Tri-Sector Mindset & Tools: A Guide
Tri-Sector Innovation Tools

Tri-Sector Innovation Canvas v2

How might we develop concepts for a successful and impactful business? How might we take better advantage of existing resources and opportunities to strengthen our strategy? A free tool for designing tri-sector solutions
Developing innovative business models requires bringing together multiple layers of information and perspectives — the Tri-Sector Innovation (TSI) Canvas brings these together into a single view.
The TSI Canvas is a pragmatic one-page silo-busting ideation tool that helps entrepreneurs and innovators from all sectors design models that unite profit and purpose.
By using a tri-sector approach to identify opportunities, as well as design solutions and strategies for business and impact needs, you can gain an advantage and provide more value to your organization, customers, and community.
The TSI Canvas is designed to:
Help you expand options and possibilities and then home in on ideas to develop or enhance your business model and solve problems
Integrate impact into the design process in a way that strengthens your business model
Uncover existing resources that can be repurposed and aligned to benefit your model and create value for your customers and other beneficiaries
Spark innovative solutions by enabling you to move between high-level ideation and pragmatic problem solving within a single view
Be highly flexible so you can use it for a wide range of needs like rapid riffing on ideas or delving deeper into a concept or as a complement to Lean Canvas, Business Model Canvas and other innovation tools and methods
TSIC v2.6 Miro Template + Manual - cycle.jpg
The TSI Canvas provides a singular view of a framework that brings together patterns and opportunities found from your insights and research. The TSI Canvas helps you build on tools and processes you are already using. The work leading up to and inserted into the TSI Canvas can become inputs into business model development tools, such as the , Lean Canvas, or a Business Model Canvas.
The innovation canvas is a tool that provides a pragmatic approach to building models that unite profit and purpose
Identify resources that can be tapped to solve business and impact needs
Find self-interests that can be aligned and harnessed to strengthen a concept or business model
Needs addressed by
Innovation Canvas
Are there any early innovation concepts worth exploring?
How might we unite profit and purpose within the concept and business model?
In what ways can we create more value for our customers?
How might we leverage existing resources and opportunities to strengthen our strategy?

How it works

There is no right or wrong way to start this canvas, nor is there a specific timeframe or phase in which you should use the canvas.
Wherever you are in your innovation process — whether you’ve recently identified a business problem to address, come up with a new concept to flesh out, or found a new resource — your organization can capitalize on the TSI Canvas to help you ideate and build out your tri-sector strategy.
The TSI Canvas is a flexible design with no fixed pathway — you start with the questions for which you already have answers and build from there working through blocks and frames, generating ideas, capturing findings, and identifying areas for research.
You’ll then iterate, working across frames and blocks to find patterns and connect dots, further generate, and then home in on solutions that seem promising
Screenshot of Trisector Innovation Canvas
The canvas has three large sections or Frames, each Frame has a particular focus: problem, concept, and tri-sector. Within each frame there are Blocks with prompts to spark ideation and expand possibilities and perspectives.
The TSI Canvas is designed to be an iterative, thought-provoking ideation tool using guided prompts within each block. These prompts help frame your thinking and exploration around not only the tri-sector lens, but also the differing perspectives of the community, the sectors, and other impacted people (whether directly or indirectly) around a problem or opportunity space.
We recommend you start with what you already know from your research, and try to answer any question prompts from any section. As you fill out what you know, the canvas visually highlights gaps in your concept for you to conduct more research. Areas with gaps or lightly-developed answers on the TSI Canvas are encouraged to be explored in more depth by using the TSI Canvas Question Bank (see below).
pdf template - questions.jpg
Prompts in the TSI Canvas Question Bank are designed to spark thinking and pattern-finding as you work through the canvas. Often more research and explorative thinking is needed to answer these question prompts.
Each block of the TSI Canvas has a corresponding bank of questions that can be identified by referring to the letter/number combination in the circle to left of each block.
Using the canvas is an iterative process—it is just the next step in narrowing your focus and advancing your thinking towards a tri-sector model. The answers you develop inform other parts of the canvas, so you should revisit sections or individual questions as you expand your thinking. Completing the TSIC step helps organize your work around specific innovation ideas, narrow your focus, and identify any areas requiring further investigation.
No matter where you are in your innovation path, the TSI Canvas can help you ideate, converge & diverge, design, and further develop your ideas. In designing this tool, NewImpact worked with entrepreneurs and innovators alike to understand how they go about ideating and developing solutions through the TSI Canvas.
TSIC v2.6 Miro Template + Manual - Innovation Pathways used in PDF - preferred.jpg
Innovation pathways are the various pathways through the TSI Canvas. To help you get started, we mapped a few of the more common pathways.
Although these innovation pathways look linear, the process of filling out the canvas is iterative and you will revisit blocks as ideas, opportunities, and patterns emerge and you refine your idea.
Below is a completed canvas created as an example using the founding of Coinstar. This canvas was created during our — please check out this very to learn more about how to use this tool.
pdf template - example.jpg

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