Level of Ambition

Level of Ambition

Ensure the team has a shared understanding of the scope and degree of innovation desired.
Reading Time
4 mins
Activity time
Activity time: 15 mins
What is this for? This activity ensures that stakeholders have a shared understanding of the ambition of an initiative and it's alignment with the organizations expectations. It helps the apply themselves in the most impactful way. Mindset and core principles An entrepreneurial mindset is important for this activity because you are considering how ambitious you'll need to be as a business and for your potential customers. It's applicable anytime a shared understanding would help the team. *In transformation and innovation we always err on the side of more ambitious to open up possibilities.


"Level of Ambition" is a way of thinking that can be used at any time with any amount of internal or team stakeholders. It could be a framework for conversation or a simple activity to facilitate future-thinking innovation.


Step 1: Draw the matrix

  • Simply draw a square and divide into a grid or arcs (as shown above)
  • Label the two axes. We typically use these:
    • Advantage - Markets and Competitive Differentiation
    • Capabilities - Distance from core capabilities, products, and knowledge
  • Mark the levels (catch-up, sustaining/existing, incremental, disruptive/new)
  • Describe the axes, the framework, and it's value to participants
  • Determine the "Decider" - who ultimately decides on the level-of-ambition (read
    Using a Decider
    for more info)


Step 2: Individual input

  • Ask the participants to individually determine where they feel the level-of-ambition needs to be on the matrix for this initiative.
  • Ask them to place their recommendation on the matrix (sticky or dots help!)
  • (Optional) Allow individuals to voice their "challenge" and perspective briefly to the group


Step 3: Decide

  • Allow the "Decider" to review the input (visual and/or verbal) (read:
    Using a Decider
    for more info)
  • (Optional) More time for the Decider to consider
  • Decider shares direction back with the team


Try it now

The approach here is suprisingly simple. Often, you don't need to do this with a full team.

Think of a big initiative you're a part of. Is the Level-of-Ambition clear? If not, you better clarify the efforts!
First, try finding where you think it falls on the Innovation Matrix.
Next, determine who is needed to "challenge" the ambition level and get those people together to decide. It may be as simple as a conversation with the sponsor

Additional Resources

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Additional Resources

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