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Lean canvas

XC Staff

The lean canvas helps us stay disciplined about documenting and validating our riskiest business model hypotheses. Learn more about the history of Lean Canvas here. We prefer Lean Canvas in place of Business Model Canvases.

The product is only one component of a successful business

It's important to remember that your product alone doesn't make for a successful business. You need also need to make sure that the product is driving business impact. The canvas helps us capture and systematically de-risk the riskiest aspects of creating a business. Think of the Lean Canvas as a roadmap for validating and developing a concise business plan. It can be used to help keep team members and key stakeholders aligned on what success looks like.

While the Lean Canvas was developed to help entrepreneurs define new products, it can also be used to summarize how an existing product drives business impact and where there may be opportunities for improvement.

Components of a lean canvas

  • The problem is a list of our customers' top 3 underserved or unaddressed needs.
  • The solution is a list of the top 3 features we believe will address our customers' problems.
  • The unique value proposition is a clear and concise message that states how we are unique and worth engaging with.
  • Unfair advantage is something we have that can't be easily bought or copied, i.e. why we have a right to win in this space.
  • Customer segments are our target customers.
  • Existing alternatives are other solutions designed to address the customers' problems that our solution may compete with.
  • Key metrics are the ways we plan to measure success.
  • The high-level concept allows us to paint a picture of what we plan to accomplish in a short phrase.
  • Channels is our path to reach our customers.
  • Early adopters are the customers we believe will engage with us first.
  • The cost structure is how we plan to spend money.
  • The revenue streams is how we plan to generate revenue or align funding to the initiative.

Example: Interoperability lean canvas


  • As a consumer, I have to manage many separate apps to view my healthcare data
  • Humana data doesn’t integrate with any of my favorite apps like my provider data does
  • As a Humana developer or data scientist, I want to be able to leverage external data about our members for my projects


  • Create APIs to enable sharing of Humana data to third parties when requested by the member
  • Create a consumer-mediated data platform to receive, store, and update data from third parties to which the member or prospective member granted us access

Unique value proposition

As an insurer, Humana has a more complete view of customers’ healthcare utilization across providers

Unfair advantage

  • We possess data on nearly 17 million members of medical benefit plans and 6 million members of specialty products
  • We have experience integrating with external FHIR APIs

Customer segments

  • Third-party, consumer-facing applications
  • Internal developers and data scientist
  • End consumers, including existing, prospective, and previous Humana members

Existing alternatives

Many hospitals and EMRs are already providing data to third parties through FHIR APIs

Key metrics

  • Speed of delivery
  • Number of third parties leveraging FHIR APIs
  • Number of consumers exchanging data with trusted third parties leveraging Humana’s FHIR APIs

High-level concept

  • Become the first national insurance contributor to apps like Apple Health Records
  • Create an internal marketplace for external data similar to how Mint can leverage data from customers’ banks


  • Collaborating with existing Humana applications that may benefit from integrating external healthcare data
  • Collaborating with third party partners who offer consumer-facing health applications

Early adopters

  • Tech-savvy consumers who already use apps to link their healthcare data from various companies
  • Apple or other tech-forward companies interested in data interoperability
  • Humana employees looking to expand their product capabilities by leveraging external data (ex: developers or data scientists)

Cost structure

  • Humana capital required to build and maintain external APIs and consumer-mediated data platform (ongoing)
  • Technical cost associated with data storage and transmission (ongoing)
  • Human capital required to review from security and legal perspectives (short-term)

Revenue streams

Humana corporate funding

Further reading

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Humana, Inc.

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