2020/07/13: The Analyst's Canvas

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of intelligence and foresight in all walks of life, not just business and government. If anything, the pandemic has alerted us to the value of sound reasoning in the face of massive uncertainty.

Those tasked with plotting a way out of the present crisis, as well as those having to reimagine their role in a changed economy, should take the opportunity to reflect on the knowledge and skills needed to do so.

When training analysts we often use a reflection tool called "The Analyst Canvas". Inspired by Alexander Osterwalder's work on the Business Model Canvas, it is a template designed to help analysts answer three questions:

  • How do I become a good analyst?
  • How do I become a better analyst?
  • How do I become a master analyst?

The canvas encourages critical reflection on one’s professional development and the skills needed to become a master analyst - someone who is comfortable with uncertainty and embraces it in the search for new opportunities.

The canvas should also encourage us to break away from “traditional” ways of thinking about the professional development of analysts and emphasise those competencies that are lesser known but just as important.

It is not a tool for intelligence practitioners alone, but can be used by anyone working in an analytical or problem solving capacity. Indeed, we’ve used it successfully to help educators, trainers, managers, and HR departments develop a more holistic perspective on the recruitment and development of their students and staff.

You can download the Analyst’s Canvas here. We welcome your feedback on how we can refine it further.

Aleksandra Bielska
Head of Training