Diploma Programme: Leading Innovation Excellence

Master your innovation career and become a certified Innovation Driver
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Drive sustainable innovation excellence in your organisation

In recent years, innovation is no longer recognised as an activity solely performed by startups, but organisations have also started to embrace its countless opportunities. As a result of this, employees are being trained to apply numerous tools and techniques to aid in the execution of innovation projects and for the stimulation of entrepreneurial behaviour.

To assist these employees, internal innovation professionals are taking up – either formally or informally – the role to support individuals and teams in the application of these tools. We refer to them as Innovation Drivers. Innovation Drivers are the crucial in stimulating innovative behaviour in the organisation, but often struggle with the question:

How to develop, implement and sustain organisation-wide innovation practices that fit your people, processes and culture?

The Leading Innovation Excellence Programme tackles this question head-on by developing the skills of Innovation Drivers and giving them the toolset needed to innovate the entire company from within. The programme is developed in collaboration with faculty of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. You will learn from renowned academics,  practitioners of industry leaders and peers. The programme uses Experiential Learning as learning method where you, while obtaining the academic foundation, are encouraged to put your freshly learned skills into practice in your personal Real-Life Impact Project.

Learning objectives

Our programme is designed so you can tailor it to your personal and professional development
needs. After this programme, you will be able to:

  • develop a systemic understanding of an organisation’s capability to innovate and to renew
  • develop situational leadership when driving the organisation’s innovation competence;
  • advance your competences to improve and sustain your organisation’s ability to innovate
    and grow;
  • nurture a mindset for driving innovation and influencing the organisation towards
    innovation and renewal;
  • be able to make guided progress with a real-life challenge to improve the entrepreneurial
    capability of the organisation.

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Annique de Greef
+31 10 740 23 33

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Become a certified Innovation Driver

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What our alumni & practitioners say:

“The whole programme was like a journey. Maybe a little like a discovery trip of Columbus who set out to find India; I set out to learn new insights and theoretical models and then even ended up in a restructuring of my department and derivations for my entire company that I can personally influence.”

Erik Wirsing, VP Global Innovation at DB Schenker

“The Leading Innovation Excellence programme is highly recommended for those that want to go beyond lean startup, design thinking and agile innovation methods and for those that consider innovation as a capability that every self-respecting organisation should have in place, and want to drive it forward. Participating in the programme has helped me to do just that in a practical way, yet grounded in both academic and popular literature. As an added bonus, I was able to expand my network of fellow innovation drivers from a variety of industries.”

Pieter Hogeveen, Innovation Manager at The Greenery

“I found a surprising number of people with brilliant ideas and a very high level of coaches, investors and entrepreneurs: that made a huge difference. ”

Arjan Rensma, Innovation Excellence Manager at DSM

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“A great programme that combines academic research and models with practical on the job tips and tricks from fellow ‘innovation drivers’. The setup of the programme provides the opportunity to use peer-to-peer coaching on your own innovation challenges. Highly recommended for innovation leaders.”

Max Kranendijk, Lead Innovation Manager at VodafoneZiggo

“The Leading Innovation Excellence Programme gives participants the opportunity and tools to reflect on the innovation context of their organisations.”

Angelique Plugge, Innovation Driver at ING

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“What makes the programme unique is that it is not only made by academics, but there is also a great deal of involvement between the coaches and the participants - We make this programme together!”

Ad van Dongen, Innovation Driver at ING

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For whom

Find out if this programme is interesting for you

This programme is specially designed for (innovation) professionals that have experience with demonstrating internal entrepreneurship. Participants have experience with innovation, strategic renewal and/or (digital) transformation projects and want to elevate both themselves and their organisation (200 FTE>) from any disciplines to the next level.

