BOSTON—Gordon S. Jones has been named the inaugural Director of the Harvard innovation lab, a new and innovative initiative set to launch in late 2011 that will foster team-based and entrepreneurial activities, and provide a forum, both physically and virtually, for interactions among students, faculty, alumni, and the surrounding community. Located at 125 Western Avenue in Allston, which formerly housed the WGBH-TV offices and studios, the innovation lab will complement Mayor Thomas M. Menino's Innovation agenda and help revitalize Western Avenue.
Jones, who will officially assume his duties on May 9, will serve as a key part of the lab's planning and design team, helping to define and develop programs, build relationships within and beyond campus, and create an environment that will attract and support student innovators and enhance team activity. Additionally, he will develop and manage the operations of the lab and design programs to link thought leaders together with innovation lab occupants.
In addition to 15 years of marketing and sales experience with Fortune 500, mid-sized, and startup companies in the consumer goods industry, Jones has both an impressive history of entrepreneurial activity and academic experience mentoring up-and-coming entrepreneurs. "With his extensive background helping undergraduate and graduate students, as well as his work with entrepreneurial ventures and his strong ties to Harvard University, Gordon is a superb choice for this new and important position," said Joseph Lassiter, at HBS and Faculty Co-Chair of the Harvard innovation lab. "He has the skills to build relationships between students and local entrepreneurs, create partnerships with area small business organizations, and develop a center of innovation that fully brings to life the spirit of innovation present throughout the wider University and community."
"Innovation will play a vital role in sustaining and building U.S. competitiveness in the global economy," said Jones. "I was bitten by the entrepreneurship bug at an early age and having helped launch several startups, I understand what it takes to bring a business concept from idea to fruition. I am very excited to be a part of the innovation lab and to work with local business people and the Allston community to make it a valuable resource for all."
The Harvard innovation lab is designed to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation across the University, bringing together many cross-curricular interests, including Harvard College, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School, the School for Engineering and Applied Science, the Harvard Kennedy School, and other schools. Housed in a building completely renovated to suit the needs of its users, the lab will include academic space such as classrooms and meeting areas designed to serve both undergraduate and graduate students. It will also provide public areas and meeting rooms, as well as business development resources for businesses, nonprofits, entrepreneurs, and other individuals in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood and the region.
Jones has a long history of entrepreneurial activity. Having participated in the new product development of over 12 products and providing consulting services to small and large companies, he has extensive experience working with entrepreneurs, investors, partner organizations, and other key stakeholders. He currently serves as a business advisor to numerous startups, providing them with strategic and tactical marketing and sales direction. He has also been awarded two U.S. patents.
Earlier in his career, Jones was an equity partner and head of marketing and sales for the privately-held Universal Pest Solutions. He has also served as the senior vice president of marketing and sales for American Biophysics Corporation, and has ten years of experience working with The Gillette Company in a variety of marketing, new product development, and business development positions.
Jones also brings a deep understanding of the world of education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and, most importantly, a proven commitment to mentoring the next generation of thought leaders. Since 2008, he has served as an Adjunct Lecturer at Bentley University, teaching marketing to MBA and undergraduate students. Since 2007, he has worked with the Admissions Office at Harvard Business School in evaluating applicants for admission to the MBA program. He graduated from Brown University (BA) and earned an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.