New Product Blueprinting
Front-end innovation for B2B organic growth

Black Belt Certification

Now train your employees without AIM personnel

While Blue Belts within your company improve the speed and effectiveness of those previously trained, Black Belts allow you to train new employees, using AIM’s TEAM e-MMERSION® approach.

In many cases, AIM trainers and coaches provide core Blueprinting training to multiple businesses within a company… often through blended workshops. But at some point, your company may prefer to “own” the training of additional employees. Perhaps you wish to train a few new employees at a time, and scheduling a workshop is impractical. Maybe your budget doesn’t allow for total reliance on AIM staff for all training. Or you might wish to locate local training capabilities in each region, to reduce travel expenses.

For any of these cases, Black Belt certification could make sense for your company. As shown in the illustration, candidate Black Belts must first become certified Blue Belts by successfully completing the Blue Belt Certification Workshop. Then they must successfully conduct two coaching assignments with real project teams under the guidance of an AIM Mentor using TEAM e-MMERSION® .

How does TEAM e-MMERSION work?

With TEAM e-MMERSION, the coach (initially from AIM, later from your company) guides a single project team through a series of 12, 2-hour web-conferences (or face-to-face meetings). During each webcon, the coach reviews progress since the last webcon and works with the team to move its project forward. Between each webcon, team members complete a “doing assignment” (project work) and a “learning assignment” (viewing 2 or 3 of the 31 e-learning modules).

After you receive your Black Belt certificate, you have access to the same TEAM e-MMERSION materials that an AIM Coach has… including all the resources available on the Coach Home Page of the AIM e-Learning Center. You can download over 200 PowerPoint slides—complete with speakers notes—used to guide teams through the 12 team web-conference sessions.

How is a Black Belt certified?

The Black Belt candidate must successfully conduct two TEAM e-MMERSION project assignments as a “coach-in-training” under the guidance of an AIM Mentor. Before and/or after each of the 12 team web-conferences, the AIM Mentor spends private time with the Black Belt candidate… increasingly giving him or her more coaching responsibilities.

Recertification is done every two years: Black Belts must continue to support and coach New Product Blueprinting teams to maintain their certification. Beyond this, AIM provides webinars for ongoing education. During a Black Belt’s first 2-year certification period, these webinars are more frequent so Black Belts can absorb advanced material not covered elsewhere, even in the Blue Belt certification workshop.

What is the cost/benefit of certification?

The only cost associated with Black Belt certification is the added AIM mentoring time required. In addition to 2 hours spent with the project team at each of the 12 sessions, the AIM trainer/mentor spends an extra 30-60 minutes of private time with the Black Belt candidate. Over the course of two projects, this amounts to $7200 (over and above the initial Blue Belt workshop cost of $6800).

Training employees in New Product Blueprinting is fairly time-intensive. When this is done via TEAM e-MMERSION with an AIM Coach, the AIM time costs alone are ~$11,000 (per team). When your company’s Blueprinting Black Belt conducts this training, these payments to AIM are eliminated. In addition to cost savings, though, AIM believes that client “ownership” of this training sends a strong “commitment” signal to employees. As a further incentive, AIM reduces the per-person e-learning (31 modules) cost from $1500 to $1000 when a client Black Belt leads a TEAM e-MMERSION project.

Learn more about Black Belt Certification

For more information on AIM’s Blueprinting Black Belt certification program, please contact or

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