Comparing the Methods of A3 and Canvas

Lauri Koskela1, Rafaella D. Broft2, Ergo Pikas3 & Algan Tezel4

1Professor, School of Art, Design and Architecture, University of Huddersfield, UK, [email protected], ORCID 0000-0003-4449-2281
2PhD Candidate (part-time), The Bartlett School of Construction & Project Management, University College London, UK, [email protected], ORDCID 0000-0002-3724-854X | Expert in (Lean) SCM.
3Postdoc, School of Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering, Aalto University, Finland, [email protected], ORCID 0000-0001-5691-685X
4Senior Lecturer, Department of Architecture and 3D Design, University of Huddersfield, UK, [email protected], ORCID 0000-0003-3903-6126


The method of A3, which originated in the framework of the Toyota Production System, is used for collaborative problem solving, status reporting, and presenting proposals. It is now widely used as a part of the implementation of lean in different industries. In turn, the Canvas method was initially developed, through academic research, for generating business models, but over time it has been generalised for many other situations. In subsequent research, design principles for Canvases have been developed. The use of the Canvas method has rapidly increased in practice. As these two methods seem to have similarities regarding application areas and working principles, it is of interest to compare them. The following questions are addressed: How are these two methods similar and dissimilar? Are there underlying theories that could shed new light on both methods? A better understanding of these methods, both theoretically and practically, might be beneficial for their use in different contexts and scenarios. Especially, enhanced mastery of these methods would be instrumental for collaborative resolution of the well-known problems in construction.


Lean construction, A3 method, Canvas method, visual management, theory.



Koskela, L. , Broft, R. D. , Pikas, E. & Tezel, A. 2020. Comparing the Methods of A3 and Canvas, Proc. 28th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction (IGLC) , 13-24.

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