Roles that these professionals fulfill are for example:

  • Innovation professional or business developer
  • Innovation leader
  • Intrapreneur
  • Coach of innovation teams
  • Manager of innovation programmes and initiatives
  • HR professional for innovation
  • Chief Innovation Officer
  • Digital Transformation professional

Course information

Find out more about the content of the programme

The nine-month diploma programme consists of four separate modules, each of three days, where you will be trained to become a certified Innovation Driver. Each module takes on average 50-60 hours to complete (including the time you spend in classes). Throughout the duration of the programme, you are encouraged to take on a personal Reallife Impact Project, which challenges you to directly apply your learnings and make real and relevant impact on your own organisation and role. For your Real-life Impact Project you will be supported by a dedicated academic and practitioner coach with knowledge and
experience on your defined project.


The programme revolves around the three factors – Resources, Processes & Values – which affect what an organisation can and cannot accomplish (Christensen & Raynor, 2003). These factors are at the core of the programme and are incorporated into all four modules. The first module covers the essentials on how to drive systemic change and how these three factors affect organisational capability with an integral perspective. After the first module, each of the following modules dive deeper into the three factors and their implications for you to drive sustainable innovation excellence.

Content of the modules

Find out more about the modules

Working with Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) you can expect a large variety of learning activities to enhance your learning experience. It consists of interactive masterclasses, personal training modules, lively plenary sessions, real-life cases and learning on how to master the use of the latest innovation tools & techniques to drive innovation.

Module 1: The Essentials of Innovation Leadership
This module focuses on answering the fundamental questions: how to drive systemic change and innovation throughout the organisation and what is needed for this from an integral perspective (Resources, Processes and Values). To prepare for this module, you’ll receive the course book and the Entrepreneurship Scan to assess your organization’s innovation and entrepreneurial competences, which will form the basis for our discussion (and real-life impact project) throughout the programme. Read more

Module 2: Developing Entrepreneurial People
This module dives deep into the topic of ambidextrous human resources. What consequences do these have for your personal leadership as well for the relationship with (top) management teams. Become aware of different personality types and learning styles that help you compose the most effective (entrepreneurial) teams. Discuss different ways on how to influence decision making effectively in your organisation. Read more

Module 3: Developing Innovation Processes & Governance Systems
What structure, processes and governance fit with your organisation to excel in innovation? How to manage your innovation portfolio and where to source your innovations? Setting up open innovation processes and learn how to collaborate with startups. Discuss how innovation processes are being evaluated and who is responsible for this. Review what actions should be implemented to improve the level of excellence of your organization’s innovation processes and governance system. Read more

Module 4: Developing a Culture for Innovation Excellence
Become an agile leader and learn how to facilitate transformational change and engage key stakeholders in the organization? Become aware of the informal vs. formal culture and values and learn how to build communities and social networks and how to leverage these. Get introduced to new techniques in facilitating discussions and making the ‘intangible’ tangible. Read more

Graduation conference

When you have completed the programme, your graduation conference in Rotterdam marks your accomplishment and welcomes you into the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship alumni community. Invite your colleagues, peers and management team to engage them in your learning experience and celebrate this achievement.

Teaching Method

Read more about our learning approach

This programme is structured in such a way that it does not only provide the participants with theoretical knowledge and insights about entrepreneurship and innovation, but it also equips them to put the skills learned during the programme into practice right away. This is achieved through our teaching method: Experiential Learning. This method assumes that learning is a continuous process of experiences that are transferred into knowledge. The method consists of the following four phases:








Using this method enables participants to reflect on their learning experiences and allows them to develop abstract concepts. Simultaneously, this method encourages them to initiate experiments to test the concepts that they developed. This learning method is different from more traditional learning methods in multiple ways:

  • Through experiential learning participants are expected to take responsibility for managing their own learning trajectory.
  • The learning process takes place in a larger sense than merely the physical space of the classroom. Participants receive the tools in class, which can be used directly within the organisation.
  • We believe that knowledge creation should take place along different paths; not just between participants and facilitator but through peer consultation as well. As such, participants are encouraged to actively partake in the programme, as it directly influences their learning experience.

Personal real-life impact project

The personal real-life impact project is an experiential challenge within your own organisation. This is based on a comprehensive corporate entrepreneurship scan of your organisation’s entrepreneurial competence, using the proven research framework of the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship.

