You need masters, as well as idea management practitioners

We’ve seen that you need a constituency inside your company to provide needed support throughout different phases of the innovation process. Together with one of our clients, we worked to design and develop a solution that promotes a cadre of innovation pivots. We called it ‘Innovation Sigma‘.

This programme focuses on increasing the success of idea management initiatives by improving content quality, accelerating throughput and de-risking opportunities. It is based on main ‘Six Sigma’ principles:

  • Definition of four different levels of innovation proficiency
  • Curricula (tools and courseware) that qualify participants at each proficiency level
  • No full-time allocation (tapping into pivotal resources inside the organisation)
  • Guidelines describing how individuals can progress from one proficiency level to the next

‘Innovation Sigma’ is thus a portfolio of offline tools, methods and processes that allow trained individuals to push idea management further. This mechanism describes when and how your company can embed these tools and methods throughout your organisation. To incorporate this into your company, you need to provide:

a) A FRAMEWORK to support the innovation process throughout the organisation:
The framework consists of innovation tools and methods to generate and implement solutions addressing a given goal. It has five main phases, each one with the aim of generating specific content that develops a sequential flow in the process:

Innovation Sigma - process

b) A complete innovation TOOLKIT that covers each of the framework’s phases:
For each phase of the ‘Innovation Sigma’ framework mentioned above, we designed a set of tools to generate specific content that strengthens the innovation process.

We perfected a total of 43 tools: from ‘External Obstacles and Opportunities’ through to ‘Inverting Paradigms’, including, among others, ‘Technology Empowerment’, ‘Insight-Based Idea Generation’, ‘Idea Refinement’, ‘Concept Elevator Pitch’, ‘Experimentation Plan’, ‘Decision Journey’, ‘Project Builder’ and ‘After Project Star’.

c) Different LEVELS of innovation proficiency to support the entire process:
To ensure that the collaborators involved become proficient and use a common innovation language throughout the organisation, we developed a specific model of skill acquisition and performance. It differentiates collaborators on a four-level scale, specifically:

    • Practitioner
    • Advanced
    • Expert
    • Master

This model involves all organisation’s members in the process, allowing them to develop innovation skills progressively before advancing to the next level. Each level has a specific curriculum with a hands-on approach of ‘learn by doing’. Trainees can apply concepts and tools to resolve real business problems and challenges, according to their level, as this picture shows:


To complete the programme and support an innovation culture, you have to create a homogeneous process all over your company. You need to build an army of idea management practitioners to enhance innovation proficiency and deliver differentiation continuously.

Transformation from within
Today, more than ever, cumulative, continuous differentiators allow businesses to increase performance, streamline processes and cost, surprise their customers with outstanding service and adjust their products and services to satisfy more demanding clients. This is not a onetime event. It’s all about everyday improvements.

So, the biggest challenge companies face today is how to build an organisation where collaboration is sustainably enabled by technology, processes, capabilities and behaviours. Where collective intelligence becomes the ‘muscle’ behind innovation. And where people, individually and as teams, work beyond their job description, and everyone and anyone can make a difference.

This is where the logic of ‘Innovation Sigma’ and of our transformation services step in – to better prepare your people to take on key roles as you develop your company’s future together.

Innovation has to be a daily exercise, practiced by all. Deep down, we all are potential professional forerunners. Adequate training and endurance will create the upcoming heroes.

Beyond tech and elusive genius – the everyday innovation heroes

Pedro do Carmo Costa, Exago’s director and co-founder /

Post anterior
The idea management foot soldiers
Próximo post
TIP: What to do when you lack measurable returns