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"Enable human potential"



SPHIDA is named after the Italian word "sfida",

which means "Challenge".

Our mission is to “enable human potential” within every organization through a new, improved, more sustainable and effective way of managing people & risk, while assuring the systematic achievement of our clients’

strategic and compliance goals.


Our motto is:


"enable human potential".


Diego Guicciardi
SPHIDA founder

Diego attended the classical studies program at Liceo Classico “Visconti” in  Rome, where he acquired a humanities mindset that has played a very important role in the course of his entire work experience. While still in high school he showed strong interest in the digital world which was just taking off with the first Personal Computers (late 1980s). He took the very first programming classes available at the time, and worked summers as an intern at a company that built prefabricated constructions (Nord Prefabbricati) where he developed and sold his first software program.


After finishing high school, Diego enrolled in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Rome (La Sapienza University), specializing in Robotics and Automation. He graduated with a thesis on artificial intelligence (AI), which continues to be of great interest to him.

He served in the military at Air Force headquarters in Rome working in the field of risk management within the Inspectorate of Flight Safety, where -among other assignments- he brought his AI skills to a study on pilots that was published in the Air Force magazine.

He then collaborated with ENI (the Italian national oil company) where - using neural networks and fuzzy logic – he successfully developed the first AI control model of an oil refining tower (super topping) which is an extremely complex and highly nonlinear thermodynamic system. During that period he became very familiar with the same AI technologies that today are being adopted on a large scale and in every industry thanks to the increased computing power and the availability of vast amounts of data (big data).


Subsequently Diego joined the European Space Agency's "Envisat" project (Environmental Satellite), one of the largest IT projects carried out at that time, where he later became responsible for the system integration and test of the entire acquisition and processing earth station modules (Payload Data Segment), working within a multi-disciplinary international team of top space industry professionals.


He later moved to Paris, where remaining in the field of satellites and telecommunications, he worked for Schlumberger Omnes (a joint venture between British Cable and Wireless telco company and Schlumberger, the n.1 oilfield services company in the world). Responsible for the Africa component of SiNet (the world's second-largest internal corporate network and the first commercial ARPANet-based intranet), Diego travelled all over the continent partnering with leading edge telecommunication technology providers. He brought continuous innovations to the network (from broadband satellite links to voice-over-IP) and was granted his first international patent (Method and apparatus for solution design, implementation, and support). In addition to the professional experience gained during this time, he learned to live among very different cultures often in war-torn countries.

Subsequentely Diego moved to Houston, Texas to work at Schlumberger headquarters, where he specialized in cyber security.  Always driven by curiosity and the desire to learn more, he eventually moved to a completely new field: managing the organization. He attended an advanced course in Knowledge Management at APQC in Houston (American Productivity and Quality Center) and started working in the Chief Knowledge Officer’s team to become Head of Knowledge Management in the Network Solutions Division.

He learned how to identify, locate and value critical knowledge in the organization  (intellectual capital) and how to motivate people to share knowledge and collaborate within effective COPs (Communities of Practice). During this time he authored his second international patent (Collaboration-enabled enterprise), this time in the field of KM and organization.

The interest in organizational design and people dynamics led Diego to move into Business Process Management, where he became very familiar with process improvement methodologies such as Six Sigma and Lean.  He soon recognized the limits of “industrial age” process tools (i.e. Six Sigma and Lean) when used in the context of an information-knowledge worker based organization (or department). During this time he co-developed a new approach to develop Business Processes, which quickly became “corporate standard” for more than 100K employees. This is when he authored his third patent (Process Development Methodology).



Thanks to skills acquired in the fields of knowledge management, organizational design and business process management Diego became Schlumberger Head of Process Solutions within the Information Solutions Division which provided highly advanced digital solutions to the Oil and Gas Industry worldwide. During this time he gained extensive knowledge of E&P operations (Exploration and Production) and of oilfield industry process needs, all over the world.



His extensive experience in organizational design and digital technologies became very useful when he was asked by the C-Level to help successfully redesign the entire organization after a multi-billion acquisition of a leading IT Solutions provider aimed at bringing the “digital oilfield” offering to market.

Having gained significant experience in several different disciplines Diego decided to found his own company along with another partner, George P. Lucas, his mentor and friend during his years at Schlumberger. The company is based in San Antonio, Texas and its name is SPHIDA™. “Sfida” in Italian means “challenge”: the challenge for us at SPHIDA™ is to “enable human potential” within every organization while assuring the systematic achievement of our clients’ corporate strategic and compliance goals.

With SPHIDA, Diego was invited by Robert McDowell (at the time Corporate Vice President of Microsoft, Head of Consulting Services), author of the book “In Search of Business Value”, to collaborate with his cross-functional team at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond in order to revamp Microsoft’s IT investment value methodology, named R.E.J. (Rapid Economic Justification). The methodology publication explicitly cites SPHIDA in the references, along with Gartner, IDC,  MIT Center for Information System Research, Balanced Scorecard Institute and other high profile institutions.


During this time with Microsoft, Diego realized first hand that even the most respected approaches to IT investment valuation have limits that need to be overcome, and that the demand for something that truly works in this area is extremely high. He eventually found the solution to this problem, by inventing a novel risk-based approach to investment value quantification that not only works with IT investments, but also with any investment in general ( i.e. Proactive Thinking™ Business Case methodology ).

While performing with SPHIDA high profile consulting engagements around the world in many different industries, including consulting engagements with Government Agencies in Italy such as the Ministry of Interior (D.C.P.C.) and Regione Veneto (Direzione Lavoro), Diego continued to combine all the elements acquired over time into a new “Risk-Based Governance Framework” capable of solving in a concrete and practical manner the most urgent issue for all clients: bridging the gap between strategy and execution. This framework is called Proactive Thinking™.


Having realized that a powerful framework should necessarily be accompanied by an easy to use software to support it, he decided to leverage his broad knowledge in software product development and invest in the development of a new kind of enterprise software defined as “Integrated Management System”, named Overblue™.

Overblue™ was built on top of the familiar and already widely adopted Microsoft 365 platform, in order to exploit the entire spectrum of collaboration, security and information worker capabilities that this platform offers.


While developing the Overblue™ Audit Module, Diego collaborated with top professionals in the Internal Audit field to ensure that the software implemented the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) standard practices.


From these experts he gained unique insights on how to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of enterprise risk management, control and governance processes and used this invaluable know-how to further enhance the Proactive Thinking™ Framework and the Overblue™ software platform.

Diego launched the first deployments of SPHIDA’s Proactive Thinking Framework™ and Overblue™ software in his home country through a strategic collaboration with one of Italy’s prominent banking institutions; and in the manufacturing sector with the Italian subsidiary of a stainless steel global conglomerate in charge of two major production sites in northern Italy. 


While the company remains based in San Antonio, Texas, Diego moved with his family - after spending 20 years being based in the USA - to Venice, Italy, where he plans to establish the Proactive Thinking™ Academy. Known for its extraordinary beauty and humanist culture, Venice was specifically chosen as the ideal place to promote a new way of managing organizations that recognizes and aims to enable infinite human potential.


Proactive Thinking

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