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Jeff Degraff

How to See the Future First

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 01.26.2015 | 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 01.20.2015 | 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 01.12.2015 | 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 01.05.2015 | 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 12.22.2014 | 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 12.15.2014 | 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 12.08.2014 | 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...

How to Create Better Ideas Faster

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 12.13.2014 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Have you ever tried to get your team to brainstorm a breakthrough idea for a product or service only to find the process mostly yields extensions of existing ideas?

What is Innovation?

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 12.06.2014 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

When asked to define the legal definition for obscenity, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously quipped "I know it when I see it." For most of ...

Innovation: Master the Art of SODOTO

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 11.15.2014 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Ornithologists report that New Caledonian crows fashion twigs into tools for collecting and extracting insects from the hollows of trees. What is more...

Top 4 Back to School Service Ideas

Brad Jamison | Posted 11.08.2014 | Impact
Brad Jamison

Now that school's back in session, there are more opportunities than ever to give back and make a real difference in your community. Consider service opportunities to benefit school-age children and help other members of the community too.

Innovation: Devise With Revisionary Eyes

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 11.08.2014 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Politicians use the term "revisionist" (or "flip-flop") to label challenger and foe alike as a liar or as inconstant as a horse midstream. Of course t...

Innovation: Old Crops, New Soil

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 11.02.2014 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Did you know that some of the largest chapters of agricultural groups like the Future Farmers of America are in urban centers? This may surprise you: ...

Can the "Commies" Innovate?

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 10.25.2014 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

While it's easy to disagree with some of the premises and conclusions of Professor Piketty, he has started a much needed dynamic conversation about the function and future of our economic system.

How to Make a Creative Genius

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 10.11.2014 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Let's leave the hype about how "you too can be talented, rich and famous" to the P.T. Barnums of our world and the "everyone is creative in their own way" consolation for your Sunday school lesson.

Innovation Starts in Dark Places

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 09.27.2014 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Why does innovation often start in dark places? When you're working in the fringes, the normal risks and rewards associated with radical change suddenly become different: you have a lot less to lose, but you can also gain a lot more.

Originality is Not All That Original

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 09.20.2014 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

What do William Shakespeare and Led Zeppelin have in common? They both pinched much of their material from artists that came before them. The Bard, wh...

Innovation Now or Later?

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 09.06.2014 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Have you ever had two seemingly unrelated things happen around the same time and each in some way produced an insight into the other? Well it happened...