Healthy Communities Strategy Canvases


to download the tools

What are these canvases for?

This set of five tools will help you organize your thinking, align your team, and design powerful strategies for improving health in your community.   In the course of completing this design journey, you will explore the challenges that face community members, the broader context in which everyone is living, the vision that will guide your work, the resources that will be required, and the critical action steps necessary to advance. Gather your colleagues and key partners – this work can be done in-person or virtually, and allow yourselves to design a compelling and impactful future that is grounded in your community’s needs. These canvases debuted at the Montana Healthy Communities Conference in 2020

Warm Up

Empathy Map Warm Up Canvas

Empathy Mapping allows you to zoom in to your community at a persona or person level. The goal is to try and understand what is truly important for these people, so their perspective is included in your  community plan. When using the Empathy Map, it’s about finding the balance between facts and assumptions.


Community Context Canvas

Before developing a plan for the future, it is important to identify external factors that impact your community, its residents, and the challenges they face. What you discuss in this exercise will underpin the community plan you will develop.


Vision Canvas

The purpose of this canvas is to help your team align on your long-term goal for your community. With your key community challenge in mind, create an aspirational, yet realistic vision of the future and the outcomes associated with that vision.


Resource Mapping Canvas

This canvas helps you map out the resources you currently have and the ones you need to get in order to achieve your bold community vision. You will consider more than just who is on your team – you must also have the financial backing, expertise, and buy-in to make bold changes.


Strategic Gameplan Canvas

Based on the vision you have defined and the resources you need to gather, what work needs to get done in the next three months? These are your first steps toward making your community vision a reality.

5 Effective Ways to Use the Tool

Kick off your community planning exercise

Align your team on shared goals that have been co-created. When used well, it will allow a “north star” to emerge that the team will rally round. It will help keep you focused on results and impact without compromising on what is important to the organization, values, relationships, brand etc.

Align as a team

Clarity is key here. Your team need to know exactly what the goal is and what it looks like. If they are aligned on this, they can work far more effectively as a unit. But don’t be afraid to think big. Short term goals are all well and good, but driving towards ambitious targets will be what will keeps you innovating and improving.

Use this to gather and include community members

This is an amazing tool for bringing new team members up to speed. Building understanding and excitement, you can quickly communicate the vision of the team.

Use the outputs to create a prototype of the story to see if you're on the right path

You are in the middle of implementing your strategy….stop the autopilot for a moment and allow your team to breath and sense check what is in play. Re-align your team on the ‘why’ and the vision objectives. Reflect on what is helping and what is holding you back. Work hard and be honest about your strategic focus. Are the correct BOLD STEPS in play? Are you working on the right things? Are we good as-is, or do we need to adjust?

Structured outline to share your story

Key Resources

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