Who we are

NineSigma solves scientific, technical and sustainability challenges by building and repeating successful innovation experiences for clients, accelerate their business pipeline and enhance their contributions to solving global societal issues.

A Global leader in innovation with over 20 years of experience.

Passionate team that enables others to explore new scientific, technology and commercial space, build new ecosystems of partners, and discover new business opportunities.

Working with large companies, SMEs, start-ups and not-for profit organizations we accelerate innovation and sustainability by:
Helping you understand the external environment and make strategic decisions

Use the knowledge of the external environment to create an objective view of the future and discover new opportunities for your organization. We work back from this forecast and “backcast” what you can do today, the strategies you should adopt and where you should invest to be successful in 1, 3, 5, or 10 years from now.

Connecting you to new partners, start-ups, suppliers, manufacturers

Identify how to build on your strengths and find the skills or expertise you do not have. You can use complementary skills from outside of your organization to solve problems in R&D, manufacturing or regulatory and launch new products and services on the market. This could be a single product or a whole new business area.

Discovering and testing new product and service offerings B2B

Testing and developing new product ideas in the B2B market is challenging. Since 2020 we have been developing, testing and improving new product and service offerings for clients using our extensive network of business customers in small, medium and large companies around the world.

NineSigma became famous for our public facing, technical challenges.

Today, many of our clients are seeking more discrete, confidential exploratory projects. Now, 50% of our work is never made public. Private and targeted approaches are used to help clients look to the future, plan for success and develop new business opportunities.

Through constant evolution of our approaches, worldwide presence, love of science and technology and 2 unique global networks, NineSigma are well positioned to enable you to grow, be successful and transform your business.

Our beliefs

NineSigma believes that using the worldwide “collective intelligence” is key to solving complex technical, business and sustainability challenges by:

Shaping an objective image of what the future could be

Exploring the global ecosystem to discover un-obvious ideas and emerging solutions

Giving innovators the opportunity to implement their technologies and contribute to society

Enabling our clients to build and repeat successful innovation experiences

NineSigma’s mission is to use science and technology to shape the future, contribute to society and meet the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Executive Team


Akihiko Suwa

President and CEO
NineSigma Holdings, Inc.
NineSigma North America


Marie Murakami

Chief Operating Officer
NineSigma Holdings


Dr. Stephen Clulow

NineSigma Europe
Chief Delivery Officer
NineSigma Europe & NineSigma North America


NineSigma Founded

Founded in Cleveland, Ohio (USA), NineSigma was one of the first companies offering Open Innovation services. Needless to say that NineSigma contributed to shaping that industry. Quite early on, Procter & Gamble’s management team grasped the value proposition behind NineSigma’s offering and implemented it into its innovation strategy through what has been called ‘Connect + Develop‘. This initiative was to become a successful program for fostering collaborations with innovators from outside the company’s four walls.

NineSigma? Well, Six Sigma has proven to be a successful approach for eliminating defects in any process. After optimization comes Innovation, hence NineSigma.

Open Innovation

Harvard Professor Henry W. Chesbrough coined the term ‘Open Innovation’ (see Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology. HBS Press. 2003).

What NineSigma had been doing for three years started to draw the attention of a much larger business community, thanks to Chesbrough’s seminal research work.

NineSigma Starts Expanding Globally

In a first effort to globalize its business, NineSigma Inc. concluded an alliance with Nippon Research Institute Co., Ltd. and started operating in Japan through that partnership.

Creation of NineSigma Japan

NineSigma Japan Co. was incorporated in Tokyo and was the first private firm offering Open Innovation Services in Japan.

NineSigma Europe Launched

Continuing its global expansion, NineSigma opened an office in Belgium to propose Open Innovation services to European corporate clients. Quite rapidly NineSigma engaged with great companies like Ferrero, Danone, Siemens, Akzo Nobel, Ansaldo or K+S AG.

Launch of NineSights, our Digital Innovation Platform

Embarking on the digitalization wave, NineSigma opened a first version of its Digital Innovation Platform, NineSights, to connect our clients’ needs to solutions and new approaches proposed by a global pool of bright innovators.


GE & NFL: the Head Health Grand Challenge

The GE NFL Head Health Grand Challenge was a $60 million program that included research and challenges to develop new solutions to help advance understanding of mild traumatic brain injury.

NineSigma structured and organized the Grand Challenge, launching a new offering that gives clients the opportunity to call for radical innovations to solve high aspirational needs and societal issues.

Football players are ready to start.

NineSigma Reinforces its Global Presence

Through an MBO, NineSigma Holdings was created and headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. NineSigma Holdings is today the parent company of three NineSigma entities: NineSigma Europe, NineSigma North America and NineSigma Asia Pacific.

This new move enhances the company’s global footprint even more by accelerating its presence in key innovative regions of the world.

Launch of Open Innovation Council

With close to 5,500 OI projects managed for more than 800 clients, NineSigma continues to expand and to offer focused, streamlined services.

NineSigma launches Open Innovation Council (OIC), a unique global network of over 20 000 members, tech-savvy industry professionals from multi-national corporations, SMEs and start ups who are passionate about technology and ready to share their insights with you.
OIC gives you quick access to fresh ideas.

Introducing custom innovation programs: the Partnership Model

NineSigma introduces Custom Innovation Programs designed to address the specific situation in your company.
Every organisation is unique and by working with us in the Partnership Model, you can access a highly interactive, flexible approach, with a dedicated NineSigma Team and full access to all our resources, to drive your innovation strategy.

Increasing our innovation expertise

NineSigma continues to grow, broaden its technical expertise and increase experience of innovation.
NineSigma has managed over 10 000 innovation projects and enabled over 2000 clients to grow their business through innovation.
30 Corporate Clients are working with NineSigma through the Partnership Program.
The Research Team has grown by over 50% and we welcomed 5 new Program Manager in the USA and Europe, enhancing our expertise in Chemistry, Materials Science, Physical Sciences, Aerospace, Sustainability and Renewable Energy.

NineSigma Has Evolved as Innovation Changes

20 years ago 100% of our services were public Open Innovation projects seeking new technologies.
Today, our clients are seeking more discrete, confidential exploratory projects.
Now, over 50% of our work is never made public. We use private and targeted approaches to help our clients:
– Understand the external environment and make strategic decision
– Find new partners, suppliers, manufacturers and R&D collaborators
– Create and test new business ideas in the B2B market.
Through constant evolution of our approaches, our digital infrastructure and our team, we are well positioned to help you grow and be successful in the next 20 years.

Get in touch

NineSigma Europe BV

Koning Leopold I straat 3
B-3000 Leuven

+32 16 24 42 80


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