Our Team

Meet the Team

Rick Perkins

Innovation Coach

Rick Perkins

Rick has a strong track record of implementing successful innovation. His work ranges from ground breaking new tech businesses like Bluescape, a wall sized iPad, and Ideation workplace consultancy that combined scientist & designers for effective work space design. Rick has also worked on experience discovery and design that mapped digital & physical integrated customer experience for a $16B super center retailer.

Rick brings his clients insights on how to decipher the important things, listen to the right people at the right time that accomplishes more than teams think possible. Perkins enables teams to get the most out of the bulk of their members– the average performers.

With Haworth, Rick partnered to design and build the first Innovatirum in Ann Arbor. An expert in how place impacts innovation work, he also pioneered the use of CVF as a workspace design tool. Finally, he’s also a guest lecturer for University of Michigan MBA classes.

Rick’s work has included clients like GE, Capital One, Pacific Gas & Electric, Google, T. Rowe Price, Meijer, Raytheon, Microsoft, Wells Fargo, Osram, Genentech, Dow, New York Edison and DOD’s Department of Defense Military Health System.

Jeff DeGraff

Founder

Jeff is a world-renowned thought leader, speaker, professor, and innovation expert. As the Founder of Innovatrium, he offers his experience and expertise to his clients and colleagues, maintaining a hands-on advisory role on all projects.

As Professor of Management and Organizations at the Ross School of Business, as well a seasoned consultant to top-shelf firms like Apple and Zappos, Jeff works at the intersection of theory and practice. A former All-American wrestler, Jeff is a college football fanatic. In his spare time, he also loves to play guitar and visit bookstores. Jeff holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin. Watch a video on Jeff, The Dean of Innovation.

 

John DeGraff

Partner

John DeGraff is an Adjunct Marketing Professor at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater and Managing Partner for the Innovatrium and Competing Values consulting firm. John is a guerrilla-marketing, brand-development mastermind who brings deep experience to the diverse group of clients he consults. As Managing Partner, John works directly with companies and executives who benefit from his long career of coaching large organizations.

Prior to joining Innovatrium, John was the Director of Marketing at Gerber Baby Food where he launched more than 150 new products and generated more than $1 billion in revenue. John splits his time between Ann Arbor and Wisconsin, where he is an adjunct marketing professor at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. In his spare time, you’ll find him fishing or playing guitar. He earned an MSBA from Indiana University.

John now runs the Innovatrium in Wisconsin at the Whitewater University Technology Park,  while teaching Entrepreneurial Marketing at UW-Whitewater.

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Chris Mueller

Innovation Consultant

Chris is an inspiration to the self-authorizing individuals he coaches. By developing teams of resourceful leaders, he helps large, complex organizations reinvent themselves amidst rapidly changing market conditions. He thrives in situations with high potential and limited resources.

Before joining Innovatrium, he served as the COO of a regional health service provider in Virginia, where he tripled profits. He also launched a social enterprise that provides a sustainable water transportation solution for women and children in India. Outside of work, you’ll find Chris tackling DIY remodeling projects, fly fishing, or cheering on the Wolverines at the Big House. He earned his MBA and MPP from the University of Michigan.

Michael Tschirhart

Innovation Consultant

A product-development expert, Michael helps leaders create and implement user-experience design and research strategies in a variety of contexts. He works effectively with globally distributed internal and external collaborators.

Michael is also a lecturer at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. He is an R&D Manager and Human Factors Technical Fellow at Visteon Corporation, where he leads a global Human Machine Interface (HMI) Research & Development for three major concept vehicles and over 50 advanced product prototypes. He earned his PhD from the University of Michigan.

Shawn Quinn

Innovation Consultant

Shawn’s work focuses on the positive practices in organizations to develop a positive and empowering corporate culture.

He is the Managing Partner for LIFT Consulting and an instructor in the Executive Education Program at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. He co-authored Leading Innovation: How to Jumpstart Your Organization’s Growth Engine (McGraw-Hill, September 2006) with Jeff DeGraff. Shawn has a MA in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University.

Staney DeGraff

Director of Operations

Staney manages Innovatrium’s operations, prioritizing the success of our clients, our team members, and our firm. Her take-charge, excellence-oriented approach enables her to help people translate ideas into action.

Prior to joining Innovatrium, Staney worked for a variety of organizations, including Stikubank University, Fujitsu America, and Domino’s Pizza International. She is originally from Indonesia, and enjoys traveling, reading, and theater performances. She is a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan.

Sarah Hussong

Innovatrium Manager

Sarah is Innovatrium’s nerve center. Detailed, organized, and friendly, she’s the day-to-day manager, travel coordinator, executive assistant, schedule keeper, and event planner. In addition to working with our diverse team, she also interfaces with clients, handling every question and request with a smile.

Prior to joining our team, Sarah worked in the healthcare industry. Outside of the office, she loves reading and gardening. She received a nursing degree and a BS in Health Administration from Eastern Michigan University.

Kang Chang

Innovation Consultant

Kang is a virtuoso problem solver and brings his gift for brainstorming unforeseen solutions to the variety of organizations he works with. He’s known to find the root causes for problems that no one else can diagnose.

Before becoming a part of the Innovatrium team, Kang worked for an NPO think tank designing and leading an international research project studying the challenges and success factors of social enterprises in India and Kenya. In his free time outside of the Innovatrium, Kang is a frequenter of the farmer’s market and lover of sand volleyball. He earned an MS in Environmental Sciences and Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.