Depending on your findings, the real-life impact project can be anything, such as designing/ refining and implementing a new innovation tool, building/revising incentive systems, setting up a new accelerator programme etc. Throughout the personal real-life impact project you will receive coaching from an academic coach and an expert practitioner coach for project definition and execution. The Real-life Impact Project creates a true impact to bring your organisation and your personal skills to the next level.

Webinars & quizzes

A number of webinars are planned between the modules. The webinars are designed for
multiple purposes:

  • To receive brief updates from each participant and to capture learnings and questions.
  • To integrate those learnings and questions into the design of the upcoming module.
  • To prepare the participants for the upcoming module by means of a mini-masterclass.

Next to the webinar, you continue to work on your personal real-life impact project and preparing for the upcoming module through concise video and reading materials (e.g. book chapters, blogs and articles) and accompanying online preparatory quizzes. Overall the webinars and quizzes are optional and serve to improve the quality of interaction during the module.

Case exam and graduation projects

The assessment for certification consists of:

  • Final presentation of your personal real-life impact project.
  • A published opinion piece: you will write an opinion piece on a selected topic and are required to publish this on an open discussion forum.
  • Individual written case exam: during the take-home exam you perform a case study analysis specific for Innovation Drivers. This is an open-book exam that draws upon the course materials and the in-class discussions.
  • A personal learning report: a concise description of and a reflection on your personal development during the programme, mainly based on your performance during the personal real-life impact project and supervised by your dedicated academic coach.


See which academics and practitioners facilitate this programme
Top academics and industry-leading practitioners as facilitators

This programme brings together practical academics and “Innovation Drivers” from different corporate organisations to provide the programme to train and facilitate participants. The programme is fueled by the latest hands-on insights from  innovation and entrepreneurship professors from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and international partner universities. This programme is developed in collaboration with industry-leading innovation professionals from organisations such as DSM and ING.

Prof.dr. Justin Jansen

Academic Director

Justin Jansen is professor of corporate entrepreneurship at RSM. His award-winning research and publications provide new perspectives into the roles of leadership, start-ups, organisational ambidexterity, corporate entrepreneurship, and new developments to improve long-term viability and performance. Justin is scientific director of the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship, and is on the editorial board of several academic publications.

dr. Ferdinand Jaspers

Business Model Innovation

Ferdinand Jaspers is programme director at the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship. His teaching and consultancy activities focus on innovation leadership. Based on his expertise at the intersection of strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship, he teaches courses, masterclasses and boot camps on corporate entrepreneurship, innovation excellence and entrepreneurial culture. He holds a PhD from RSM.

Dr. Magdalena Cholakova

Assistant Professor Strategy & Entrepreneurship

Magdalena Cholakova is an associate professor of strategy & entrepreneurship in the Department of Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship at RSM. Her research interests include entrepreneurial learning & early-stage idea validation and institutional complexity & strategic renewal.

Prof. dr. Tom Mom

Professor Strategic Growth & Implementation

Tom J.M. Mom is a professor of Strategic Growth and Implementation in the department of Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship at RSM. His research interests include new business development & corporate growth, ambidexterity, strategic renewal, and strategy execution.

Angelique Plugge

Innovation Driver

Angelique Plugge is one of the initiators of the Leading Innovation Excellence Programme. As a guest lecturer, Angelique inspires our participants by providing her extensive expertise gained from working and learning in corporate innovation for multiple years. She now started her own company Xploremore where she uses her experience in innovation excellence and business model innovation to support others.

Arjan Rensma

Innovation Excellence Manager, DSM

Arjan Rensma is Innovation Excellence Manager at DSM and practitioner/coach in our innovation programmes. Teaching is the best way to learn and therefore he loves to share and learn from the participants.

