A couple of years ago, I explained the Business Model and Value Proposition Canvas to my kids. My daughter was about 8 years old and my son, 11. We worked through the Canvas with two simple examples: a toy store for my daughter and a snowboard shop for my son. The tool was easy to use, and the visuals told the business narrative. I instantly saw the recognition in their faces, the light bulbs — my children immediately understood the concept.
Based on this experience, my kids and I (together with Holger Nils Pohl and his team) went on to launch a comic book project that also explains business models to kids. Although this project is taking longer than we expected, it as been a phenomenal experience. It’s a project I’m particularly proud of, because it contributes to business education at an early age.
Last week my daughter had the opportunity to tell the story of our comic book to a class of 6-12 year-olds, and I taught them how to use the Business Model Canvas. I firmly believe this type of business/entrepreneurship comprehension should be an integral part of elementary education, similar to art appreciation. With an early introduction to entrepreneurship, kids learn the basics of business in a playful way, and and some may be inspired to become professional entrepreneurs.
We hope that someday business design (and our tools) can be fully integrated into education and culture, and will have a lasting impact similar to the scientific method or arithmetic.
Our community often writes to us about using our Strategyzer tools in schools and the classroom. We take immeasurable pride in the fact that our tools are so simple that even kids can use them! It’s the ultimate stress-test for any business tool.