Jeff DeGraff’s Innovation You 4-step process for 21st Century change

Posted August 27th @ 5:53 pm by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Jeff DeGraff’s new book, Innovation You: Four Steps to becoming New and Improved, provides a fresh approach to self-discovery and positive change while showing how to organize & write an Amazon Top 100 bestselling business book.

Whether approached as a tool for achieving personal or organizational change, or as an example of excellent content planning and organization, Innovation You and the  Innovation You website offer valuable resources for all.

About Jeff DeGraff

Jeff DeGraff is a professor at the prestigious Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan where he created one of the first MBA top-rated courses on Leading Creativity and Innovation. He’s headlined conferences for everyone from Visa and Coca-Cola to the FBI and the Telemundo on innovation in complex modern organizations.

As a thought leader, he helped develop the widely influential Competing Values Framework, one of the essential models every manager needs to know.

Organizing & writing for change

Innovation You offers a balanced, realistic perspective, in contrast to the often over-simplified “find your bliss” books on change and personal development.

Innovation You recognizes that innovation takes place in the real world, not an idealized world where only passion & preference count

Unlike many, Innovation You avoids generalizations and prescriptive solutions. Instead, of offering a universal formula for innovation and change, Innovation You provides readers with the tools they need to choose the right approach to innovation, based on their unique personality.

Innovation You recognizes that passion is not enough, but must be tempered by the realities of the  universal, communal, and personal worlds surrounding each individual.

As you can see at large size, when you click, download, and print the mind map of Innovation You, above, there are four stages, or steps, involved in creating a new approach to innovation:

  • Step 1: Rethink Innovation, and recognize “the cavalry isn’t coming”
  • Step 2: Revise Your Approach with Prismatic Thinking, acknowledging your thinking style and the realities of the world around you
  • Step 3: Run Your Experiments: approach innovation as a process, not an event
  • Step 4: See the Whole Journey, including the need for creative destruction and recognizing resistance to change

Innovation You includes 36 chapters, with chapters ranging from 4 to 14 pages–with the majority of chapters containing 6-8 pages.

The four steps, or sections, play an important role in Innovation You’s success. The trend today in bestselling business books is for multiple, short, focused chapters, organized into a handful of sections or steps.

Short, tightly-written chapters contribute to readers who gain a feeling of progress as they move forward through the book.

Today’s busy readers, exploring business and self-help books online or in bookstores, may feel overwhelmed when they encounter a book with ten or twelve 20 or 30 page chapters. But, the same contents appears easier to read when presented as numerous short chapters organized in three or four sections.

Innovation You for authors

Innovation You has numerous important implications for authors, especially authors looking for ways to build their brand in the 21st Century.

  • Chapter 4, We Grow When Our Life Sucks…Or When We’re on a Roll, is especially relevant for authors when there are pervasive concerns about job security and personal financial stability.
  • In Chapter 7, Ride What Moves, the emphasis is on maintaining a fresh perspective on new ways of doing performing familiar tasks. Many authors are still hesitant to approach self-publishing, not recognizing that trade publishing may not offer as many advantages as before.
  • Chapter 9, Think Around the Colors, is one of Innovation You’s core chapters, describing four distinct, color-coded, thinking/behavior styles and the strengths and weaknesses of each. Readers are given the tools to identify their own style, or combination of styles.
  • The 15 chapters in Section 3 also go beyond the advice given in many prescriptive, or “formulaic,” advice or self-help books. As always, the stress is not on a single universal way to achieve instant innovation and change, but on help readers choose the right approach to innovation, and apply it by taking numerous small steps–and learning from each step.

The author’s “story behind the story”

One of the best ways to understand, and benefit, from Innovation You is to read the Letter from the Author reproduced on the book’s sales page. Although the author does not play a major role in the book, (other than writing it, of course), the Letter from the Author provides a unique perspective on the background of Innovation You’s four steps. It’s a totally different type of author background story. If you’ve read the Letter from the Author, please share your impressions below, as  comments.


  1. I love your steps in innovation. it is true that innovation is very important because generation is always changing. We need to think and be creative.

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