Ad van Dongen

Innovation Driver, ING

Ad van Dongen is practitioner coach in the programme because he wants to share his experiences as a corporate innovator at ING. Being an innovator in a large company is often a roller coaster, with ups and downs, but also great fun. His experience can help others to enjoy the ride as well. Even though leading innovation has many aspects, his role in the programme is to share his learnings on how to keep a holistic approach when you embed innovation in to your organisation.

Dates and fees

Read more about the upcoming programme

The Leading Innovation Excellence Programme is taught in English, and comprises four modules, each lasting three days. The modules are as followed:

  • The Essentials (Corporate & Governance) 27-29 October 2020 / 18-20 January 2021
  • Developing Entrepreneurial People 8-10 March 2021
  • Developing Innovation Processes & Governance Systems 11-13 May 2020, 19-21 April 2021
  • Developing Entrepreneurial Culture 24-26 June 2020, 7-9 June 2021

Sessions start at 09:00, but you can join us each morning from 08:30 for a light breakfast. The day ends at 17:30. Each of the four modules has one day with a late finish at 20:00, which includes dinner.

€ 18,500 excl. 21% VAT (€ 22.385 incl. VAT) for the four modules; a personal academic and practitioner coach throughout your Real-life Impact Project; the ECE Entrepreneurship Scan; preparatory webinars and quizzes; access to the online learning system; graduation conference, course book & materials, lunches, dinners, social activities.

General terms and conditions

Our general terms and conditions apply when you register for an open programme. Please review them to learn more about our policies for cancellation, deferral and substitution.

There’s no selection procedure for this programme. The only requirement is that you work in a role that is related to innovation management for an organisation of more than 500 people.

The programme takes place at the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship in Rotterdam

Rotterdam Science Tower, 10th floor
Marconistraat 16
3029 AK Rotterdam

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Take the next step in your innovation career

The first module of the Leading Innovation Excellence Programme takes place multiple times per year. This year, the first module will be split between public organisations and corporates.

Module 1 – corporates: 27-29th of October
Module 1 – public organisations: 28th-30th of September


Read the frequently asked questions

Who can participate in this programme?

All the modules consist of three days in class. Next to these, there will be some preparatory work for each module, and optional webinars. Furthermore, the participants may opt to develop and execute their own Real-life Impact Project during the programme with coaching from top academics and industry-leading practitioners.

How much time will I need to spend on this programme?

All the Programmes consist of three days in class. Next to these, there will be some preparatory work for each Programme, and optional Webinars. Furthermore, the participants may opt to develop and execute their own Real-life Impact Project during the programme with coaching from top academics and industry-leading practitioners.

What is the maximum number of participants that can join the programme?

The limit amount of participants is 15 as we seek for a highly interactive learning environment. On average most modules will have 10 participants.

Where will the programme take place?

All in-class modules takes place at the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship in the centre of Rotterdam.

Sessions start at 09:00, but you can join us each morning from 08:30 for a light breakfast. The day ends at ~17:30. The programme has one day with a late finish at ~20:00, which includes dinner.

Rotterdam Science Tower, 10th floor
Marconistraat 16
3029 AK Rotterdam.

What is the fee for participating in this programme?

€ 18,500 (excl. 21% VAT) for the four modules; a personal academic and practitioner coach throughout your Real-life Impact Project; the ECE Entrepreneurship Scan; preparatory webinars and quizzes; graduation conference, course book & materials, lunches, dinners, social activities.

Our Terms and Conditions Study Programmes apply when you register for an open programme. Please review them to learn more about our policies for cancellation, deferral and substitution.

What kind of certification will I receive when I graduate from this programme?

After completion of a single module you will receive a proof of participation for that module.

Participants will receive a certificate from the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship, Erasmus University Rotterdam, for completing the full programme successfully and comply with the certification requirements;

A participant must – within two years – successfully complete:

  • All four modules;
  • ECE Entrepreneurship Scan;
  • Personal Real-life Impact Project;
  • Case Exam;
  • A Personal Learning Plan;
  • A published Opinion Piece.

In what language will the programme be held?

All the programmes will be facilitated in English.

The only exception is the first programme for public organisations specifically, which will be facilitated in Dutch.