What the ‘Startup Culture Canvas’ is, and why founders should use it:

It’s designed to help teams articulate a shared vision for the kind of company and culture they want to cultivate, and identify specific actions and strategies to achieve it. The Startup Culture Canvas is a template for using your culture as a more effective organizational operating system.

When I ask startup founders to rate the importance of company culture, I receive a range of responses; most recognise it as something that’s important and not just about whether to turn up to the office in a hoodie or a shirt.

Others attach more meaning to it but only think it will become a problem when it comes to hiring and scaling down the line. From the get-go, few ensure that it drips from every pore in the same way that, say, Manchester’s Social Chain do. Many founders who are keen to establish their company’s culture don’t know how to articulate their vision and Tara Horn, founder of The Praxis Department, has devised a handy PDF tool to help with that.

Horn believes that culture is everything from an organisation’s people to its business model, strategy and execution – and it’s all covered in her Startup Culture Canvas – a template for designing and cultivating a purpose-driven organisation from the ground-up. It will be familiar in name and appearance to anybody who has heard of the Business Model Canvas, which is a template based on lean startup methodologies used for fleshing out business models.

The Startup Culture Canvas works in a similar way, breaking down culture into five sections – Purpose, Values, Aspirations, Goals & Strategies, and Business Proposition – to help teams articulate a shared vision for the kind of company and culture they want to cultivate. Horn uses a tree diagram to illustrate how this works. Nail the ‘root’ parts at the bottom – the organisation’s core values and what happens when they’re acted upon, for example – and you’ll see the outcome of that reflected in the visible behaviour of employees in the leaves at the top. Sounds easy, right?

You can find more information and the linked PDF here.

  • June 7, 2018