9 mins read

The Innovation Ability Wheel

A tool to identify your lack of innovation abilities – so you can fix them! 

When looking at your innovation strategy and how to get started in updating or building the innovation focus within your organization you need to be brutally honest with yourself on what actual abilities you have within the team to drive the change you’re looking for. Do you for example have the required skills within marketing and communication? Do you have the technology needed to support your innovation work? And do you have sufficient funding to push until the finish line? 

When mapping out your abilities for innovation, The Ability Wheel is a comprehensive and easy to use tool to get started. The goal with this tool is to map out what categories of abilities you identify that you will need and then score yourselves on how high your ability is within each category. Finally, you’ll also need a clear action plan to fill the gaps you have found while using the model. Not until you have acquired the abilities you know that you will need you’re ready to get started on your innovation journey. 

1.List your ability categories

Start off by identifying the most important ability categories for the innovation work you have ahead of you. Give them each a space in your spider web that you see in the model below. Let this step take time and involve the entire team. It’s important that you start measuring the right type of abilities for the rest of the model to work in your favor. 

2.Rate yourself on each ability

How well are you able to deliver on each ability? Here is where that brutal honesty comes in hand. Don’t try to oversell the team or yourself. Be transparent in where you think you’re not right where you want or need to be in order to be successful. Use the lines in the web to showcase the level of ability in each category. 

3.Pick two or three areas where you need improvement

After being done with your rating it should be clear where your biggest ability gaps are. This is also where you need to focus your efforts moving forward! To prioritize, pick two or three categories that you see will have the most impact on your innovation journey if you increase your ability within. Also consider the work vs. impact ratio. What impact will the ability have on your future work and what efforts will it require to acquire the ability? 

4.Dig deeper into your top challenges 

After selecting your categories for improvement, dig deeper. What challenges are you facing with the selected ability? Why do you think you’re facing these challenges? What do you need help with in order to fill the ability gap? List all of this next to each ability category you will be focusing on. 

5.Make an action plan! 

Now the work begins. How will you fill your ability gap? And how will you solve your challenges? The action plans need to be clear, achievable, and measurable. The plan also needs to involve the right people with clear ownership, accountability, and deadlines.



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