Jeff DeGraff is both an advisor to Fortune 500 companies and a Professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He is the author of several books, including Leading Innovation, The Innovation Code, and his latest book, The Creative Mindset. Jeff talks about why innovation is declining, and how the democratization of innovation can reverse that trend.
[3:25] Jeff grew up in the golden age of America. It was almost un-American to not be innovating new things.
[6:15] Our leadership and innovation abilities are declining and Jeff believes it’s a cultural thing.
[8:35] Jeff so deeply cares about the younger generation that he has become almost unapologetic about his words because they need to know the truth of where they stand, and they need encouragement to be better.
[11:00] The problem is there’s a big gap of underserved people and if you want innovation, you have to include them. Thirty-two percent of high school graduates are functionally illiterate.
[13:05] Americans have never been good at standardized tests on a world scale, but the counterpoint to that is that we are the great innovative culture because of the core belief that we can make things better.
[15:45] Instead of focusing on people’s deficits, we need to reframe it and see how we can work with these drawbacks. Mindset is key in being able to leverage other people’s talents.
[18:05] If you want to create innovative work, people have to be different. In fact, consensus and alignment are the death of innovation.
[25:45] The one thing that does unite us is when we have a shared vision of where we want to go. To figure out what it is we should be doing; this is where diversity comes in to help fill in the blanks.
[32:40] Failure doesn’t just happen and then you’re able to move on to the next thing. Failure happens, and then you have to clean up the mess. Much like home repairs; it’s never-ending.
[34:35] In uncertain times, it’s not about being tough, it’s about using your time productively so that you get to where you want to be.
[39:20] Jeff grew up poor and that didn’t stop him and his family from being creative and scrappy with the resources they had available to them.
[41:05] Listener challenge: Find someone who disagrees with your values and beliefs.
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Quotable Quotes“It’s about innovation. We’re retreating from a very American view of the world, which is how we move forward. If we don’t move forward, who else in the world will?” Click To Tweet “The history of innovation in America is the history of immigration. From 2000–2010, 58% of all patents awarded were to people who weren’t born here or are first-generation Americans.” Click To Tweet “The notion is when you have constructive conflict, you get to the next place.” Click To Tweet “Consensus and alignment thinking is the death of innovation.” Click To Tweet “Diversity is necessary, but not sufficient. You have to have a decent tax structure, education structure, etc.” Click To Tweet “You just have to say, ‘I’m going to get through this.’” Click To Tweet “Part of being a human being is taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary.” Click To Tweet
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