Certified Professional Innovator Certificate Program

Certified Professional Innovator Program (Online w/ coaching)
How to Make Innovation Happen in Your Organization

This program includes a series of 14 educational videos that can be complemented with a more rigorous certification program. The Certified Professional Innovator (CPI) program is intended to develop the competency of high potential leaders in the theory and practice of innovation. The program is rooted on the principle that innovation can only be learned by doing and through many short bursts of experimentation.

The program is designed to inject the innovators’ mindset and the best practices of innovators in the participants and foster innovation skills by jumpstarting real innovation projects. Leaders receive coaching while creating prototypes or proof of concepts for their projects and learn how to move their projects through their organization in real time. Therefore, their skills are developed through doing real work, facing real challenges, and navigating real environments. Leaders will receive certificates from the University of Michigan College of Engineering.

The certification is comprised of a 12-week curriculum with specific syllabus and assignments for each week, including videos, workbook assignments, and reports. During the program, participants, functioning as a cohort, communicate and collaborate with each other and faculty through a series of webinars and discussions. The program culminates in project pitches.

The cost for the 12 week certification is 1K for UM alumni and 3K for non-alumni and includes:

  • Innovation Leadership Assessment
  • 14 instructional videos and self-paced modules about the fundamental innovation principles, method, and process
  • A CPI workbook for the 14 video modules
  • 12 week program
  • Bi-weekly group coaching and teleconference for 90 days after the boot camp to build on momentum, keep participants focused and projects moving along, and help participants develop a proof of concept/prototype
  • Project review teleconference where participants present a venture capital committee style short pitch summarizing their innovation project, its progress, key insights, and future plans

Each segment of the program is designed to engage leaders in action based learning experiences and to develop real expertise in innovation. In this rigorous, multi-media program, you will explore and master research-proven and real world-tested methods in a minimal amount of time.

The online course can be further supplemented with personal, in-country coaching and seminars by Jeff DeGraff to get your organization’s innovation journey kick-started. This cost will vary with location and timing, and ranges from US $20,000 to 50,000 and regular business expenses (travel + materials).

Also available is an optional 2-day in-person jump-start program.

Please contact Staney DeGraff ([email protected]) for more information or to register.

Printable Program Detail Sheet

Download a printable program detail sheet.

Program Format

In this unique program, participants will complete distance learning assignments and collaborate with peers in online communities of practice. Throughout the program you will develop, refine, and implement a customized plan to bring about a significant innovation initiative at your organization. Participants will spend an average of three hours per week on program activities when not on site.

Who Should Attend

  • Proven leaders looking to define the next chapter for their organization and their career
  • Professionals such as doctors, scientists, and engineers who see opportunities in their profession and want the business savvy to take good ideas to commercial reality
  • Managers who are yearning for the credibility and toolkit to channel their expertise toward more creative, value creating, and game-changing business pursuits

Key Program Elements

  • Selecting and assessing high potential innovation leaders
  • Diagnosing an organization’s innovation culture and competency
  • Developing an innovation strategy
  • Building a high performing innovation team
  • Launching innovation projects and teams
  • Jumpstarting processes
  • Gaining buy-in for solutions
  • Synchronizing growth opportunities and organizational practices

Action-Based Components

  • The Innovation leadership assessment will help you identify areas in need of innovation and the capabilities you have to bring about change.
  • You will bring a formidable challenge or ambitious opportunity from your organization and work closely with faculty and peers to develop a comprehensive plan to realize change. You will have the support and input of faculty and peers as you begin to implement your plan and emerge fully prepared to carry out the initiative over time to great effect.

Program Details


  • Complete online innovation leadership assessment
  • Watch all 14 videos and complete downloadable modules
  • Identify suitable innovation focused project or initiative
  • Develop a challenge statement for an innovation focused project or initiative


  • Overview of the Innovation Genome
    • Syncing up the generative forces at all three levels: Strategy, Organizational Culture and Competencies, and Leadership
  • Diagnosing your innovation leadership style
    • Current and desired states for program participants
    • Identify innovation themes and hotspots
  • Innovation Processes and Measurement
    • Effective use of divergent and convergent processes
  • How to Get Buy-in
    • Eliciting sponsors and getting resources to push innovation through
  • Collaborative Innovation
    • Finding new sources of innovation in a changing world


  • Developing a viable strategy for innovation
  • Creating a shared vision


  • Identifying and enrolling innovation team members
  • Building a high-performing innovation team


  • Jumpstarting processes and innovation solution selection techniques
  • Gaining buy-in for solutions


  • After action reviews
  • Socializing and institutionalizing innovation projects and initiatives


  • Develop action plans for the next 3 months
  • Launch project and teams


  • The 12 week program comes with bi-weekly group teleconference so that faculty and colleagues can provide guidance and feedback on innovation projects and initiatives.


This is a venture capital committee style short pitch summarizing your innovation project or initiative, its progress, key insights and future plans. The criteria for these innovation solutions are as follows:

  • Does it provide a viable solution to the challenge?
  • Is it feasible given the capabilities and resources of the organization?
  • Does it provide a creative and unique approach to the challenge?

All work will be due at the time of your final presentation.


Pending a satisfactory faculty review, a Certified Professional Innovator certificate will be issued by the University of Michigan College of Engineering.

Required Materials

  • Making Stone Soup: How to Jumpstart Innovation Teams by Jeff DeGraff
  • The Certified Professional Innovator: How to Create Innovation in Organizations by Jeff DeGraff

Cost, Payment,
Cancellation Policies


Public CPI Program:

$3,000 per person
$4,000 per person (if registering a non-US entity)

Discount rates:

2-4 people – no discount
5-10 people – 5% discount
11-25 people – 10% discount
26+ people – 15% discount
50+ people – 20% (only for clients with at least three years of contractual history)

Interested in a custom offering?

Please contact Staney DeGraff ([email protected]).

Special Offer: U of M Alumni, Faculty, Staff, and Students

A special rate of $1,000 has been negotiated for University of Michigan alumni, faculty and students.

Please contact Staney DeGraff ([email protected]).

Cancellation Policies

Participant Cancellation

Cancellations must be received 18 or more days prior to the start of the program. Cancellations received 0–17 days prior to the start of the program will incur a 100% cancellation fee. All cancellations must be sent via email to [email protected]. No shows will be charged the full program fee.

Substitutes for registrations can be accommodated with a one-week advance email to [email protected].

In-Person Program Cancellation

The University of Michigan reserves the right to amend its program(s) as necessary. In the event of a program cancellation, the University of Michigan is not responsible for costs incurred by registrants (i.e. non-refundable airfare, hotel charges, etc.). The University of Michigan recommends that refundable airline tickets be purchased in case of cancellation.