The charismatic Jeff DeGraff began his career as a VP at Domino’s Pizza, where he was responsible for developing innovative strategies, communication & support technologies, and new business ventures. The title on DeGraff’s business cards read “Dean of Innovation” and he helped spur Domino’s meteoric growth during the 1980’s from a regional success story to an international franchise phenomenon.
With over twenty years experience in management issues, DeGraff is the Clinical Professor of Management and Organizations at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, teaching MBA and executive education courses; the Managing Partner of Competing Values Company, a consulting firm that assists leaders in facilitating change, innovation and growth; and the Executive Director of the Innovatrium Institute for Innovation, Ann Arbor, MI, where ideas grow. Known as the ‘guru to the innovation guru’ at companies such as 3M, Apple, American Express, Coca-Cola, GE, Johnson & Johnson, LG, Pfizer, Reuters, Toyota, and Yahoo!, he has created a broad array of widely used tools and methodologies for implementing innovation.
DeGraff is an in-demand speaker at both academic and business events as well as a thought leader at top innovation incubators and think tanks such as the Aspen Institute. His advice is frequently sought after by the investment community on how to pick, manage and harvest winning ideas and successful business enterprises. He shares his expertise in over 30 countries and with many of the world’s leading corporations in the Automotive, Biotech, Consumer Electronics, Information Technology, Financial Services, Food Service, and Pharmaceutical industries.
DeGraff has written about innovation in numerous articles and books. He is the co-author of Creativity at Work: Developing the Right Practices to Make Innovation Happen, (Jossey Bass, 2002), Competing Values Leadership: Creating Value in Organizations (Edward Elgar, 2006) and Leading Innovation: How to Jump Start Your Organization’s Growth Engine (McGraw-Hill, 2006). DeGraff holds a Ph.D. in Educational Technology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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Leading Innovation: How to Jumpstart Your Organization’s Growth Engine
“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. Leaders are finding the drive for growth is pushing strategic innovation initiatives down into operating units where the management and staff have few of the tools and little preparation to really make it happen. Leading organizations are pursuing innovative strategies and processes only to find that they lack the culture, competencies, and leadership practices required to execute and sustain innovation. In this session organized around the Innovation Genome, leaders will learn a simple approach to recognize, develop, and launch creative ideas into winning solutions that create value.
Business Design in the New Tech Centric World
“The worst of all growth strategies is to have an increasing share of a decreasing market.” – Jeff DeGraff
You’ve heard all the buzz about the new world of work: Millennials, AI, AR, 3D printing, blockchain and digital everything. But the dynamics of how innovation really works, or doesn’t, have remained relatively constant…until now. Modern corporations have become captives to their business models, trying to create the next big solution with the old rules and tools. In this lively and challenging session, Jeff will contrast the old world of work with the new, and demonstrate how to integrate the two to make innovation happen.
The Power of Diversity and Teams
“One size never fits all, so throw out your checklist.”- Jeff DeGraff
Innovation is a form of positive deviance. It’s the opposite of standard operating procedures, which align your organization, creating efficiency and quality. But if you want something new, you need to tap the creative power of constructive conflict. You need to have people in your organization with diverse views, skills, and experiences, who can take different approaches to creating value. This session will introduce you to a new way of thinking about diversity and how to make it work for you: how to identify the strategic situation, its appropriate culture and competencies, and specific leadership practices necessary to produce growth.
Connecting the Dots of Innovation: Making Collaborative Innovation Work Where You Work
“Innovation seldom fails in a function or region. It fails in the handoffs between them.”- Jeff DeGraff
Innovation used to be confined to the realm of tech. Now vertical approaches to innovation-such as tech centers, stage-gate systems, and product portfolios-are expected to operate in sync with horizontal federations like idea markets, creativity clusters, and collaborative open-innovation networks. The key to successfully leading innovation is to develop a new mindset and shared language to connect the dots. This way marketing knows what manufacturing is doing, and Dallas knows what Shanghai is doing, all without the extensive data inputs and outputs. In this dynamic and compelling session, Jeff will show how to sync up your innovation strategies and practices to achieve your goals and create value.
Doing the Creative Work the Company Can’t
“The most creative work your people do is in the coffee shop across the street.” – Jeff DeGraff
Are your people doing their most creative work at work? While the motion picture industry was developing ever more sophisticated innovation methods, Pixar was meeting in a local cafe. If you’re focusing on complex development processes, micromanaging new product portfolios or tormenting designers with a dizzying array of metrics, your most creative people walk out of your door every day-unnoticed, uninspired, and untapped. So how can an organization make innovation happen? In this lively and compelling session, Jeff focuses on the creative development of the person: how they feel, how they think and how you should act to encourage individuals to design and follow their own creative path.
Innovation You: Four Steps to Becoming New and Improved
“The greatest innovation you create is yourself.” Jeff DeGraff
One day it hits you: the game has changed. You no longer feel like you are growing. What if you were a product or a service? How do you make yourself better or new? You would do an inventory of what gives you energy and what takes it. You would assess your real strengths and weaknesses. You would, in short, innovate. In this lively and inspirational session, Jeff shows the best practices from the most innovative organizations in the world. Their strategies and tactics will be explained, and more importantly, how they can be applied to make yourself new and improved, and help others do the same.
Jeff’s presentations can be tailored in content and length to the specific needs of your organization, industry, and event themes.