The Creative Mindset – Mastering the Six Skills that Empower Innovation

–Review of the Book by Jeff DeGraff and Staney DeGraff

From the first sentence in this book, I was in. “Do we really need another book about creativity?” Well, apparently so, because the DeGraff’s invested a whole lot of time, talent, and innovative energy in developing, testing, implementing and writing this treasure of a book.  First, let me say my favorite things about this book were the stories of how real people become industrious innovators by mastering a creative mindset. I find this quote fascinating because I realize the profound truth behind it. Heroes of imagination, “…modest, resourceful people who, through small yet brilliant moves, transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. Who wouldn’t want to learn how to do that?

Here – these focus words comprise the techniques authors Jeff DeGraff and Staney DeGraff promote, explain, and use to teach readers to develop a creative mindset and make habits out of a variety of practices.  Clarify, Replicate, Elaborate, Associate, Translate, Evaluate

I thought I knew what each of those words meant in the context of creative projects until I read the chapters. There is substance behind every one of those words; for example: ELABORATE Everyone who knows English understands that elaborate means to expand beyond what is original or intentional. Did you know there is a powerful practice called SCAMPER that can dynamically improve on the elaboration of ideas? If you remember 1942 you might also know about this technique introduced by Alex Osborn. I don’t remember 1942 or Alex Osborn, but thanks to this book I now have a tool in my problem-solving kit that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

SCAMPER teaches you to mobilize ideas and produce a variety of useful possibilities by asking six questions. What can we:  Substitute? Combine? Adapt? Modify (or Magnify)? Put to other uses? Eliminate? Reverse (or Rearrange)?

Every chapter of this book has solid takeaways to bring ideas into your organization and to build creativity into your processes to make them innovative than they are today. One other chapter that has definite implications is titled Translate. We understand best, we learn most when we understand the vision and internalize the purpose of a project, an initiative, an enterprise. To do this we have to be able to translate the narrative in relatable, relevant terms. This is the power of story, the foundation of TRANSLATE. Behind every organization, every project, every team is a story.

Successful innovators are masters of the TRANSLATE skill. Their ideas and visions become recognizable stories that inspire, attract, and unify others.

This book is a must-have for anyone who needs to attract, inspire and unify others.

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Jane Anderson
Jane Andersonhttp://refininggrace.com/
JANE’s professional experience is scattered across industries from financial services and insurance to engineering and manufacturing. Jane sees her background in writing and editing website content as the foundation to her current love of social media. Being an avid reader, meticulous note taker and lifelong learner has fostered her natural pursuit of sharing her world through writing. Reading books and summarizing content started as a hobby and has since grown to be a major part of her vocational experience. Jane says, “Authors pour their heart and soul into writing their book. When I write a review, it’s with intent to celebrate the book and promote the author.” Jane claims to be 'the best follower you'll ever want to meet' and has been repeatedly called servant leader, eternal cheerleader, social media evangelist, and inspirational go-to person. Jane is a contributing author to the inspiring book Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational Change.


  1. Thank you, Frank, for reading about this book and taking time to comment. I had never heard of SCAMPER until reading the book, but having been a project leader, I was fascinated by how effective it seems to be.

    My favorite part of brainstorming is asking what if and what else? I can’t imagine progress on anything without those questions.

  2. I love what you wrote about SCAMPER. SCAMPER teaches you to mobilize ideas and produce a variety of useful possibilities by asking six questions. What can we: Substitute? Combine? Adapt? Modify (or Magnify)? Put to other uses? Eliminate? Reverse (or Rearrange)?

    I work with a number of creative and innovative people and the first question they always ask is “What If?” This starts the SCAMPER questions, and creates radical collaboration that leads to break through innovations.