Corona Crisis Canvasses

Like the Spanish Inquisition, few people foresaw the Corona crisis and the global impact it has unleashed across borders and industries. Few things are unaffected, and most organisations have been forced to operate in full crisis mode; struggling to protect people, keep supply chains running and mitigate business losses.

A significant change has been the shift to working from home and virtual meetings. While some have been used to virtual collaboration, many have been forced to radically change their ways of working. Deeply rooted routines and habits have been shattered, in both good and hard ways. So, organisations are facing a double challenge – they have been forced to adapt to major business transformations while at the same time, having to reinvent the way they collaborate, innovate and lead.    

Important conversations in extraordinary times

In the past weeks, we have been in close dialogue with our global network of clients, partners and collaborators to understand how the crisis has impacted ways of working, organisational culture and the role of leadership. From international corporations to leading business schools and consultancies. The input tells a story that gives cause for both optimism and concern – One client shared a story of how they, after having discussed implementing MS Teams for almost a year without much traction, suddenly were able to successfully roll out the platform across a global organisation in 48 hours. Others tell stories of how remote work has fortified internal siloes and shattered cross-organisational collaboration. Many leaders have been energised by the crisis, but organisations are also experiencing spikes in uncertainty, depression and burnouts.

This set of ‘corona crisis canvases’ is based on all these stories, insights and ideas. We have designed three canvases to help teams have deep and relevant conversations on urgent issues. Each canvas addresses a different need and challenge:

  1. Growth Recovery
    Use this canvas to facilitate strategic dialogues on how to update and revitalise the 2020 targets and critical priorities for your organisation. Most relevant for management teams or people working with strategy and business development.
  2. Team Alignment
    Use this canvas to facilitate team dialogues about critical ways of working and short-term priorities in response to the Corona crisis.
  3. Team Health and Resilience
    Use this canvas to facilitate dialogues in a team about how people are doing and what can be done to support motivation, collaboration and wellbeing during the Corona crisis. We would like you to note that the Team Health and Resilience canvas requires special attention from the facilitator as it may tap into personal and emotional conversations.
  4. Learning from COVID-19 (New!)
    Use this canvas to facilitate team conversations on what you can learn from the crisis and how these observations can inspire better ways of working.

Thumbnails of the three canvasses

Visual conversation tools for virtual or physical use

Each canvas is designed to support a physical or virtual workshop with a duration of 90-120 minutes. We do not recommend using more than one canvas in the same workshop - it is better to plan multiple workshops instead.

The canvases on Team Alignment and Team Health and Resilience can be used several times by the same team – perhaps as part of a monthly or bimonthly session.

If possible, we recommend having someone outside the team help with the facilitation – perhaps an HR Partner or a leader from another team. It can be helpful to have an ‘outsider’ ask curious questions and summarise discussions.

Try to create an informal and trustful atmosphere where there is room for candid discussions and shared reflections. This is especially important when working with the canvas on Team Health and Resilience. Be mindful of your team members’ emotional safety.

Work with the steps one at a time

The canvases are structured with 3 to 6 steps. Allocate between 15 and 30 minutes to each step. Within each step, we recommend a flow in three parts:

  1. Initial thoughts: A quick round where all participants share their initial considerations. Physical or virtual stickers can be useful for this part.  
  2. Discussion: An open conversation inspired by the initial thoughts. Focus on learning from each other by exploring different perspectives or ideas. Do not try to reach consensus or make conclusions yet.  
  3. Finalising: The wrap-up of the discussion and note down the most relevant and important insights, conclusions or ideas.  

Virtual or face-to-face workshops?

For face-to-face workshop, we recommend printing the canvases as large as possible (A1 or A0 if possible). Place the canvas on a table or wall, and have the participants work around the canvas standing up. Use markers and perhaps stickers.

Virtual workshops can be run on platforms like MS Teams, Skype, Google Hangout, Zoom, Miro or Mural. The only essential features are video conferencing and desktop/screen sharing. With virtual sessions, we recommend keeping the number of participants low – 4-7 people is a good size. Larger groups must be split into subgroups.

There are three ways of using the canvases virtually:

  • The facilitator can upload the canvas in pdf format to collaboration platforms like Miro, Mural or Whiteboard in MS Teams. Everybody can work on the canvas at the same time.
  • The facilitator can share the canvas in Powerpoint format as a shared document in Google Hangout or MS Teams. This allows all participants to edit the document simultaneously.
  • The facilitator can use share desktop on platforms like Zoom, Skype or MS Teams to show the canvas as a Powerpoint file in editing mode. As the participants discuss, the facilitator takes notes that all can see.

Powerpoint versions of the canvasses are available for download in the sidebar.

Help us make, improve and develop

We are very curious to hear about your experience with using the canvases. Please let us know what works well and what could be improved. If you share your work on social media, please use the tag #coronacanvas.

Also, feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding how to use and facilitate the canvases. We are also very happy to help you adjust the canvases to the specific needs of your organisation.