The Dean of Innovation
Dubbed the “Dean of Innovation,” Jeff DeGraff not only wrote the book(s) on innovation, but is renowned for jumpstarting creativity and empowering innovation culture, strategies, competencies, community, and ecosystems for over half the Fortune 500. A former executive at Domino’s Pizza, where he grew the business from $50M to $2B acquisition, Dr. DeGraff is both a professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, and founder of the Innovatrium, an innovation center and consulting practice serving business and public sector clients around the globe. Always on the cutting edge of unleashing innovation in a rapidly changing world, his impassioned mission is to democratize innovation and cultivate creative mindsets, bringing transformative approaches to everyone, everywhere.
More About Jeff DeGraff
Jeff’s client roster reads like a “Who’s Who” of innovative brands: Apple, Hulu, Google, Coca-Cola, Mercedes-Benz and more. He has clocked over two million frequent flyer miles as an advisor to governments from Poland to Singapore and is a key advisor on the largest innovation ecosystem in the world, the U.S. Air Force and Space Force. Dr. DeGraff is also the co-creator of Competing Values Framework (CVF), the gold standard in assessing innovation and growth, used by Wall Street and top-tier management consultants alike. Rapid X, a key acquisition process developed at Innovatrium with the USAF key acquisition talents, was deployed by “Operation Warp Speed” to bring COVID vaccines to the public in eight months vs. the usual eight years. He is also widely known as a mentor or influencer to many, including leaders ranging from Adam Grant to prominent CEOs.
Dr. DeGraff’s extensive experience, expertise and research have fueled several acclaimed books, numerous articles, his own TV show and speaking engagements spanning the breadth of the Fortune 1000. His PBS program, Innovation You, his book by the same title, and his segment on Michigan Radio called “The Next Idea” encourage and empower individuals to innovate in their everyday life. His book, Innovation Code: The Creative Power of Constructive Conflict, identifies four contrasting types of innovators and how to build and manage a team that represents the full spectrum of innovative thinking. In his latest book, The Creative Mindset: Mastering the Six Skills That Empower Innovation, Jeff and his co-author share how-to advice, tools, and techniques as two master innovators who have taught and worked with over half of all Fortune 500 companies. Jeff’s articles have been published in Inc. and on LinkedIn, and his opinions appear in Business Week, US News and World Report, and the Wall Street Journal, just to name a few.
Before being recruited to the University of Michigan, Dr. DeGraff was Vice President of Communications and New Ventures at Domino’s Pizza when it was one of the fastest growing businesses in the world. Under his innovative leadership, Domino’s went from a $50M valuation to a $2B acquisition by Bain Capital.
He holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“Strategy doesn’t work without culture.” —Jeff DeGraff
We’re living in a world of accelerating change and unprecedented competition. Disruption has become the new normal—and constant innovation is the only way to stay relevant and succeed. Does your organization have the innovative culture, language, and mindset needed to succeed? In this invaluable session, “Dean of Innovation” Jeff DeGraff draws on 30 years working with the world’s most innovative companies to show you how to pump up innovation and creativity—followed by an exhilarating Q&A that will help set the wheels in motion to transform your organization.
You’ll learn how to:
“We innovate when we disrupt, and we have to disrupt each other.” —Jeff DeGraff
Today’s workplaces are more polarized than ever before. In fact, a recent Harvard Business Review article reported that about 89% of employees have experienced conflict in the workplace and spent roughly 3.5 hours a week dealing with it. But is conflict really bad for the workplace? Or can it be a positive force for innovation and fresh thinking? In this provocative talk, renowned innovation guru Jeff DeGraff challenges the common perception of workplace conflict and team differences, contending that friction can actually be the spark that ignites creativity and innovation. Drawing from his acclaimed book, The Innovation Code, Professor DeGraff, shows you how to harness the positive aspects of disharmony and differences to create a more innovative and productive workplace where creative mindsets and culture thrive. He identifies four contrasting types of innovators and shows how to leverage their full spectrum of thinking—disrupting old norms and driving innovation in every aspect of your business. You’ll understand why apathy is the death of innovation, conflict feeds creativity, and diversity of thought is critical to successful teams. Sharing a pragmatic playbook based on real life examples from the Fortune 500, DeGraff shows you how to celebrate differences and embrace conflict as your organization’s new innovation superpower.
“The amount of innovation a company produces is inversely related to the number of PowerPoint slides or elaborate process diagrams it makes about innovation.” —The DeGraff Hypothesis
Productivity is no longer enough. Strategy is no longer enough. And please don’t get the “Dean of Innovation” Jeff DeGraff started about all the slides and diagrams. As a consultant to half the Fortune 500, he has seen firsthand the obstacles that leaders face when trying to jumpstart their organization’s growth engine. DeGraff’s experience shows that most simply don’t have the tools or preparation to make innovation and growth happen. Even in leading organizations, innovative strategies and processes cannot succeed without the culture, competencies and leadership practices required to execute and sustain innovation. In this session geared specifically for leadership, Professor DeGraff breaks down these essential components of innovation. He also shares a simple, essential approach that any leader can use to not only recognize, develop and launch creative ideas—but to turn them into winning solutions that create value.
“The greatest innovation you create is yourself.” —Jeff DeGraff
The rapid pace of disruption isn’t just happening at the organizational level. Individuals on every branch of the org chart have realized that the game has changed. Maybe you no longer feel like you are growing. Or worse, keeping up. If you were a product or a service, you would take stock, assess your strengths and weaknesses, and get down to the business of innovation. Why shouldn’t individuals take the same approach? According to innovation expert Jeff DeGraff, “Innovation You” should be job #1 when it comes to succeeding in times of disruption and change. In this lively and inspirational session, Professor DeGraff shows how you can adopt best practices from the most innovative organizations in the world to refresh, reinvent and reinvigorate your life and career. Diving deep into strategies and how-to tactics, he spells out the four steps to becoming “new and improved,” including developing the skills to help others do the same.
Known for his talent for thinking on his feet, diagnosing organizational obstacles and prescribing insightful solutions, Jeff DeGraff’s “Q&As” at the end of a keynote are always the highlight of his talks. In this conversational format, Professor DeGraff discusses your organization’s innovation challenges in a fireside chat with an interviewer of your choice. Get ready to get to the heart of what makes and doesn’t make innovation work—with highly pragmatic and prescriptive advice from one of the world’s preeminent thought leaders on innovation.
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