Our Team

Meet the Team

Jeff DeGraff

Dean of Innovation

Jeff DeGraff is both an advisor to Fortune 500 companies and a professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. His simultaneously creative and pragmatic approach to making innovation happen has led clients and colleagues to dub him the “Dean of Innovation.” He has written several books, including Creativity at Work, Leading InnovationInnovation You, and, most recently, Making Stone Soup. Jeff’s thoughts on innovation are covered by Inc., Fortune, and Psychology Today to name a few. He has a regular segment on public radio called The Next Idea.

His new book, “The Innovation Code: The Creative Power of Constructive Conflict,” published in July 2017, shows how to harness conflicts to create something better and new. Watch a video on Jeff, The Dean of Innovation.


John DeGraff


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.

Staney DeGraff


Staney DeGraff works with clients to build collaborative innovation communities that bring diverse groups together: businesses, non-profits, education institutions, government agencies and arts organizations. Her research is focused on quantifying the commercial and social value of innovation. She has a MBA and a MS in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan. She co-wrote “The Innovation Code: The Creative Power of Constructive Conflict” with her husband, Jeff DeGraff.

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.