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Jeff Degraff

A Map for Engineering Your Next Innovation [Infographic]

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 08.24.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Innovation is about bringing together individuals with diverse strengths who can push against each other and build something collaboratively that they...

When Nobody Wants Your Innovation

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 08.17.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

We dream of improving the quality and length of our lives, but we're reluctant to tamper with the genetic triggers of a disease. We want to eliminate global hunger, but we have a bias against genetically modified drought-resistant food.

The Three Realities of Innovators

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 08.11.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

If Einstein needed help, so will you. Visionaries don't have to make everything work themselves. Some innovators see the vision and pass it on to the next thinkers, while others build on the work of people who have come before them.

Before There Were TED Talks, There Were Chautauquas

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 08.03.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Innovators can learn a lot from the turn-of-the-century Chautauqua movement. These getaways allowed people to take a break from their normal routines and experiment with new ideas. In our own moment, we desperately need this free time--this space to reflect and create.

The Unlikely Source of Your Next Big Breakthrough

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 07.27.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

How can you bring the back-office insights of supply chains to the front of your organization? Here are three plans of action that will help you use suppliers for your innovation advantage.

The Wisdom of the Rule of Three

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 07.20.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Innovation requires us to have deep and wide field of vision and an open mind to see the reality of the situation. The challenge is to overcome our own limited perspective.

What Will You Give Up to Make Room For Innovation?

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 07.13.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

At the heart of every great innovation is a great compromise: in order to start something new, we have to stop something old.

Picture This: Using Visual Aids to Inspire Creativity

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 06.29.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Picture it: this is a phrase that so many creative thinkers use when they're introducing their new project. The best ideas begin with a compelling image.

3 Unexpected Ways to Get More Innovative

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 06.15.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

If radical change is what you seek, then what you need is a stable foundation on which to build that innovation. Think of it this way: the infrastructures that support our modern world have done the heavy lighting for you. Now, it's up to you to build on that groundwork. What new layer will you add to old stone?

From Brand to Brand New: How to Re-Create Your Brand

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 06.08.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Strong brands require more than the conventional us versus them -- good guys versus bad guys twaddle. You need a bigger and better narrative: one that encompasses the amazing diversity of your organization and helps all of your people understand and appreciate how they are interconnected.

How to Free Up Your Ability to Think Creatively

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 06.01.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

The biggest obstacle you face on the path to creativity is yourself. It's the internal barrier that limits the way all of us think and see the world: our dominant logic. Everyone has a set of tenets or beliefs that determines what we value and what we don't value.

The Good, the Bad, and the Future of Creative Collaboration

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 05.13.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Innovators know that sharing isn't just caring--it's the only way to get by. Collaboration has recently emerged as the defining characteristic of creativity and growth in nearly all sectors and industries.

How Rules and Bureaucracy Breed Innovation

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 05.04.2015 | Business
Jeff DeGraff

Innovation happens in whitespaces, at the edge of disciplines. In these places, creative thinkers, leaders, and experimenters don't encounter the expected resistance to new ideas.

The Secret to Teaching Creativity at Business School

Jeff DeGraff | Posted 06.27.2015 | 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 06.20.2015 | 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 06.13.2015 | 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 06.06.2015 | 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 05.30.2015 | 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 05.22.2015 | 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 05.16.2015 | 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 05.09.2015 | 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 05.02.2015 | 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.