Defining partnership intent

When you think you have an idea for an innovation that will really propel your business forward, you always wonder: will we serve our customers in the best way if we do it all ourselves? What do you weigh-in in order to decide whether you can best make, buy, or ally?

I often get asked such questions about the point at which it makes sense to consider a partnership. Here’s the framework I use to answer those questions. Flick through the slides to have a closer look at the components.

These are the essential 4 factors you need to consider, to determine whether you’re in the most suitable position to launch an innovation yourself. You have to look at these factors like a kind of a puzzle. If you answer “no” to one of these questions, then one of the pieces is missing. You’ll need to seriously consider reaching out to other parties to obtain it. Use your aal the knowledge about your company, to underpin the decision whether or not you’re in the best possible to position to do it all yourself.


  1. Figuring out your partnership intent is important. It will help you define what your priority is for partnering, as well as what you would require from a partner.
  2. Once you’ve established your intent, then start the work on designing your partnership options. For this you can use the partnership canvas.

Interested to learn more about using the Partnership Intent Puzzle, and the Partnership Canvas for transformative business collaboration?

You can join the Partnership Design Linkedin group.

Partnership Canvas Gamestorm

Recently, I posted the primer on the new Partnership Canvas, an add-on tool to the Business Model Canvas. I’ve gotten a fair bit of response on this canvas, particularly with requests for how to tailor a workshop around it.

Based on these requests, I’ve written out a playscript for a workshop with the Partnership Canvas, and posted it on the excellent Gamestorming Wiki.

I’m grateful and humbled that Dave Gray allowed me to post this tool amongst the collection of the other valuable visual gaming tools. Do browse through more of this Wiki if you want to realise more effective exchange in your brainstorms, and decision creating/making. Also check out the Gamestorming book, which contains more support in setting up visual meeting  workshops.

The partnership canvas as is, is just a first launching feature for a product that will help in the partnership design and implementation process. If you’re interested to learn more about the new developments around the canvas and are eager to test out/suggest new features, then read the introductory blog post to the early user sign-up page, and register. As soon as we have some new experiments to run, we’ll get you involved!

Join the Partnership Design Linkedin community!
Link up with other partnership professionals? Advice or input on your partnership design? Join the Partnership Design Linkedin community!