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Tips for completing your lean canvas

Completing the lean canvas is an iterative process. Use the template to build up your project idea to the final proposal.

The 3 main features that have come through from previous successful applications are:

  • the problem or opportunity is described well
  • the project deliverables are clearly stated
  • the project deliverables, outputs of the pilot / proof of concept relate back to and directly contribute to the solution and solving the stated problem.

For your final application, make sure you keep your lean canvas to 1 page of the template. If your draft is too long, it might be easier to start a new version, and pull out bullet points from your first draft to articulate the project idea and context.

Try not to repeat yourself in the different sections by stating the same fact from different perspectives — provide just the information asked for in the template instructions.

If you’ve applied for funding before, clearly state how the project has developed since the last application, for example include evidence you have sourced or outcomes you have achieved.

How to build your canvas using the template

Use these supplementary notes to help you complete all fields on your lean canvas.

Download the Digital Government Partnership Innovation Fund lean canvas template (Word 51KB)

  1. The problem — clearly define the problem, or the opportunity. Include meaningful evidence and facts about why it’s a problem or opportunity, such as who is affected and the impacts on individuals, organisations and systems. Provide a logical and concise argument keeping it to the core issue.
  2. Project outcomes — describe what the ideal world / case would look like as a result of your initiative.
  3. Value and impact — what are the long-term impacts if you solve the problem or leverage the opportunity? Describe the value your initiative would add to organisations, customers and the wider digital public service. Include how the project aligns to the Strategy for a Digital Public Service or the Government Data Strategy and Roadmap on the Data.govt.nz website.
  4. Proposed solution — what is your proposed solution or initiative? How will you address the problem, and how will funding from the Innovation Fund make a difference? What is the role of the pilot project / proof of concept in developing a solution that can be used wider.
  5. Product(s) / outputs — describe exactly what you will deliver as part of your project: the product, and outputs and activities you'll deliver as part of the initiative. This can include specific strategic insights you can use to scale the pilot or reuse the proof of concept.
  6. Plan to scale / system re-use — what is your plan to scale or re-use the solution across the system?
  7. Partner agencies and organisations — list the partners you'll be working with and describe how they'll contribute to the proposed solution.
  8. Barriers and risks — outline the possible barriers to success and how you'll manage any risks.
  9. Related initiatives — describe any similar initiatives that are underway.

Final check

When you have finished your lean canvas, take the time to read through and check your draft.

  • Make sure the outputs of the pilot / proof of concept clearly link back to and contribute to the solution, solve the problem you have outlined.
  • Is the project feasible and realistic?
  • Is the timeframe for implementation realistic?
  • Is the budget realistic? Can it be broken down according to the project milestones?
  • Is it doable? Check in with the operations and development teams across your partner agencies if need be.
  • Does the project have a clear end date?
  • Are there clear strategic alignments to government priorities and the:

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