Business Model Canvas vs. Lean Canvas

The Business Model Canvas was proposed by Alexander Osterwalder based on his earlier book: Business Model Ontology. It outlines several prescriptions which form the building blocks for the activities. It enables both new and existing businesses to focus on operational as well as strategic management and marketing plans. The Lean Canvas, on the other hand, has been proposed by Ash Maurya as a development of the Business Model Generation. It outlines a more problem focused approach and it majorly targets entrepreneurs and startup businesses.

Element Business Model Canvas Lean Canvas
Target New and existing businesses Startup businesses purely
Focus Customers, Investors, Entrepreneurs, Consultants, Advisors Entrepreneurs purely
Customers Lays emphasis on customer segments, channels and customer relationships for all businesses Does not lay much emphasis on customer segments because startups have no known or tested products to sell
Approach It lays down the infrastructure, lists the nature and sources of financing and the anticipated revenue streams of the business It begins with the problem, a proposed solution, the channels to achieving the solution, costs involved and the anticipated revenue streams
Competition It focuses on value proposition in quantitative and qualitative terms as way to stay smart in the market It assesses whether the business has an unfair advantage over the rest and how to capitalize on it for better grounding
Application It fosters candid understanding, creativity, discussion and constructive analysis It is a simple problem-solution oriented approach which enables the entrepreneur to develop step-by-step

In as much as both models give analytical approaches which are vital in the success of a business, they have faced their own share of criticisms. For instance, the Business Model Canvas does not take into account the performance measurement and the business model management which are vital for the continued success of the business while the Lean Canvas does not give the expected approach when the solution given to the initial problem becomes unrealistic or difficult to attain on the ground.

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