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About The Next Idea

“Innovation is about arriving at a place we’ve never been before by doing something we have never done before.”

-- Jeff DeGraff, professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and one of the world’s leading consultants on innovation

Innovation is one of those big words that can mean a lot of things. It can be revolutionary. Innovation can also mean little more than something new or different. For Michigan’s future, it means everything.

By now, we’ve all heard that innovation is crucial for any company, organization or community to grow. But what exactly makes an idea truly innovative? What does it look like in Michigan? And, perhaps most importantly, how do you make innovation happen?

The Next Idea is Michigan Radio’s new project devoted to innovation in our state. It’s a subject so vast, so varied and so important to our economic recovery that we think it deserves its own space.

Each week on this page, Michigan’s most creative and visionary leaders will share their best ideas for making innovation happen. We’ll also introduce you to new voices, engage in policy debates, and, with your help, maybe even unearth a few of the next big ideas.

Our contributors come from all corners of the state and cast a wide spectrum of expertise, hailing from corporations and academia to incubators and two-car garages. Their essays here will break down one aspect of Michigan innovation and get the conversation started. We’ll continue the discussion on Stateside with Cynthia Canty, where they’ll expand on their ideas and then turn it over to you.

We need you to tell us what you think. Ask questions and offer your expertise. What other innovations are you seeing, or not seeing? Who should we talk to next?

For more help, we’ve also partnered with one of the world’s leading experts on innovation. Jeff DeGraff is a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business who’s been dubbed by his peers and global business leaders as “The Dean of Innovation.” He’s also a native Michigander who, like the rest of us, cares deeply about this state’s future. Jeff will regularly offer his analysis and insights here, on-air, and on the forthcoming podcast.

“Innovation is about collaboration,” says DeGraff. It’s about connecting people with varied backgrounds, personalities and expertise, giving them the space to work together and seeing what happens.

With The Next Idea, Michigan Radio has dedicated this space to collaborating with you and Michigan’s brightest innovators in order to have the conversations that are essential to Michigan’s future. Please join us here and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.