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This is the Core Model

The Core Model is a simple canvas and a practical framework for creating better digital products and services.

The method consist of a simple canvas (core sheet), an efficient workshop format (core workshop), and a practical philosophy for cross-competency collaboration.

The model shifts the perspective in traditional product service development by starting out with one prioritized core at a time.

A core is the answer to one or more specific user tasks, that also achieves one or more defined business objectives.

This is what the Core Model looks like:

“In a sea of tools, techniques and practices, the Core Model stands out as a clear truism in design.”

Jim Kalbach, author of The Jobs To Be Done Playbook and Mapping Experience

The elements of the core model 

The Core Model consists of six elements, each posing seemingly simple questions to be answered throughout the process:

  • Target audience: Who are your users?

  • User tasks: What do the users want to achieve?

  • Business objectives: What do you want to achieve?

  • Inward paths: How will the users find your solution?

  • Forward paths: What do you want to happen next?

  • Core content: What is the optimal solution to the user tasks and the business objectives?

Design thinking for everyone

While the Core Model appears simple on the surface, it combines elements from user experience, business strategy, marketing, behavioral design, service design, and content design.


Because these elements are individually easy to understand, the core model works well as a tool for cross-functional collaboration.


This collaboration typically takes the form of a core workshop, a practical and efficient format that allows different departments, levels, and areas of expertise to collaborate across boundaries.

A flexible framework

The Core Model is a flexible framework with many applications.

Here are some common ways to use it:


  • Cross-functional collaboration in product teams and within the organization

  • Project kick-off - to ensure everyone has a shared understanding of what is being created

  • Communication between agencies and clients to agree on priorities

  • Content operations and in web editorial team - to anchor priorities and create great content collaboratively

  • Basis for content modeling, pair writing, and content design

  • Alternative framework for design sprints (AKA core sprint)

Over time, you will discover that almost regardless of the starting point, the Core Model can provide you with a practical roadmap to ground problem-solving and collaborate in creating great products and services.

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