Keynote Speaker Jeff DeGraff Exclusive

Jeff DeGraff

Top Innovation Speaker, Business Professor, Author, and “Dean of Innovation”

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About Speaker Jeff DeGraff

Jeff DeGraff is an innovation keynote speaker, author, Professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, and founder of the Innovatrium. Jeff is well-known as a speaker with a mission to bring innovation to everyone everywhere. His simultaneously creative and pragmatic approach to making innovation happen has led clients and colleagues to dub him the “Dean of Innovation.”

He has consulted with many Fortune 500 companies, such as General Electric, Coca-Cola, Google, and Mercedes-Benz, about building innovation strategy and competency.  An author of many books and articles published in Inc. and LinkedIn, his opinions appear in Business Week, US News and World Report, and the Wall Street Journal, just to name a few. His Public TV program “Innovation You,” his book with the same title, and his segment in Michigan Radio called “The Next Idea” encourage and empower individuals to innovate in their every-day life. His latest book is “The Innovation Code,” co-authored with his wife, Staney DeGraff. They are collaborating on “The Creative Mindset” to be released in September 2020.

Why Jeff DeGraff?

Watching Jeff speak is akin to going to the theater: he is more than anything, a natural performer. Combine his performance with his extensive experience on the topic of innovation in business, and the result is an exciting presentation that will propel any company to innovate. Jeff has several popular and highly customized presentations; however, he does give the option of creativity a new presentation based on your needs.

Jeff Degraff’s Full Bio:

Jeff DeGraff is the Professor of Management and Organizations at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He teaches MBA, EMBA, BBA, and Executive Education courses on leading creativity, innovation and change. Jeff’s research and writing focuses on innovation strategy, change and innovation competency development, creativity and innovation practices and methods, creativity communities and innovation networks, and leadership development.

He is an author and co-author of the books Innovation YouCreativity at Work: Developing the Right Practices to Make Innovation Happen, Leading Innovation: How to Jumpstart Your Company’s Growth Engine and Competing Values Leadership: Creating Value in Organizations. His book, Making Stone Soup, was a finalist for several book awards. In his newest book Innovation Code: The Creative Power of Constructive Conflict, he argues that diversity of thought is essential to innovation. He urges everyone to practice constructive dialogue and work in diverse teams to find hybrid solutions and develop unique approaches to solve difficult problems.

Jeff’s mission is “the democratization of innovation.” He brings innovation to everyone, every day and everywhere through his books, his public television program (Innovation You), columns (Inc.) and radio program (The Next Idea). His articles and thought leadership on contemporary business matters have been covered by Business WeekUS News and World Report and the Wall Street Journal, to name a few.

His client list reads as a ‘who’s who’ within the world of innovators, including, among many others, General Electric, Coca-Cola, American College of Surgeons, and Google. In working with these prominent firms, he has developed a broad array of widely used change and innovation methodologies and tools. Jeff was a member of the executive team at Domino’s Pizza when it was one of the fastest growing businesses in the world in the 1980’s. Jeff’s creative and direct take on making innovation happen have made him a world renowned thought leader and have prompted his clients and colleagues to dub him as “The Dean of Innovation.”

Jeff is a Managing Partner of Innovatrium, an innovation center and consulting practice that specializes in teaching companies how to grow and become more innovative. He serves as an advisor to think tanks and governments. Jeff has worked all over the world, with significant experience in Europe and Asia, and in most industry and market segments.

More About Speaker, Jeff DeGraff. . .

Jeff is the creator of the Certified Professional Innovator Program at the University of Michigan. This certificate program develops innovation leaders through an integrated curriculum and practicum of assessments, on-line modules, project jumpstarts and coaching.

He holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Stay up-to-date and read more about Jeff at his blog,, and follow him on LinkedIn,

Testimonials 11

  • “Jeff’s presentation was far and away one of the best that I saw last week. Our team debriefed for quite some time on it and are reviewing how we can implement some of the suggestions.”


  • “Innovation is a skill, not a gift.  It can be routinized like any other business imperative such as productivity, leadership, or quality.  DeGraff shows you the way.”

    Drew Boyd

    Director, Johnson & Johnson

  • “I could not be any more pleased with how well it went over and I know my team feels the same way.  It truly was a very valuable experience for everyone.”

    Robert D. Barber

    Chief Executive Officer, Environmental Data Resources, Inc.

  • “Simply put, Jeff DeGraff’s methods work!  In working with Jeff and his framework to transform various aspects of our business model, it became increasingly clear that he was also subtly transforming me and my team. It’s clear that the step by step process he’s used to transform business, can likewise, be unleashed to re-shape and transform the individual.”

    Pfizer, Inc.

  • “Jeff was a HUGE success at our meeting! He definitely hit a home run with our attendees and many of his talking points (including the ‘4 colors’) were referenced throughout the entire weekend.  Jeff certainly set the stage for our most successful Matrix Leadership Meeting to date.”

