Innovation Expert Jeff DeGraff on Building a Better YOU

Make innovation a study and you inevitably will run into one name: Jeff DeGraff.  Dr. DeGraff is a professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.  He’s been called the Dean of Innovation.  Before moving to Nashville, I lived in Ann Arbor and had the opportunity to meet him and see him in action.  Jeff has worked with some of the biggest global corporations including Apple, Visa, GE, Coca-Cola, and Johnson & Johnson.

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Jeff when I visited the University of Michigan.  He has created an innovation laboratory called the Innovatrium.

Don’t Let a Pocket Veto Destroy Your Meeting

Image courtesy of istockphoto/burwellphotgraphy

Have you ever heard of a pocket veto?

It’s when Congress passes a bill, but the president does not sign it within ten days after Congress adjourns.  Effectively, it means that the bill is dead.  After all the committee meetings, the bill is passed in the House of Representatives and then the Senate, but the bill does not become law.

The president can sign bills into law or he can veto them.  He can also use the political maneuver of a pocket veto and do nothing.

My version of a pocket veto is different.  It happens in organizations.

Jonah Lehrer on Boosting Creativity

IMPORTANT UPDATE

NOTE:  Sadly, in July 2012, Jonah Lehrer resigned from The New Yorker and Wired after accusations of plagiarism and making up quotes.  The book Imagine was pulled from bookstore shelves and thus is not available.

One of my favorite thought leaders is Jonah Lehrer.  He’s a Contributing Editor at Wired, writes frequently for The New Yorker and Radiolab, and I never miss his “Head Case” column in The Wall Street Journal.  His book How We Decide was an instant bestseller.  On a plane the other day, I struck up a conversation with someone engrossed in his first book, Proust Was a Neuroscientist.  My seatmate was sold on getting his newest book, Imagine: How Creativity Works, as soon as he could get his hands on it.

 Recently, Jonah answered a few questions about creativity and innovation.

The Prolific Walter Mosley

Walter Mosley has written more than 34 acclaimed books, including the bestselling mystery series starring Easy Rawlins of Devil in a Blue Dress fame. Throughout his career, he’s also been the recipient of numerous awards, including an O. Henry Award, a Grammy, and PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. His work has been seen on the page, on the big screen, on the theater stage and soon on the small screen (He’s teaming up with Jonathan Demme to co-write a pilot for HBO based on his newest private eye, Leonid McGill). I caught up with Walter when he was visiting Nashville to promote the paperback publication of The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey.

The Last Handwritten Letter

A Fading Art

The other day I wrote about the power of the handwritten note.  It’s a fading art.  In a growing digital universe, it’s rare to receive a scripted letter any more.  (As a tip for marketers or for anyone who craves differentiation, it’s a great way to stand out.)

Generations from now, what will be left of our writing?  I’m not sure.  I’ve had friends unexpectedly pass away and wished I still had some of the emails that were routinely deleted.  You could argue that today’s technology will ensure the endurance of the written word.  That’s also true.  With the ease of copying files and digital lockers, we won’t likely lose a manuscript to history.  Perhaps the casual email and note, which at the time seems insignificant, is in a different category.  I think much of what appears mundane at the time will be lost.