The Project Development Canvas (PDC) Tool is based on the Business Model Canvas originally developed by Alex Osterwalder and adapted by XLNCE Consultancy to suit the needs of a Horizon 2020 – Energy Challenge Call project proposal development in a step-by-step manner.
It is advisable to start using the canvas as early as possible in the project development cycle and certainly once the main project idea outline is being prepared. This ensures that the key elements of a Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation project proposal are well covered and correctly considered, creating a solid base for further improvements.
The main advantage of the Project Development Canvas (PDC) is in its ability to give a complete ‘picture’ of the project proposal as an on-going work and to quickly identify areas where the coordinator and the project partners need to put further development effort. Alternatively, the PDC can be used as training tool to increase the skills in the full cycle of a H2020 project development.
How to use the Project Development Canvas Tool
The first canvas block ‘Excellence’ requires to concisely describe the specific objectives and the overall concept and the methodology underpinning the proposed project. These three aspects bring the attention of the project proposers to clarify: what is their project about, what they want to achieve and is that in line with the specific challenge of the call topic of their choice. Furthermore, it asks them about the positioning of their project idea in terms of going beyond the state-of-the-art and importantly in clarifying on the innovation potential.
The second canvas block ‘Stakeholders’ asks to identify the target group(s) to be the focus of the intended project work. It is important to clarify this early in the project development to allow for sufficient time to make contacts, possibly to involve these target groups in the project development, to know their interests and to collect letter of support to accompany the project application.
The third block ‘European dimension’ is focusing on arguments why the proposed project idea is to be done as a collective international effort and not merely as a regional or national activity, as well as on what is the added value of working together.
The fourth block ‘Impact’ requires short description about the ways the proposed project contributes to the expected impact specified under the selected call topic. It is advisable to expand here and include also any other likely impact that would, for example, enhance the innovation and the market opportunities, competitiveness and companies’ growth, or positively contributes to climate change, environment and any other benefit to the European society.
Additionally, measures to maximise impact should be here considered, as dissemination and exploitation of the project’s results. The guiding principle is how the proposed measures will help to achieve the expected impact of the project. Attention should also be given to any barriers/obstacles that may affect the project.
The fifth canvas block is focusing on ‘the partnership’ to jointly work on the proposed project, and think of their complementarity, avoiding overlaps, what is the appropriate consortium size, geographical location and roles in the project.
The next, sixth block requires to state the ‘amount of effort’ (e.g. man months) that would be needed to deliver the proposed project work. To this is added the budget needed for demonstrations, equipment, laboratories etc. as is necessary. Typically, the related call topic shows the EU contribution amount that would allow for that specific challenge to be addressed appropriately, although other amounts might be requested.
The seventh block is about concisely presenting the key elements of the project ‘implementation’: the main structure of the project work, the main responsible partners and the main result. Here is important to relate the Work Plan to the project objectives (see ‘canvas block 1’) so they are aligned, clear and logical.
The eight block requires going further in thinking about the ‘communication and dissemination measures’, by describing them, what is to be achieved, through what channels and with which tools.
As last, the budget can be drafted, being in good balance to the planned project work and needed resources, as well as considering the suggested EU contribution stated in the related call topic.