The Analyst’s Canvas is a tool for specifying requirements and communicating capabilities across specialist silos. It offers a framework for evaluating dissimilar capabilities and exploring new opportunities for existing sources and methods, framing them in the context of the work they support, the client’s ultimate mission, expected outcomes, and available alternatives.

Analytic processes are essentially similar, despite distinctive vocabularies and the details of tools and techniques. A statistician, a data scientist, a marketing analyst, a geospatial analyst, an all-source intelligence analyst: Each starts with raw information or data, analyzes it, and delivers results in reports, displays, or data that feed into another process. A meaningful question might benefit from more than one specialist approach.

Different starting points in the canvas support different explorations. A business leader or client can specify requirements from a business perspective and compare alternative approaches. A data or tool vendor might explain how a product or service supports client processes. A product manager can compare with competitors and explore new markets for existing capabilities. The Analyst’s Canvas provides the common framework for thinking about different capabilities with a focus on what the client does with it—and why.

Behind the Canvas

The canvas is one of several projects from Directed Curiosity exploring how organizations can know more about what matters. For information about other projects, visit the website or subscribe to the newsletter.

The Analyst’s Canvas is free to use under a Creative Commons license. If you try it, I’d like to hear how it works for you.


Blank canvas: PDF | PNG
Canvas with notations: PDF | PNG
Test-case template: DOCX
Explorer Guide, v1: PDF

Posts about the Analyst’s Canvas

First Look: The Analyst’s Canvas
Testing the Analyst’s Canvas
Mapping Data Sources to Objectives