Inside LaunchStreet Jeff DeGraff

How Identifying Your Innovation Code Can Help You Innovate in the Right Way and at the Right Time

Jeff DeGraff knows what makes you innovative — it’s in the code.

He is the author of The Innovation Code: The Creative Power of Constructive Conflict, and a leader and teacher of innovation. He chatted with me on Inside LaunchStreet for a discussion on the four types of innovation approaches, why so many leaders give lip service to innovation, and how conflict fosters great ideas.

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Key Takeaways:

[1:12] Why do leaders often have an “empty playbook” when it comes to innovations?

[3:52] Jeff explains how you can maintain equilibrium versus being deviant. It’s important to remember that one size doesn’t fit all in innovation; it’s highly situational.  Tamara compares this to a teeter-totter analogy. Listen in to learn how you can successfully balance the teeter-totter.

[6:53] Tamara believes that radical innovation often gets thrown under the bus. Jeff believes that the problem isn’t failure, the problem is success. The issue is believing in what you’re actually getting back from the market. Innovation gets squashed in the teeter-totter going from the innovation end to the optimization end.

[9:08] How can the innovation code bust down the innovation brick wall? Innovation rule is the 20/80 rule. Imagine a bell curve and imagine when do you really change? People change when they have to. Innovation happens from the outside in. Innovation is about conflict.

[10:55] In Jeff’s book, The Innovation Code, he explains that innovation happens when conflict/contrast is introduced. The death of innovation is apathy. It’s important to understand that diversity is not a democratic process, everybody’s voice doesn’t count the same. Learn about the positive hum of generative energy.

[13:42] Good (smart) conflict isn’t about personalities, it’s about ideas. Recognize that the debate is about the idea, not the personality.

[15:18] Tamara shares a personal story regarding avoiding conflict when she worked with a beverage company. Jeff believes you don’t have to avoid safe spaces and trigger words. You don’t have to agree with people. Social media is driving this belief that fosters monological thinking.

[17:21] Jeff suggests that if you’re engaged in a conflict, you need move the idea away from the personality and generate ideas in ways that people don’t feel threatened. The object is to make people see their blind spots. Constructive conflict is your idea about something. A powerful question to ask is, “But, have you thought about this?”

[18:24] Listen in to learn the million dollar question to ask after introducing a new idea.

[19:29] How do leaders move the team forward? Jeff suggest that you partner people with their opposites, and ask them for hybrid ideas. Then, work backwards and look at the causes of the outcome.

[21:56] Jeff expounds on two of his worldview personalities: Artsy and Engineer.

Think of Lennon vs. McCartney. Innovation is not born from freedom. It’s born from constraints.

[26:26] Tamara shares that these opposite pairs must share a common thread that propels them forward to success.

[27:17] Jeff continues to share his worldview personalities of Athlete and Sage.

[29:50] Your dominant worldview is your strength but also your weakness. You have to learn how to live with it, incorporate it.

[31:42] How can I use the worldviews to help me innovate? Make people aware, without belittling them, when they are in the negative zone and then walk them out of the zone.

[33:32] Jeff explains which worldview personality fits best into different phases of innovation. All four types need to be represented in all four phases.

[35:54] How can organizations avoid assigning innovation to the “special shirt” team? What playbook is successful?

[38:24] Jeff challenges listeners to think that innovation requires generative energy. Energy is created when you surround yourself with people that don’t believe what you do. He also challenges them to dive into conflict.

[40:34] The whole process of being a leader is making sense of things. Strong leadership can pinpoint insights. Jeff feels like the biggest thing that’s currently changing are social issues. First: Starting in 2014, over half of the births born to women under the age of 30 are outside of marriage. Second, people want to work for themselves. And, third, the fastest growing religion of people under 30 is atheism.

[42:46] Tamara shares an experience while on vacation that shows just how much purchase behavior has evolved with the generations.

[44:18] Connect with Jeff at, and watch his Jeff-ism videos. Buy his book, The Innovation Code, and take a free assessment to determine what worldview personality you are.

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