As a professor, author, speaker and adviser to hundreds of the top organizations in the world, Jeff DeGraff has been dubbed the "Dean Of Innovation." His book, Making Stone Soup: How to Jumpstart Innovation Teams is now available on Amazon, iTunes or at


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Jeff DeGraff

As a professor, author, speaker and adviser to hundreds of the top organizations in the world, Jeff DeGraff has been dubbed the "Dean Of Innovation." His book, Making Stone Soup: How to Jumpstart Innovation Teams is now available on Amazon, iTunes or at


Jeff has yet to fill out education information.

Professional Experience

Jeff has yet to fill out employment information.

Innovating Your Way to a Good Job

If you feel like some people have no problem finding a job-even in the most difficult job markets-you’re not mistaken. These seemingly lucky individuals know something: You don’t get a job by competing in the same game as every other job searcher and applicant-you get it by innovating.   Want to learn how to innovate your…


It’s the Talent, Stupid

Six presidential campaigns later, I’ve still got Bill Clinton’s iconic 1992 slogan running through my head: It’s the economy, stupid. But it’s not the economy that I’m thinking about–it’s corporate relocation that’s on my mind. What was so effective about Clinton’s irresistible one-liner is the way it redirected American attention. He not-so-politely told us that,…


The Conscious Company and Other Myths

The Conscious Company: it’s that buzzy piece of corporate speak we’ve all been hearing and using without really thinking about it. The irony is that we’re not conscious of what so-called company consciousness actually means. What most organizations really mean when they call themselves “conscious” is conscientious: wishing to do what is right. There are…

Innovating Innovation Strategy: Part 3

[In the part-two installment of this three-part article, I showed how the two major growth strategies–push and pull strategies–both fall short when it comes to meeting the demands of innovation. Here are three approaches to effectively confront the unique obstacles that innovation throws our way.] Play some wildcards. Wildcards are unexpected events that actually happen with regularity. These…


Infographic: Why Innovation Is So Hard

Everyone wants to make innovation an everyday, everywhere capability of their company. But, just about everyone, and leaders especially, don’t know how innovation really works or how to actually support innovation. I’ve worked with some of the biggest, and most dynamic companies in the world to build the innovation process into their businesses. Below, I’m…


Innovating Innovation Strategy: Part 2

[In last week’s part-one installment of this three-part article, I highlighted all the things that make innovation so radically different from all other forms of value creation. The strategies we normally bring to organizational growth aren’t enough when it comes to innovation. We need a new strategy to help us go into uncharted territory.] How do you…


Innovating Innovation Strategy: Part 1

Innovation calls us to do the impossible: to build for a future we can’t yet see. The very notion of innovation is riddled with paradoxes. It asks us to embrace wildly different–even contradictory–ideas at once: creativity and pragmatism, foresight and hindsight, breakthrough visions and incremental change. In this way, innovation is unlike all the normal…

Cloud in the form of a question mark

The Question Is the Answer

An innovation answer is a seductive illusion. We all want to come up with quick, easy solutions to our complicated problems, but answers don’t actually provide resolution. That’s because, in the world of innovation, there will always be another question–a new urgency or need waiting to be met. Instead of being distracted by the convenience…

businessman hand working with new modern computer and business success as concept

Culture Creates the Economics of Innovation

Independent thinkers have a way of upsetting people. Economics Nobel Laureate Edmund Phelps is a good example. Progressives take issue with his scrupulous analysis of government stimulus spending while conservatives are offended by the way he characterizes their political ethos as having created the corporatist value system. Independent thinkers are often innovative thinkers who are…


The Three Realities of Innovators

How do you build a bridge to a place that doesn’t yet exist? This is the paradoxical challenge that every innovator faces: to envision and reach for the future before it happens. This requires the gift of foresight-a skill that involves seeing emerging opportunities and taking action on those opportunities. There are two ways that…

three blue spot lights on stage

The Wisdom of the Rule of Three

For years I trained consultants in the ambiguous and complex art of innovation at a prestigious consulting firm. I was amused at their indoctrination which included an unbending adherence to the rule of three. No, not that bad things happen in threes but rather that a client should always be given three paths to action:…

Composite image of idea and innovation graphic on page with people sitting around table drinking coffee

How to Win the Innovation Race

Innovation is less like a sprint or a marathon than a relay race: a team event where the hand-offs between each phase are the most crucial moments of the competition. Bringing together the fastest people won’t necessarily ensure a first-place finish in the innovation relay. The quickest runner is only useful if he or she…


Positive Thinking: A Brief User’s Guide

Positivity will lift your spirits, but will it lead to meaningful change? The short answer is yes. Clinical studies have shown that people with an optimistic sense of destiny are more effective innovators than those who try to make up for the things they lack. In fact, there’s even a whole scholarly discipline–positive organizational scholarship–centered…

The New Rules of Innovation

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. This often means disrupting and unsettling rules that your company or industry has taken for granted as given for years. No rule…


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

There’s something that leaders don’t tell you about success. It occurs in a seemingly inverse order: after failure and then before it. It’s the strange cycle that characterizes all innovation: the failure that comes with experimentation actually teaches us the lessons necessary for success and the success that comes with growth encourages complacency and failure.…


How to See the Future First

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. Even if the innovations…


The Top Innovations We Should’ve Seen in 2014

With everyone else in the year-end spirit of looking back, I’m ready to look forward. Forget smart watches, 3-D printers, and hoverboards–the year’s most outstanding innovations were the ones we didn’t see. My best-of list is a wish-list. Here’s the top innovations we should’ve seen in 2014. In a perfect world, we’ll see them in 2015. Reckless Driver Identification App:…


How to Do More With Less

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. Yet in their context, they can be game-changing. Figuring out how to cook a pizza thirty seconds faster doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when you make…

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