Dean of Innovation and Professor of Management, Jeff Degraff

Episode 143
Jeff Degraff is an advocate of innovation for all. It is through modelling true innovation that he is able to utilize conflict to help others collaborate. He develops innovation cultures with the power of diversity and works to break archaic models to make way for the new.

Today’s guest is known as the Dean of Innovation. He is a professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He is also the founder of Innovatrium, a consulting firm and innovation institute that works with Fortune 500 companies. Meet Jeff Degraff.

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Why should we welcome diversity and conflict in order to innovate? Dean of Innovation Jeff Degraff shares some amazing insights.

Here are some important topics discussed in this episode with Jeff Degraff:

  • 5:09 – Advice for innovators
  • 7:13 – Resilience
  • 10:06 – Early career
  • 15:10 – Old rules and tools
  • 17:28 – Advice for leaders and managers
  • 19:36 – Constructive conflict
  • 30:19 – Lessons from travel
  • 34:21 – Creativity
  • 37:56 – Good habits
  • 42:20 – Working with others
Jeff Degraff believes in innovation communities, spaces where both inclusivity and constructive conflict thrive. He believes that innovators are invisible yet vital agents for progress and that everyone should be allowed the opportunity to be an innovator.

Jeff Degraff went from being the “dumb jock” to becoming the “wonder kid.” Experiencing both worlds made him realize that he neither as smart nor as dumb as other people think. With this liberating realization, he welcomes all types of innovators in his consulting firm, Innovatrium. In fact, it is his dream to democratize innovation.

To Jeff Degraff, all it takes is the willingness to experience challenge and adversity to do well on his team. After all, innovators experience never-ending challenges, many of which have never been experienced by anyone before. Jeff Degraff believes that innovators are invisible, with no one caring much about their ideas unless it would make someone’s life easier. Still, the true innovator carries on, fulfilling a sense of destiny with each new idea brought to life.

As a leader and manager, he does not shy away from conflict. Rather, he uses tension as a portal, a source of energy. He believes that the more we welcome conflict into our lives as individuals and teams, the more we learn. And the more we learn, the more we can model, serve and teach.

In Jeff Degraff’s perfect world, everyone gets a chance to create useful novelty. There, people do not demonize those they disagree with. In that utopia, people work for something bigger than themselves. This may not be our everyday reality, but it is something Jeff Degraff is building and modelling in his own life. He has become the change he wants to see in the world; it’s only a matter of time that we catch up.

In this interview, Jeff Degraff talks about the power of constructive conflict. He also shares his ideas on resilience, social media and what true innovators are.

You can connect with Jeff Degraff through his official website, He is also available on LinkedIn.

THIS EPISODE WAS POSSIBLE THANKS TO (Accommodation Solutions in Australia), and
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