The Power of Certified Innovation Leaders

In our years of helping organizations develop their innovation capabilities, we’ve seen a lot of the good, the bad, and ugly.  Countless stories could be told about those organizations who “get” innovation and those who don’t.  The one thing that always rings true of the organizations who get innovation is that they understand there is no one, single right way for pursuing innovation, and that there is no simple magic bullet that is going to make them innovative overnight.  They understand that innovation is a journey… one best traveled with a large dose of humility and patience.  This is how we tell the ones who get innovation from the ones who don’t – they bring this level of humility and patience to the table.

Along with this, they also understand that there are many good models for innovation leadership and governance, and that no one particular formula works for every organization and every situation.  They understand that each organization has to find its own way in this journey to arrive at the model of innovation leadership and governance that works best for its situation… its industry… its markets… its strengths… and its ultimate long-term goals.

Perhaps this raises the question, then, of – if this is the case, how is an organization to go about beginning on this journey? – particularly an organization that is just starting out and has not yet developed a sense of orientation to the landscape of innovation.  This is a fundamentally great and valid question, to which I will offer the following answer.

The way to begin this journey is to put several of your most well-respected and intelligent business leaders in charge of the innovation effort and then to provide them with the executive training they need to properly understand the foundations of innovation strategy, innovation governance, and innovation leadership.  Furthermore, in order to ensure that the training is of the appropriate caliber and that these leaders have developed adequate mastery of the concepts, it is highly beneficial to have these leaders obtain demonstration-based certification in these subjects.

The Global Innovation Institute (GInI) is an international organization that offers such demonstration-based certifications in several levels of innovation leadership and execution.  For executives, this certification is the Certified Chief Innovation Officer, or CCInO®.  CCInO certification requires completing the Certified Chief Innovation Officer training course (which covers innovation strategy, corporate innovation programs, and driving innovation outputs), and thereafter passing the CCInO certification exam.  Individuals who successfully demonstrate an understanding of these concepts should be in a good starting place to help lead their organizations forward in establishing sound innovation strategies and implementing effective innovation programs – all of which will enable the business to achieve specific short-, medium-, and long-term innovation objectives.  While an organization can designate a single executive to serve as its Chief Innovation Officer – and this is often an effective model – there are also other models in which this duty is assigned to a team of executives and/or other leaders.  These models can work also, so long as the executives have received this training and have demonstrated a mastery of these concepts.

Beyond CCInO certification, GInI has also defined several other levels of innovation certification, including:

  • Certified Innovation Strategist – CInS® – For Directors and other leaders who must define and drive new innovation pursuits within the business.
  • Certified Design Thinking Professional – CDTP® – For innovation specialists and facilitators who will have a consultative role working with different innovation project teams to apply the powerful Design Thinking process and Design Methods to each effort.
  • Certified Innovation Professional – CInP® – For front-lines professionals of any discipline and Innovation Managers who are tasked with leading and carrying out individual innovation projects, and therefore need an understanding of specific methods and techniques for doing so.

To arrive at this certification model, Global Innovation Institute has taken a very careful look at the real needs of organizations globally for applying innovation to their most pressing business challenges.  This has allowed GInI to define a structure of certifications aligned specifically to the roles that organizations need to drive effective innovation programs.  It is a model based on years of detailed research.  GInI is the only institution in the world that has taken this properly structured approach to innovation certification.  No other entity has done so.  As a result, GInI’s certifications serve as the world’s standard for certification in innovation.

Furthermore, in order to more fully support those organizations who have made progress on this journey, GInI offers an organizational-level certification, the Certified Innovative Organization, or CInOrg®, through which organizations can show the world their commitment to, and achievement of, certain levels of innovation maturity.  CInOrg certification is achieved via independent GInI-sanctioned audit assessment.

Why has GInI dedicated itself to this purpose?  It has done so to help support the world at large – particularly developing economies, but also developed economies – in achieving a level playing field for innovation capability.  GInI believes that a rising tide will raise all ships.  Our goal, therefore, is to make the world – the whole world – a more sustainable, more prosperous, and more egalitarian place through innovation.  We invite all who are of a like mind to join us in this mission.

For more information, please visit the GInI website at

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