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Jeff Degraff

The Secret to Teaching Creativity at Business School

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 04.27.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

The secret to teaching creativity is that you really can't teach it. Rather it is something integral to our experiences that is either assimilated or accommodated. You never master creativity. Instead, you have to let creativity master you.

Using the Right Innovation Tool for the Right Innovation Job

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 04.20.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

An all-purpose solution is never the answer to your innovation challenge. Creativity initiatives come in all different sizes--and so should the tools ...

The Myth of Creativity On-Demand

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 04.13.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Even the most brilliant artists and writers don't decide when they are at their most creative. Rather, they understand the internal and external dynamics that shape their productivity and adjust their processes accordingly.

The Best Way to Look for the Next Big Thing

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 04.06.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Pay attention. Look up, look down, look all around yourself. Look for the things that other people don't see. Chances are if you see an obvious occasion to innovate, other people see it, too. So look for subtle patterns, small holes, tiny inconsistencies, minor inefficiencies.

Positive Thinking: A Brief User's Guide

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 03.30.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Positivity has its limits. And, taken in excess, optimism can become dangerous: for too much positivity begins to replace actual creative action and takes over as a self-deceptive force.

The Future Has Come and Gone: You Just Missed It

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 03.23.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Technology marches ever onward, aggression and avarice are sadly still part of the human condition and our relationship with our environment remains fragile and precarious as it has for millennia. Yes, everything changes: that's what doesn't change.

Want Radical Innovation? Here's Where to Look

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 03.16.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Innovation happens behind-the-scenes. It's often not the faces of a company -- the directors and managers -- who come up with breakthrough ideas but the individuals working out of public view, in the background.

The New Rules of Innovation

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 03.09.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Go back to the basics. That is the imperative of radical innovation: take a look at the underlying rules and principles that guide your organization and see what happens when you change them.

The Inverse Innovation Cycle: How Failure Becomes Success and Success Becomes Failure

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 03.02.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

There's something that leaders don't tell you about success. It occurs in a seemingly inverse order: after failure and then before it. The failure that comes with experimentation actually teaches us the lessons necessary for success.

Critics Make the Best Innovation Evangelists

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 04.18.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

With every important innovation comes resistance. The more meaningful the innovation, the more resistance you'll meet. And if you don't encounter any resistance, then you're likely doing it wrong: you need to take more risks and increase the speed and magnitude of your project.

Why Courage Is More Important Than Creativity

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 04.04.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Innovation hurts. There is no way around this fact: innovation entails tough sacrifices in often drastic circumstances. It's harder to stop doing old things than it is to start doing new things. The first step of all innovations is destruction.

How to See the Future First

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 03.28.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

One of the biggest challenges innovators face is to truly understand the market opportunity space before they start creating a strategy and well in advance of product development. Since we can't see the future, we need to gain some real insight from deep domain experts and make sense of possible scenarios.

How to Develop the Next Generation of Innovators: Stop Treating Everyone the Same Way

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 03.21.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

What if we are going about jump-starting our own economy the wrong way? I'm not talking about any political party. I'm talking about our modest sensibilities: our belief that giving our best and brightest special consideration is elitist and wrong.

What Are You Willing to Give Up to Get Innovation?

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 03.14.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

In your world that is strapped for time and resources, are you willing to deviate from the efficiency of your routine to create something extraordinary?

The Top Innovations We Should've Seen in 2014

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 03.07.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Forget smart watches, 3-D printers, and hoverboards -- the year's most outstanding innovations were the ones we didn't see.

The Upside of Discovering Your Incompetencies

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 02.21.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

How well do you know yourself? Do you know your weaknesses as well as you know your strengths? Having deep self-awareness about your own shortcomings isn't just important when working collaboratively in any organization -- it's essential.

Need to Get Creative? How to Create an Idea Space

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 02.14.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Where you work is how you think. Your immediate surroundings determine your mindset, the way you generate ideas and solve problems. You can't break institutional barriers within the walls of your everyday workspace.

How to Do More With Less

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 02.07.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Innovation is not an event. It's a long process that depends on incremental changes along the way. These small adjustments may not seem momentous on their own.

How to Weed Out Projects That Aren't Worth Your Time

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 01.31.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

It's often helpful to put your organization's diverse projects alongside each other and compare them. This is the point of maintaining a portfolio: to treat initiatives like investments and to weigh them against each other, balancing and maximizing the relative worth of these projects through disciplined decision making and resource allocation.

How to Jump-Start Radical Change in Your Company

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 01.24.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Don't just pick low-hanging fruit. You need to choose the ideas that provide a solution to the challenge and that are feasible -- within the realm of possibility -- but you also need to choose those that have the "wow" factor.

How to Find Your Next Super Star Employee

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 01.17.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

The pace of talent-scouting is unpredictable. But once you do assemble a diverse team of high-performers, the culture you establish will be sustainable into the future.

The Low-Risk Way to Design Breakthrough Products

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 01.10.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

I call this process modular design and development: breaking down complex systems into parts that can be developed and tested independently.

The Key to Creating Partnerships That Work

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 01.04.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

The coming together of two distinct organizations isn't merely difficult--it's nearly impossible. The statistics are overwhelming: a recent global sur...

4 Innovation Strategies to Forecast the Future

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 12.27.2014 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Part of innovating is stopping things now so can you make the room to do new things. Stop planning and start acting.

How to Turn Conflict Into Creativity

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 12.20.2014 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Two talented people who have nothing in common are more likely to create something exciting than two talented people who think the same way. Harmony i...