DEAN OF INNOVATION, PROFESSOR—
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Jeff DeGraff is a respected figure in the fields of innovation and education, with a distinguished career spanning over thirty years at The Ross School of Business, University of Michigan. His impactful teaching has reached a diverse range of audiences, from BBA and MBA students to those in Executive Education programs, earning him recognition as a prominent academic speaker. DeGraff’s influence in the innovation sphere extends beyond academia; he founded the Innovatrium Institute of Innovation and created the highly regarded University of Michigan Certified Professional Innovator Program. He has provided guidance to various organizations, including notable non-profits like the American Medical Association, PBS, and the United States Air Force, assisting them in cultivating effective innovation leadership strategies. In the corporate realm, he has collaborated with industry giants such as Apple, Coca-Cola, Google, Microsoft, and Toyota, sharing his expertise to promote innovation, creativity, and transformative change within these enterprises. His insights have been captured in popular books like “The Creative Mindset” and “The Innovation Code,” contributing to the global conversation on creativity and change. As a much sought-after speaker, DeGraff has been featured in national broadcasts and delivered a thought-provoking TEDMED Talk at the Kennedy Center, establishing his position as a guiding voice in the realm of innovation.
DIRECTOR OF PROJECT MERCURY
Jim Dryjanski, Col, USAF (Ret) is a Professor of Leadership Studies at Air University and the Director of Project Mercury. A former command pilot with over 3,900 flight hours in a variety of mobility aircraft, Jim previously served as the Commandant of Air Command and Staff College, Commander of the Barnes Center for Enlisted Education, Wing Commander of the 314th Airlift Wing, and deployed group command. His staff tours included Air Education and Training Command, U.S. Tansportation Command, and the Office of the Under Secretary of the Air Force. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Naval War College, the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, and previously taught at the National War College. Jim is a leadership consultant for the State of Alabama and is pursuing a PhD in Global Leadership through Troy University. He and his wife have six boisterous children.
W. ETHAN EAGLE
HEAD COACH OF PROJECT MERCURY
Ethan Eagle is an affiliate at the Advanced Research Lab for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS) at the University of Maryland. 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.