Blue Belt Certification
Now create Blueprinting coaches inside your company
Good things happen after your teams receive their initial (core) Blueprinting training… but there’s still more to be done:
- Accelerate Blueprinting project timelines
- Learn skills beyond those gained in the “first pass”
- Integrate Blueprinting with other company systems
- Drive irreversible cultural change… and more
Much of this work is an “inside-job,” and the AIM Institute can certify Blue Belt and Black Belt coaches within your company to do this. Perhaps you have questions…
1. How do I become a certified Blueprinting Blue Belt?
First you must complete your core Blueprinting training, including a) one team-based project and b) all 31 e-learning modules. Then complete the 2-day Advanced Skills workshop and 3-day Blue Belt certification workshop (during the same week or separately). This is an intimate, interactive session led by Dan Adams, accompanied by the most experienced AIM mentors.
Note: If you have completed the Blueprinting Advanced Skills workshop, you do not need to attend the first two days prior to the 3 days of Blue Belt training.
It’s usually difficult for first-time Blueprinting learners to absorb much more than half of what Blueprinting has to offer. In their initial core training, time is limited and many fundamental skills—especially for interviewing—must be learned. Blue Belt workshop participants refine these skills and develop skills they missed during core training.
Blue Belts also learn how to coach colleagues. While core trainees learn “what to do,” Blue Belts learn “why.” By understanding Blueprinting’s underlying principles, they can address a broad range of issues. Blue Belt workshop participants learn advanced coaching methods, allowing them to guide teams quickly and effectively through the front end of innovation.
2. What happens when I am a certified Blue Belt?
When you become a certified Blue Belt, you will be able to help those already trained in Blueprinting. Your company can employ your skills in many ways.
- Embed teams with Blue Belts
who serve as “project accelerators,” anticipating obstacles, avoiding blind alleys, and tightening timelines… because they know when to trim or overlap activities.
- Employ Blue Belts as internal “help desks”
within business units... subject matter experts who can quickly answer Blueprinting questions and get teams on the right track.
- Disperse Blue Belts regionally
across global organizations, to ensure Blueprinting is applied in a consistent, high-quality manner.
- Place Blue Belts in key strategy, growth and marketing roles
to drive cultural change, much in the same way Six Sigma is broadly applied to improve quality and productivity.
Upon certification, Blue Belts:
- Can display this on their business cards
- Are qualified to pursue Black Belt certification
- Receive access to a broad range of New Product Blueprinting materials
The latter includes an AIM e-Learning Center Coach Home Page, tracking and progress reports, and over 40 AIM coach resources. There is no additional charge for this beyond basic e-learning access.
In addition, Blue Belts receive special training in and access to WikiBlue™… a powerful online body of knowledge for New Product Blueprinting. This greatly improves the effectiveness of Blue Belts, allowing them to provide answers & advice… and then provide an in-depth wiki-page to the colleague being coached.
Finally, Blue Belts will receive complimentary one-year access to the new cloud-enabled Blueprinter 5.0, with detailed instructions in its use. Blueprinter 5.0 allows team collaboration on the web (although internet connections are not required for interviews)… and allows much more effective coaching by Blue Belts.
3. What will I learn in the Blue Belt certification workshop?
In terms of content, the Blue Belt workshop covers all 7 Blueprinting steps, but goes much deeper on some topics (such as value calculators), many of which were only addressed lightly in core training. A number of other topics are also covered, e.g. foundational principles, integrating with other company systems, advanced coaching methods, boosting organizational “uptake,” etc.
The learning approach for the Blue Belt workshop is much different than what you experienced during your core Blueprinting training. This workshop has a very low student-to-trainer ratio, and has relatively little lecture time. Instead, several highly-interactive sessions span all content, including Principles, Case Studies, Breakout Exercises, Common Questions, Personal Application and Stump-the-Coach.
4. Who is a good candidate for Blue Belt certification?
When you select candidates for Blue Belt certification, consider both organizational position and personal qualifications. In terms of position, look for those who will have a strong impact on your company’s organic growth. This often includes those in business development, marketing, technical and sales functions, and may also include corporate staff, e.g. strategy, stage-and-gate process managers, and portfolio management.
The following background is not necessary, but tends to provide a “boost” for successful Blue Belts: a) product development experience, b) past training/coaching duties, and c) success in applying other systematic methodologies, e.g. Six Sigma. Even more important than specific past experiences are the following personal skills and attitudes:
- Strong desire to invest oneself in the success of others… in this case, a new-product team
- Good listening, probing and meeting facilitation skills… in person and via web-conference
- Ability to overcome road-blocks… often interpersonal, usually unspoken, & sometimes political
- Capable of building rapport quickly… important when accompanying teams on interviews
- Solid analytical skills… to advise teams after collecting interview and side-by-side testing data
- Reasonable computer literacy… including Excel, PowerPoint and web-conferencing
- Highly supportive and available… yet able to provide corrective critiques as needed
When is the next Certification workshop?
We are currently considering different locations and times but haven't landed on one yet. If you have interest in getting Blue Belt Certified, please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d love to learn how we can help. If there are at least 12 from your company who are interested, an onsite course is sometimes a better option.