The F.I.R.S.T. Method™ for Innovation and Continuous Improvement

The F.I.R.S.T. Method™ is the only solution that brings together a company’s innovation and continuous improvement efforts under one roof.  This learning system integrates easily with innovation software such as the BrightIdea Innovation Software Platform to harness the collective power of employees and customers to drive improved performance.


F.I.R.S.T. addresses several critical business challenges, including:

  • Achieve more consistent performance:  The capacity of the organization can be increased to drive both continuous improvement (today’s profit) and innovation (tomorrow’s profits).
  • Improve operating margins:  Employees who are truly engaged in shaping the future of their companies work hard at improving operating margins by proactively improving processes that create value for customers.
  • Increase new product pipeline:  Ideas generated by employees, customers, and other stakeholders are collected through the BrightIdea Innovation Software Platform, and evaluated by designated managers and experts.  This rich collection of ideas generates tremendous new product development opportunities.
  • Reduce turnover:  Employees who are engaged are less likely to leave.  Service Profit Chain leading firms represent some of the lowest voluntary turnover levels in their respective industries.

The five components of the system include:

  1. Executive Alignment:  The program begins by conducting our two-day leadership development program, Leading F.I.R.S.T., with the senior leaders of the organization, to ensure agreement and commitment to supporting and leading the effort going forward.  This is followed up by a half-day planning session that uses a powerful diagnostic tool called the Innovation Radar to help define the innovation agenda. Later, a two-day program, Sustaining F.I.R.S.T., teaches the leadership behaviors required to ensure long term success.
  2. Readiness Activities:  These include applying our Organizational Readiness Assessment that measures nine dimensions of organization effectiveness based on our best practice research of leading innovators, including Baptist Healthcare, Procter & Gamble, and others.  It also includes the resources that will be established to manage the implementation of the BrightIdea Innovation Software Platform and the portfolio of projects it generates.
  3. Training Delivery:  A comprehensive learning system ensures ideas turn into results that make a difference for customers, employees and shareholders. They include:
    • Leading F.I.R.S.T. Cascade Program: This involves deployment of the two-day executive program to a broader group of senior leaders to create greater organizational alignment to the innovation agenda.
    • Certifying F.I.R.S.T. Facilitators:  This five-day workshop certifies F.I.R.S.T. facilitators to deliver the training curriculum and provide ongoing coaching to managers and team sponsors.
    • Idea Work Out:  This is a one-day program that teaches teams the tools and process for generating ideas.
    • F.I.R.S.T. Curriculum:  This training becomes the basis for idea implementation and transfer. It includes five programs:
      • Team Sponsor
      • Team Leader
      • Team Member
      • Team Facilitator
      • Quick Start
  4. Enabling Processes:  This begins with the 90-day Idea Campaign process led by the F.I.R.S.T. Office, as well as registration and tracking of improvements, including those improvements transferred to other business teams or adapted to other applications
  5. Supporting Systems:  These include the BrightIdea Innovation Software Platform, Project Portfolio Management, and Individual and Team Reward and Recognition Programs.

Visit us at, e-mail at or call 1-877-777-0455 for more information.

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