Business Design Tools

Persona Canvas

This tool will help you empathize with your stakeholders. Use it to explore people’s thinking and their daily experiences, to understand their hopes and fears as well as the contextual factors that are (or will be) affecting their lives.

This canvas is licenced to Design a Better Business

Negative Trends

Negative trends from the environment?

Need

What does this person really want?

Positive Trends

Positive trends from the environment

Headaches

Professional and work related issues

Opportunities

Professional and work related positive outcomes

Fears

Personal Issues

Hopes

Personal goals and hopes

5 Effective ways to use the tool

To better understand the people you serve

More than anything else, this tool can help you and your colleagues consider the mindset of your target audience. Take time to consider carefully: what are their hopes and fears? What headaches and opportunities occupy them? And what trends surround or affect them?

To align on questions worth investigating

Knowing that any persona exercise will necessarily involve making assumptions, some teams lean into this reality and simply list the questions they have that will help to resolve the assumptions in their heads. These questions can then form the basis of a survey or research project with your target audience.

As an onboarding tool

If your organization has complex or hard-to-understand customers (perhaps in a B2B context), the Persona Canvas can be your outline in explaining these customers to your new hires.

As a predictive exercise

What are the emerging trends in your customer’s world? Knowing what you know about the world today, what can you predict will challenge them in the months and years to come? What opportunities might present themselves? Consider using the Persona Canvas to approach these questions.

As a conversation guide

Do you have a trusted customer you’d like to know better? If the relationship is sufficiently open and honest, consider sitting down with this person to discuss their hopes and fears, their opportunities and headaches. Asking them directly can be an illuminating way to use this tool.

Top Tips

Choose a real (or realistic) persona

When using this canvas, start with a real person in mind – someone you have met or helped out in the course of your work. If no one specifically comes to mind, decide on a general persona that closely represents real people in your target audience.

Turn assumptions into questions

When exploring a persona, it is all too easy to fall back on stereotypes or make assumptions about the population in question. To some extent, assumptions are unavoidable; you can’t know everything and need to make some decisions with incomplete information. But whenever you feel there are too many assumptions, simply state these as questions – ones that you will ask of your target audience when the opportunity arises.

Be specific about the trends you identify

In the top section of the canvas (positive and negative trends), many users list vague terms or “bucket words” that don’t truly illuminate the situation. Instead of writing “labor market” as a positive trend, be specific with a phrase like “strong market for this person’s clinical skills.” Instead of noting the general trend of “inflation,” consider noting the “rising cost of groceries and healthcare.”

Have fun with the canvas

The person depicted on this canvas is mostly dotted lines – and that’s by design! While your team discusses ideas that will reveal this person’s perspective, grab a washable marker and bring them to life visually as well. What does their shirt or blouse look like? Are they wearing a hat, or perhaps glasses? Add just a few details to indicate what makes this person unique.

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More Great Tools

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More Great Tools

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