Dean received his Ph.D. in Strategic Management from the Carlson School at the University of Minnesota, an M.B.A. from the University of Montana, and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. He is currently the Herbert and Agnes Schulz Professor of Management at Valparaiso University in Northwest Indiana.

The Idea-Driven Organization
March 2014 • Dean M Schroeder & Alan G. Robinson

In The Idea-Driven Organization, Robinson and Schroeder argue that the employees who interact directly with your customers, make your products, and provide your services, are in the best position to see where problems exist and what improvements and new offerings would have the most impact.

Drawing on their work with companies worldwide, they show what’s needed to put together a management team open to grassroots innovation; describing the strategies, policies, and practices that encourage – and those that discourage – employee ideas.

Discover exactly how high-performing idea processes work and how to design one customized for your organization – including advice for teaching people how to come up with new ideas. The best ideas may come from the bottom, but they have to be systematically solicited from the top.

Ideas Are Free
January 2006 • Dean M. Schroeder & Alan G. Robinson

A worker in one of Europe’s largest wireless communication companies showed his manager how to repair an error that was costing the company $30 million per year. A secretary at Grapevine Canyon Ranch proposed a simple change to pull the company’s website to the top of search engines.

These are just two of many examples in Ideas Are Free that highlight the single best resource in a company – those front-line employees who can see those telling little details that escape managers.

Based on extensive research with hundreds of companies around the world and in every major field, this practical book shows how to draw the most useful ideas from front-line employees and, in the process, significantly improve the atmosphere–and success quotient–of any organization.

Sma Idéer – Stora Resultat (Swedish)
May 2010 • Dean M Schroeder , Alan G Robinson & Louise Östberg

Knowing how to promote and manage large amounts of ideas from their employees is essential to become a successful manager and leader. An average Swedish company gets only one idea per employee every two years. The best organizations in Sweden and the world get – and use – more than 50 ideas per person per year. It is not surprising that these companies perform better than their competitors.

Based on an in depth study of over 40 Swedish organizations, supplemented by the authors’ research in hundreds of companies worldwide, this book shows what it takes to set up and manage improvement processes. The book is aimed at managers and leaders at all levels in all types of businesses that are interested in improving performance and competitiveness by taking advantage of the power of everyone’s ideas.


Oliver Winery and the Recipe for Values-Based Leadership: People, Product and Place
Green is Free: Creating sustainable competitive advantage through green excellence
The Role of Front-Line Ideas in Lean Performance Improvement
Greener and Cheaper – The conventional wisdom is that a company’s costs rise as its environmental impact falls (Think again)
America’s Most Successful Export to Japan: The Continuous Improvement Program
Green Lean: Achieving Outstanding Environmental Performance with Lean (VIDEO)