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Introducing the Lean Impact Assessment Canvas: Your essential second step

for designing business models with a strong focus on creating positive impact.

This versatile tool is specifically designed for engineers, scientists, software

developers, and anyone passionate about fostering regenerative businesses that

prioritize making a meaningful difference.

Incorporating an impact model with the Lean Impact Assessment Canvas as the second step enhances a business model's effectiveness, improves sustainability outcomes, and contributes to long-term success. These are the reasons why this step is crucial in designing a regenerative business model:

  • Holistic sustainability: It helps to identify the environmental and social aspects of the business that need improvement or fine-tuning, ensuring a more holistic approach to sustainability to go beyond mere profitability.

  • Risk mitigation: It reveals potential risks related to environmental and social issues. Identifying and addressing these risks early prevent costly setbacks, such as legal issues, reputational damage, or regulatory challenges, and helps the business navigate uncertainties more effectively.

  • Market differentiation: Businesses that demonstrate their positive impact are more likely to stand out and attract socially conscious consumers and investors. An impact model provides the evidence and data necessary to communicate your commitment to regenerative practices and differentiate your business in the market.




Creating a compelling impact model involves a structured approach consisting of three key phases, each building upon the previous one. The time required to complete these stages may vary depending on the complexity of your business idea and the level of scrutiny you wish to apply. Typically, a recommended starting point is to initiate the process with a 4-hours workshop.


With your Impact Value Proposition in place, the next step is to develop an impact model using the Lean Impact Assessment Canvas. This tool helps you to describe your impact hypothesis, identify the metrics for achieving a desired impact and map out the specifics of your impact strategy.


Lean Impact Assessment Canvas

  1. Start with the Problem on the left side of the canvas: What specific wicked problem are you solving?

  2. Identify Beneficiaries: Who is having a benefit? Who are your users and target group?

  3. Define Key Activities: Which technical features, activities or programs are you offering to solve the problem?

  4. And define Key Resources: What resources (material, time, financial) are needed?

  5. All this gives you first hints which Sustainability Development Goals are affected.

  6. Now think about Effects on the right side of the canvas: What effects and results do you want to achieve? How important are these effects for people and the planet? Start with negative effects and then head over to the positive ones.

  7. Then determine How Much: How significant is the effect over a certain period of time? How many people and species are affected? How long does it take, and how quickly does it occur?

  8. And be aware of Risks: How high is the risk for the people and the planet that the effect does not occur as expected?

  9. After that, it is necessary to specify Key Data: What data and metrics are needed to measure the effect?

  10. And to predefine which Decisions can be made with the data collected?

  11. Go back to the Sustainability Development Goals in the middle and figure out which effects contribute to which SDG.


Well done - you have developed your impact model as a plug-in for your Regenerative Business Model!


Please be aware that this is a strategic tool:
You can structure your ideas and test different models against each other. Furthermore, it helps you to analyze knowledge gaps and roadblocks. Be aware of biases, but remember that it is not about statistical significance. It's not about developing a pretty impact model chart, it's about deriving realistic actions whose impact can be measured.

  • Use a large print out of the canvas posters (at least DIN A1, 594 x 841 mm or 23.39 x 33.11 inch (0.84 m)).

  • Use sticky notes and don’t write on the canvas itself. This helps you to move ideas around.

  • Note one idea per sticky with a thick marker and describe any idea in 2–3 words.

  • Use different colors for different elements. It makes it easier to read your canvas.

  • Invite people from various departments as sparring and brainstorming partners. Also think about professional backgrounds like impact and industry experts as well as financial and legal advisors to
    bring a profound systems' knowledge to the table.

  • Make sure that you document all relevant insights, ideas, and action items for further development and implementation. Don’t put too many ideas on one canvas – use several canvases instead.

Great job! Eager to discover the next steps toward adopting a regenerative business model?

Embark on your journey to create an impact-driven business model using the Regenerative Business Model Canvas.



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