Workplace Space

The Corporate Rebels Canvas: A Practical Tool to Build a Workplace People Love

Thursday, June 22, 2017

In a previous post we showed that the command-and-control culture is killing companies. We made it clear that creating a culture of employee engagement and motivation can significantly boost a business' bottom line. But what does this look like, and how do you do this effectively?

Globally, we visited more than 50 of the most inspiring workplaces (see our Bucket List) and learned firsthand about the mindset, practices, and tools they use to build better organizations. This post is the kick-off of our new blog series "Rebel Research" in which we discuss, in depth, the eight trends we derived from visiting pioneers that have cracked the code and created highly engaging workplaces. 

Corporate Rebels Canvas 

But before we deep dive into the eight habits of these organizations, we first have to forget about our conventional way of (organizational) thinking. To better understand and fully embrace this alternative way of organizing, we have to start with an open mind and an empty canvas. To do this, we start with a blank canvas that we gradually fill with content over a few weeks. The canvas provides an overview of the most important trends of highly engaging workplaces. 

Corporate Rebel Canvas

Download the Corporate Rebels Canvas in high resolution here (neatly designed by Ananda Avalon Liem).

The canvas provides an overview of the most important trends of highly engaging workplaces. But keep in mind that this canvas should NOT be used as a checklist. The trends we describe are nothing more than that; trends. Of all the companies we've visited, none of them are "heavy" on all trends. So whatever you use it for, don't use it as a check-the-box exercise to create the perfect workplace. First of all, the perfect workplace doesn't exist. Second, you may ignore the most important part of the process: asking employees what they want! 


Instead, use it as a tool to fuel and guide discussions. A way to start the conversation on what can be improved and what could be removed to create a more inspiring work environment.  

How to Use the Corporate Rebels Canvas 

Download the Corporate Rebels Canvas, print it and grab yourself some sticky notes. Work in teams with a maximum of 15 people and get ready to start visualizing your ideal workplace!

Your ideal way of working (15min) 

  • Brainstorm (silent and personal) to describe the aspects of your ideal way of working. 
  • Ask yourself what to keep, what to get remove, and what to add. 
  • Ask each person to write down multiple aspects (one per sticky note).

    Explain and share the eight habits of inspiring organizations. Use the trends as a source of inspiration.

    Fill the canvas (15-30min) 

  • Place your sticky notes on the canvas in the field it fits best. 
  • Only ask explanatory questions, no discussion yet.

    Describe the future state of your organization (30min) 

  • Discuss the different trends and how they may affect the future state of your organization. 
  • Add a sticky note for each trend when needed for improved description.

    Build an experiment (30min) 

  • Choose a trend or subject to improve. 
  • Create an experiment for the next month. 
  • Use “I believe that…” “to verify that, we will…” “and measure…” “where we are right when....”

    Evaluate the experiment and process after one month 

  • Did you make progress towards the future state of your organization? 
  • What worked well, what can you improve in the way of working? 
  • Start your next experiment!
About the Author
Joost Minnaar and Pim de Morree, known as “The Corporate Rebels” to their readers, are on a mission to make work more fun. They quit their frustrating jobs to find a solution to a widespread problem: 87 percent of employees are disengaged at work. They travel the world and learn from workplace pioneers by checking off their renowned Bucket List. They share their findings and everything they learn about the unique workplaces they visit on their blog and through keynotes and workshops around the world. They also support organizations to become more progressive, inspiring workplaces. Contact the Corporate Rebels through their website ( or on Twitter at @corp_rebels.
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