Time required:


Number of participants:

On your own or in a facilitated conversation with a colleague, manager, friend etc.


Printed tool (preferably A3)


Brian Frandsen and Danish Design Center (DDC)


Want to hear more about The wheel of well-being?

Want to hear more about The wheel of well-being?

In connection with the organizational development at the Danish Design Center, we jointly defined seven core criteria for The Healthy Organization. The hypothesis was that if we as an organization scored high on the seven criteria, the organization as a whole would be healthy. But the seven criteria could also say something about the individual colleague’s organizational health, or well-being.

I developed the well-being wheel, together with the people I personally managed, as a conversation and monitoring tool for how they each saw their well-being compared to the overall well-being of the organization.

However, the tool has proven to be more versatile and can be used with any criteria – organizational or personal.

Understand the model

The tool is built as a so-called spider web diagram. There is room for up to 8 criteria to be defined. Each ‘bar’ represents a scale from 1-5. Closest to the center is one, and the end of the bar towards the periphery is 5.

The tool is used as a reflection or conversation tool while filling it in, and after completion, the tool serves as a visual representation of the potentials for bettering your wellbeing.

How to use the tool

  1. Write all the individual criteria equally spaced in the outer circle of the empty spider web so that each criterion has its own bar.
  2. Now go through each criterion one at a time asking: “How well do you feel you do are doing when it comes to X on a scale from 1-5”.
    A big part of the exercise here is to be curious about the reflections or different interpretations of criteria that may arise. If you’re doing the exercise by yourself, be curious about your own thoughts and take the time to consider what the criteria mean and what a higher or lower score would mean to you. If you are facilitating a conversation with a coachee or colleague, ask curious questions and allow time and space for reflection and exploring uncertainties. The conversation about definitions and understandings is just as important as the actual rating on the scale.
  3. Put a dot or a cross on each criteria bar and connect the dots to form a spider web.
  4. Take another colored pen and go through all the criteria again and ask: “How well do you feel your organization is doing when it comes to X on a scale from 1-5”. (Depending on the context in which you use the tool, you could switch out ‘organization’. It could for example also be at team level, your family or circle of friends) Again, the conversation about what the criteria means in this expanded context is just as important as the actual rating on the scales.
  5. Once you’ve gone through all the criteria, connect the dots and the picture of the relationship between individual and organizational wellbeing becomes clear. You’ll find that it’s less important whether you or the organization scores 3 or 5 than the difference gap between how you feel you are doing and how you perceive the organization is doing in meeting the individual criteria.
  6. In areas where you as an individual perform better than the organization, you may have an obligation or at least an opportunity to help improve the overall health and well-being of the organization. In areas where the organization scores higher than you, there is an opportunity to investigate the reasons and perhaps seek out people in the organization who can either help you improve or inspire you to do so.

Use these insights to consider what you can do to improve your own and your organization’s wellbeing and health. Maybe you need to mobilize and engage your colleagues, maybe there are things you can do yourself. Either way, when you look at the picture you’ve just drawn, it becomes clear that an organization’s wellbeing can be a collective responsibility and everyone also has opportunities to act to improve our working conditions, health and wellbeing.

Bonus info:

At the Danish Design Center, we tried using the seven health criteria as the starting point for a workplace assessment, where all colleagues were asked the questions above. All the ratings were accumulated to form a picture of how employees rated their own well-being in relation to the company and how they saw the overall well-being of the organization. There were some collective revelations in that exercise, as the individual perception about the overall wellbeing can be very different to how the actual combined evaluation of wellbeing is. These insights provide an opportunity to do something structural about well-being, but also give the individual the opportunity to reflect and do something themselves in collaboration with their colleagues.

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