The Operating Model Canvas

Remember you found it here first: The Operating Model Canvas. The idea is to build on the popular Business Model Canvas which does not flesh out the operating model to the level of detail that most leaders need.

Half of the Business Model Canvas is devoted to customers, channels and value propositions. This leaves less than half for operating model elements – Key Activities, Key Resources and Key Suppliers. The Operating Model Canvas goes much further than this.

In this blog you are going to get just a flavour of the Operating Model Canvas. In later blogs I will flesh out the ideas more fully and, hopefully, provide a visual.

An Operating Model Canvas (OMC) can be developed for each stakeholder or beneficiary and for each type of benefit (or value promise or value proposition). It is particularly important to develop a different OMC for each different value chain (or activity chain or process steps). So, for my business, I need to do an OMC for the delivery of courses to executives and another OMC for the delivery of breakthrough research and a third for the management of a network of strategy executives. In addition, an integrated OMC is then created to show how the three OMC’s are linked together. If the OMCs are highly integrated rather than divisionalised as is the case for the Ashridge Strategic Management Centre, it is hard to design one OMC without considering how it will fit with the others.

The Operating Model Canvas captures the main elements of the operating model in a way that makes it possible to then design the details – processes, information architecture, decision structures, committees, job descriptions, KPIs, incentives, people policies, office and factory space, etc.

So what does an OMC cover. On the right hand side is the customer or beneficiary. An arrow points at the customer defining the “value promise”. To the left of the arrow are three columns taking up the rest of the page. The first (closest to the arrow) is headed “Process Steps”. This space is used to draw the value chain or list the process steps needed to deliver the benefit. Next comes the “Enablers” – SPLITS – Skills, People, Locations, Information, Technology and Suppliers. The important consequences for each of these six elements are listed here. The final column is headed “Organisation Model”. This space is used to draw an organisation chart as an organisation model (special tool for this) or just describe the core elements of the organisation.

Since first writing this blog – the tool (operating model canvas) has become fully defined and developed.  It is now explained in a book, a video and a website.


About Andrew Campbell

Ashridge Executive Education Focus on strategy and organisation Almost retired!
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3 Responses to The Operating Model Canvas

  1. Pingback: Designing beyond the boundaries of the firm | Ashridge on Operating Models

  2. Pingback: Another operating model canvas | Ashridge on Operating Models

  3. Pingback: Thoughts about HR and Operating Models | Ashridge on Operating Models

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