Dean of Innovation, Professor— University of Michigan
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 Leading Innovation, Innovation You, and The Innovation Code. 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 Creative Mindset, bring 6 creativity skills to everyone, will be published in September 2020.
Co-Founder, Storyteller, Fisherman
John DeGraff is an Adjunct Marketing Professor at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater and Managing Partner for the Innovatrium. John is a guerrilla-marketing and 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. He earned an MSBA from Indiana University.
CEO, Impresario, Catalyst
As a CEO of the Innovatrium, Staney works with large organizations, universities, and municipalities to create a sustainable innovation ecosystem that can grow organically and connect the dots between cutting-edge research, talent acquisition and retention, commercialization, and economic development. Her research is focused on generating CONSTRUCTIVE CONFLICTTM in teams and organizations to produce innovation and on quantifying the commercial and social value of innovation. She co-wrote The Innovation Code with her husband Jeff. They are collaborating on a new book, The Creative Mindset, to be published on September 2020. Staney has an MBA and an MS in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan.
Puzzle-Solver, Go-Getter, Trailblazer
Anuja is a third-year undergraduate at the University of Michigan, pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration at the Ross School of Business. As a Digital Marketing Intern & Fellow, Anuja leads the brand’s social media efforts, creating, planning, and revamping content to engage hundreds of thousands of followers with the Innovatrium & Jeff’s online presence. Additionally, Anuja is an e-learning administrator for the CPI Innovator and Train the Trainer programs, providing support, creating courses, and optimizing the learning management system to ensure a seamless digital experience for students in our cohorts. Outside of the office, Anuja enjoys painting, doing jigsaw puzzles, and doing Pinterest inspired DIY projects. She hopes to pursue a career in marketing or consulting upon graduation.
Graphic Designer, Sounding Board, Visual Storyteller
Maggie is a social worker and artist. Whether she is facilitating youth programs, working with individuals in therapy, or creating graphic design strategies, she loves listening to other people’s dreams and collaborating on how to bring those dreams to life. As a graphic designer for the Innovatrium, Maggie develops content and material that provides guidance for each client’s unique innovation journey. Maggie earned her BFA and MSW from the University of Michigan.
Coach, Puzzler, Possibility-seeker
Celeste was one of a handful of female aviators qualified in C-141/C-130 combat and special operations, before she became an analyst for the Joint Staff. She developed a reputation as a quick study and an aspirational, bold leader. After leaving the Air Force, she pivoted to non-traditional venues [senior military spouse/mentor; veteran homeschool teacher/coach; civic-military leader/connector], which had provided rewarding opportunities to make a measurable impact in multiple communities while continuing to hone vital soft skills. She currently functions as a coach for Project Mercury and as Innovatrium’s liaison to Air University, where she is an adjunct instructor. She also serves the veterans of Alabama through directing and connecting the AlaVetNet community.
W. Ethan Eagle
Consultant, Dot Connector, On-call Experimentalist
Ethan Eagle is a Lecturer at the University of Maryland, teaching the process of engineering design. Since 2012 he has coached over 100 managers and entrepreneurs in the Innovatrium. He helped create and still continues to teach an innovation curriculum for the University of Michigan to become a “Certified Professional Innovator.” Ethan is a published author on the topics of engineering activism and ethics and a speaker on the impact of diversity and inclusion on innovative thinking and design. Ethan earned his PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan.
Partner, Technology Evangelist, Idea Sorcerer
Jim Fish has more than 25 years of automotive, consulting, technology and startup experience and was most recently the Chief Innovation Officer at Bosch North America. Based in Detroit, he focuses on serving as a change agent for organizations, pursuing new product initiatives and creating platforms for growth while nurturing Innovation Engines. He currently holds 18 global patents, and has spent time in the Energy and Power field with DTE. He was named the Bosch Inventor of the Year for 2014. Jim earned a BSEEE in Power Engineering and BSBEA from Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan.
Executive Assistant/Office Manager, Air Traffic Controller
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 the 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.
Coach, Builder, Golfer
Bill is a coach, an innovator, and an engineer, with experience in industry, consulting, and academia. He specializes in doing more with less, aiding individuals and teams in developing critical skills to identify, nurture, and execute on the ideas and projects that underpin their success now paired with constant and unrelenting improvement to develop the skills necessary to impact their future. He has worked at the Innovatrium coaching innovation teams, researched biomedical imaging at the University of Michigan (earning a PhD), advised Professors on how to engage students and maximize learning in the University classroom, and helped develop novel clinical imaging tools in industry.
Consultant, Solutions Architect
Kristan is a consultant, marketer, and a curious lifelong learner. She spent 8 years in industry developing marketing strategies and corporate training programming before deciding to pivot into human capital consulting. Her passions for learning and development, client service, and people have enabled her to assist with building and delivering innovation trainings and solutions that are tailored to each Innovatrium clients’ unique needs. Kristan earned her BS from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and her MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.
Consultant, Development Advisor, Inventive Problem Solver
Michael Tschirhart is a consultant, educator, and speaker on topics at the intersection of creativity, technology and business. His extensive experience in helping organizations achieve their business goals includes leadership roles at Ford, Visteon, and Panasonic. Michael leads professional seminars and workshops on driving value creation with innovation practices, and has taught at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, and the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in Statistics and a PhD in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Michigan.
“Jeff DeGraff is simply brilliant. Staney is an organizational master with an innate ability to compile, develop, and distribute curriculum in an extraordinary way. Thank you to this amazing team for helping us take our organization to new heights.”
- Colonel J. William DeMarco, USAF, Retired
“Jeff DeGraff has helped Pfizer’s senior leaders advance the company’s innovation agenda by bringing deep expertise to his sessions, complemented by an engaging style and tremendously high level of energy.”
- Stephen Kontra, Director, Team Leader of Leadership Education and Development (LEAD), Global Talent Development, Pfizer, Inc.
“Jeff and Staney's ability to captivate and inspire makes the audience forget that they're learning world-class skills that will make them leaders in their organizations. ”
- Major Tony Perez, USAF
“Simply put, Jeff’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… the step by step process can likewise be unleashed to re-shape and transform the individual.”
- Clinton A. Lewis, Jr. President, U.S. Operations Pfizer Animal Health, Pfizer Inc.