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Learning Map

As both Peter Jones and Stephen Davies  have noted there is "a lot of cognitive overhead, a lot to catch up on" and we've only just begun.

The following are the key links (spread over many locations!), in (approximate) increasing detail with a bias to practitioner oriented material at the top of the list.

If you start to work through this learning map - once you're done - please tell us what you liked, what's missing - by adding comments to this page.



Introductions and Overviews

This was recorded at the TiE Institute's Social Entrepreneurship Program - in the session entitled "Business Model Canvas and Customer Development".

The other speakers on that night (Prof. Dave Valliere, Director, Entrepreneurship Research Institute, Ted Rogers School of Management (Ryerson University), and Seema Pabari from Tiffinday) can be viewed on the TiE Institute's Toronto channel

Next Level of Detail

    • A 15 minute video and slides "About Better, Strongly Sustainable, Business".  This video introduces sustainability, weak sustainability and strong sustainability and then discussed how this relates to creating better businesses.
    • A 15 minute video and slides "Designing Your Better Business".  This video introduces the ideas of sustainability (repeats opening of first video) and then explores how design is the critical processes for created better, strongly sustainable, businesses.
    • A manifesto for the group and the project: a 4 page deeper dive on the basic ideas behind SSBMG and Strongly Sustainable Business Models.
    • Academic articles:
      • Elkington, R., & Upward, A. (2016). Leadership as enabling function for flourishing by design. Journal of Global Responsibility, 7(1),  doi:10.1108/JGR-01-2016-0002 & manuscript www.academia.edu/23769906
      • Upward, A., & Jones, P. H. (2016). An ontology for strongly sustainable business models: Defining an enterprise framework compatible with natural and social science. Organization & Environment, Special Issue: Business Models for Sustainability: Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Transformation 29(1), 87-123. doi:10.1177/1086026615592933 & manuscript: www.academia.edu/14461116
        • This is the first peer reviewed article based on Upward's recent graduate thesis at York University on Strongly Sustainable aka Flourishing Business Models (Upward, 2013)
      • Jones, P. H., & Upward, A. (2014). Caring for the future: The systemic design of flourishing enterprises. Proceedings of The Third Symposium of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD3), Oslo, Norway, 3(1) 1-8. Manuscript with Links to Presentation https://www.academia.edu/14497937
        • A conference paper published that introduces an earlier version of the Flourishing Business Canvas - known as the Strongly Sustainable Business Model Canvas - also developed and tested during Upward's graduate research (Upward, 2013)
    • 50 page slide-share on both the SSBMC and the crowd-funded collaboration project (context for these slides in this blog post)
      • Recommend downloading: slide-share messes up some slides and doesn't allow animations and access to extensive speakers notes - which help comprehension)
      • A short update to our plans is here, including a one slide introduction to the whole team
    • Other posts in these two blogs on a variety of subjects
    • The slides and  documents on Antony Upward's SlideShare page
    • The videos on the Strongly Sustainable Business Model TV channel (ssBusinessModelTV)

Case Studies

  • Timberland - 88 year old, US$1.4B, profitable, U.S.-headquartered footwear and apparel, manufacture and retail company
  • Strongly Sustainable Business Model Innovation Project and Co-op (i.e. this project and the business we plan to launch).  See our two business models in Mural.ly here.
  • Tiffinday - Toronto based boutique food business and certified B Corporation specializing in plant based lunches
    • Slide 15 shows Tiffinday business model plotted on Strongly Sustainable Business Model Canvas
      • Download to be able to zoom in to read the stickies
    • Video of Tiffinday founder explaining her business using the profit-first Canvas is available here.
    • Video of Tiffinday founder explaining her business using SSBMCanvas available soon
  • The Better Cheese Company - an Ontario based food production company and certified B Corporation
    • Coming soon.  Members of the project team can access this work in process here.
    • This case study is planned to be featured in a number of workshops also in development.
  • Healthcare company based in India

Learning About the Better Business Model Canvas

The following are the current best available materials if  you wish to learn about all the 14 questions that the Strongly Sustainable Business Model Canvas asks.

This materials starts with the very basics, presented in the most accessible way, and gradually gets deeper and more technical.  Work through as much or little of this as you find useful!

  1. Intro Audio/Visual - ~3 mins - requires flash
  2. About Video - ~30 mins - provides context for the new canvas (first 8 mins) and introduces each box on the canvas in turn  (last 22 mins) 
    • People should have the following items handy while watching the video - all are mentioned / shown in the video
  3. Working Paper for those familiar with BMC and wanting to understand major changes to SSBMC - 10 page PDF attached.
  4. Chapter 2 section 2.6, pp.21-22  - from Antony Upward's thesis - A 1 1/2 page list of designed limitations (i.e. "that's a feature not a bug" - some of the bugs will  be "fixed" by other elements of the toolkit.
  5. Summary of positive feedback + observed designed limitations / criticism from the thesis research - 1 slide each
  6. Chapter 9 sections 9.3.2-9.3.7 pp.954-957 of Antony Upward's thesis is deep dive identified opportunities for improvement from evaluation.  9.3.7. is a particularly important and challenging limitation we need to attempt to solve (may required reading section 9.1.1 p.945 to understand terminology used)
    • Further details of evaluation activities conducted to determine the utility of the SSBMCanvas and results of this evaluation can be found in Chapter 8 pp.858-943
  • All items except for the videos can be downloaded.
  • All these materials are licensed under creative commons with a commercial restriction except the Working Paper - this is not licensed at this time for any further use other than learning

Most Detailed


  • A prezi which describes the original research was developed in the fall of 2014 and is available here.  There is also a video of a presentation given using this prezi by Antony Upward at a colloquium for Hamburg University's Faculty of Business, Economics & Social Sciences on Friday December 5, 2014 here.
    • The announcement / background for this colloquium is here:
  • The DropBox for the SSBMG has a number of related items
  • The Prezi developed as SSBMG got started in early 2012 - this could be called the SSBMGroups "Theory of Change" presentation.  Mostly still relevant - but not easy to follow without commentary.
    • Includes very early thinking about
      • Design principles for strongly sustainable businesses (top right)
      • Method for designing strongly sustainable businesses (bottom left)
      • Adoption and continuous improvement processes for the Toolkit (centre)
      • Dimensions of the market for the Toolkit (centre-left)
  • The 900 page thesis which developed and evaluated the Strongly Sustainable Business Model Ontology and Canvas
  • Presentations AND documents on Antony Upward's SlideShare Site.

Ideas for Future Elements of the Learning Map

  • The need for a short ~2-5 min video intro to the SSBMCanvas, much as Alex Osterwalder has done with the profit-first Business Model Canvas
    • Larry Barnard, CEO International Society of Sustainability Project Managers, suggests he might be able to help do something low cost:
      • "Have you checked out http://www.commoncraft.com/. They have a book called the "Art of Explanation" and a video training platform that is unique to their business. With that said, I think you would find it useful. I am attempting to perfect their model for future videos, and have setup a video studio and audio recording lab. If you need help with anything, we could always get together for a few days and collaborate on your next video production."

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