Stepping Stones Vision

Use this tool when:

  • You want to come up with options to bring you closer to your vision.


Time± 45 minutes
Difficulty3 / 5
People3 - 5
AuthorErik van der Pluijm
License CC BY SA 4.0

What is it and when should I use it?

The stepping stones vision canvas combines the ‘north star’ you defined in terms of your statement and themes with the steps you can take to get there.

Tool Overview

  1. Your vision statement The vision statement represents the future you’re working towards.

  2. Themes The themes describe important aspects of your mission, how your quest towards your vision shows up in your everyday processes. Together, the themes describe your mission: they tell a coherent story of how you will achieve your vision statement.

  3. Your starting position This is where you are right now. Your starting position on your journey towards the vision.

  4. The River The ‘river’ describes a gap you will need to cross to go from your current situation toward your vision.

  5. Blockers Place the obstacles you see on your journey in this part of the river. These are things holding you back or preventing you from progressing towards your vision.

  6. Supports Just as there are obstacles there are also supports that help you progress towards your vision.

  7. Stepping Stones The Stepping Stones are a progression of steps that will take you closer to your vision. Just as with real stepping stones, you don’t need to use all of them: perhaps when you get to that point, you’ll find you can safely skip some of them. But it’s good to know they are there.


1 Collect themes

First, look at the Golden Circle canvas and find the themes you have come up with from the how, what, and why sections. What are the major themes if you cluster them? Copy the themes to the stepping stones canvas.

2 Find evidence

Next, try to come up with evidence for each theme. How will it show up in the everyday life at the company? How does the theme define what, how, and why you do things? Together, the themes and this evidence should logically support your vision statement.

3 Starting point

Find out where you are now, what is your starting point. How can you define the situation you're in? Where have you not yet achieved your vision statement?

4 Define steps, supports, and blockers

come up with a number of steps you may take to lead you closer to the vision. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a clear order in mind. The stepping stones allow you to take a free-form path. It’s about alternatives, not a definite map.

While defining stepping stones, you can also look out for supports (things that can help you get closer to the vision) and blockers (things that make it harder). In coming up with more steps, try to use your supports and neutralize the blockers.

5 Next Steps

Look at your stepping stones map regularly and try to see what options you have for your next stepping stone.