Business Model Canvas – six questions for the sector

Business Model Canvas – six questions for the sector

By Mark Robinson


Mark Robinson explores some of the patterns emerging from his arts and culture business model case studies and poses six questions for the sector.


Osterwalder and Pigneur created The Business Model Canvas as a shared language for describing, visualising, assessing and changing business models.

They say ‘a business model describes the rationale of how an organisation creates, delivers and captures value.’

A creative canvas

The Business Model Canvas is a visual framework for describing the different elements of how a business works. It illustrates what the business does, for and with whom, the resources it needs to do that and how money flows in and out of the business.

The canvas, which can be used to design new models or to analyse current models, is made up of nine elements:

  • Key Partners
  • Key Activities
  • Key Resources
  • Value Proposition
  • Customer Relationships
  • Channels
  • Customer Segments
  • Cost Structure
  • Revenue Streams

For a full introduction see Introducing the Business Model Canvas.

Case studies

From the growing series of arts and culture business model case studies shared on CultureHive some patterns emerge.

Common trends and outlying choices raise questions about focus, benefits and how the cultural sector is adapting to a changing environment.

While the sample is still relatively small, the series poses some interesting questions and points to patterns for future consideration in the cultural sector.

Q1. Can you talk clearly, simply and powerfully about your business model and your value?

Osterwalder and Pigneur describe typical patterns of business models using the Business Model Canvas.

The arts and culture organisations explored in this series of case studies do not fall simply into one category or another. They are marked by their hybrid and complex nature.

One can speculate that this complexity may stem from the often wide range of Customer Segments and Key Partners involved in most cultural organisations. Even where a large proportion of income flows from end-users such as visitors, audiences or schools, there are other customers or audiences who benefit from the Value Proposition. These may be funders or regional or national partners. This tends to lead to open multi-sided business models.

Download the article to read more:
Business Model Canvas - six questions for the sector (PDF)

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Resource type: Research | Published: 2016