    Suzanne Ziemnik, M.Ed.

    VP, Education and Assessment, American Society for Clinical Pathology

  • “We received very positive feedback…folks wanted more. I think that Jeff has put us on the right track. Looking forward to seeing these proof of concepts come to life.”

    Wendy Race

    General Electric Company, GE Infra, Energy

  • “We got TONS of great feedback on Jeff, his presentation and his work.  The presentation was high energy and simple, yet insightful.  The model presented was very helpful in providing a common language to help categorize, discuss, and — most importantly — create choiceful decisions as to where and how to innovate.”

    Ashland, Inc.

  • “Jeff DeGraff has a unique ability to combine entertaining and thought provoking material into a truly enjoyable evening of learning and growth! We can’t wait to use him again in one of our corporate programs.”

    David Daugherty

    VP of Talent Management, Plastipak Packaging

  • “Jeff has provided marketing professionals across GE with a collaborative, measurable process that leverages existing creativity.”

    Beth Cornstock

    SVP & CMO, General Electric

  • “Jeff is not only the best in the field of unleashing innovation, he also has a heart of helpfulness. He just brought the house down at the Air Force Association’s Innovation Symposium, and now he is offering his amazing skills by helping the USAF set up its Innovation Education effort. Jeff, Staney, you guys are the best, and a grateful Air Force thanks you!”

    Col. Johnny Barnes

    Air Education and Training Command and Air University Liaison to the National Capital Region

  • Jeff is the best in the field of unleashing innovation and he has a heart of helpfulness. He ‘brought the house down’ at the Air Force Association’s Innovation Symposium. Jeff, you are the best, and a grateful Air Force thanks you!

    Col. Johnny Barnes


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Innovation You Workshop

Jeff will show you how to make your early mistakes productive ones that you can learn from. You will figure out what works and what doesn’t work. The key here is making room for what you don’t know yet so you can revisit your future and continue to grow.
A specialized workshop with Jeff means not only a new mindset towards change, but also the practical tools to make that mindset a reality.

Jumpstarting Innovation Workshop

Now that Jeff has begun to change your mindset toward growth, it is time to put this new way of thinking to work. With Jeff’s
customized one- and two-day workshops, you will develop an action plan that makes these concepts come to life in the everyday
reality of your organization.

First, Jeff will help you assess the inner and outer realities of your organization: both the needs and current situation of your firm and
Innovation is about arriving at a place we have never been before by doing something we have never done before. the larger trends shaping your world. Each participant will come away with his or her own profile, a profile of the company culture, and a clear, shared vision for the future. Together, you will set high-quality targets—specific goals you can measure in ways everyone can agree on. These goals will be feasible and will have end dates. Most importantly, though, they will move you. If a target doesn’t have the subjective, personal feeling of “wow,” it’s not an innovation target—it’s just an ordinary goal. Jeff will help you find goals that are just that: extraordinary.

Innovation Coaching and Executive Retreats

In order to achieve change, we need to surround ourselves with the people and resources that will help us grow. Think of innovation as a playbook and Jeff DeGraff as the coach who will move you forward to sustainable growth. As an innovation coach, Jeff—internationally renowned Dean of Innovation and professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan—will partner with you as
you navigate your way to change. Jeff will not only help you tackle your current challenges—he will also reinvent the way you think about innovation more broadly.

A seasoned consultant to multi-national Fortune 500 companies, Jeff has studied and practiced innovation at both the group and individual levels. With this diverse expertise, Jeff offers three kinds of coaching services: executive coaching, innovation project coaching, and personal
development coaching.

Certified Professional Innovator

This program is designed to develop highly practiced innovation leaders. It will provide the necessary tools and techniques to stimulate and manage innovation. Leaders will be given frameworks and methods for strategizing, developing, and implementing innovative solutions. The aim of the program is to provide leaders with the perspective and skill base necessary to manage breakthrough innovation-focused projects, people, and ventures.

This unique program consists of both an online component and a 2-day on-site boot camp. You will complete distance learning assignments and collaborate with peers in online communities of practice. Throughout the program you will develop, refine, and implement a customized plan to bring about a significant innovation initiative at your organization. Participants will spend an average of three hours per week on program activities when not on site.

Each segment of the program is designed to engage leaders in action based learning experiences and develop real expertise in innovation. In this rigorous, multi-media program, you will explore and master research-proven and real world-tested methods in a minimal amount of time.

Personas who have benefited from this program:

  • UX Architect, Apple
  • Engineering Manager, Toyota Technical Center
  • Senior Director (focused on product and marketing development, Honeywell Aerospace
  • Faculty, UM Medical School (Translational Oncology Program)
  • Director, Operational Excellence (focused on User Experience), Honeywell Aerospace

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