior to building anything or running any experiments.
  • How to use it: As a group, organize sticky notes that each describe a distinct element of a solution into the four squares. Crucial: Must include input from Engineering, PM, and UX

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Participatory roadmap

Participatory roadmap
  • What it's for: Planning the next 1-3 months' worth of efforts. Note: The roadmap can and will change based on the outcome of each subsequent Innovation Studio.
  • When to use it: Immediately after completing the matrices above.
  • How to use it: As a group, distribute the stick notes from the matrices above into buckets of Now, Next, and Later according to what must be planning or worked on first, next, and so on.

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Journey lines canvas

Journey lines canvas
  • What it's for: Viualizing the current and target degrees of value-recipient happiness for each step of a value stream. Note: This is very useful for communicating your work to people outside of the delivery team.
  • When to use it: While scoping your MVP, such as during the MVP Studio, and again at the start of every Innovation Studio.
  • How to use it: Using sticky notes, screenshots or something else, indicate as a group the level of happiness the recipient currently feels during each step in a value stream, then indicate the level happiness the recipient should feel. This can be done either as a before/after description of what happened, or a current/target expression of what's true now and what should be true later.

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Rapid experiment canvas

Rapid experiment canvas
  • What it's for: Planning an experiment to break an assumption, validate an idea, and otherwise vet a potential solution to determine its merit before advancing it through design iteration and engineering effort.
  • When to use it: At the end of the MVP Studio to plan the first or more subsequent Innovation Studio(s), and again at the start of every Innovation Studio.
  • How to use it: As a group, fill in each box to describe what's true now, what shouldbe true later, a hypothesis (in the form of an If/Then statement), a Minimum Viable Test for that hypothesis, who will participate in the experiment, when it will start and end, how you will measure the results, and what you will do with those results.

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Innovation studio method

Innovaton studio method
  • What it's for: Traversing the complete product design process for an untested idea via short, rapid cycles meant to validate every potential solution element that requires it.
  • When to use it: At the start of every Innovation Studio.
  • How to use it: Complete each step of the canvas across a one- or two-week timeframe, coinciding with your Agile development schedule, as it makes sense for your organization. Candidates for Innovation Studio cycles come from the upper-right quadrant of the Value/Risk matrix (above), labeled "Run Rapid Experiment," having been prioritized via the other canvases above.

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