September 25, 2009

King named director of Center for Innovation

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Maryon F. King is the recently appointed director of the Center for Innovation at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

She’s actually been interim director since May 2007 and has been a member of the University’s marketing department faculty since January 1988. Currently an associate professor, she was formerly an assistant professor and an instructor at SIUC. King’s professional experience also includes about three years as lecturer and three years as associate instructor at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. She also previously owned an H & R Block business in Machias, Maine.

Marketing management, product innovation, entrepreneurship and new product development are primary teaching and study interests for King, all of which mesh quite well with her work leading the Center for Innovation, she said.

“As a unit of the College of Business at SIUC, the Center for Innovation was created to bring together talented individuals from across the University and business communities to collaborate on commercialization of new technologies. These interdisciplinary partnerships help facilitate three goals: an educational opportunity for SIUC students to participate in interdisciplinary projects, an opportunity for faculty to move toward commercialization of their cutting-edge research and facilitation of regional economic growth and development,” said King.

The Center partners with the Office of Research Development and Administration/Technology Transfer, the Southern Illinois Research Park, the Illinois Small Business Development Center, the Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center, the Small Business Incubator, the colleges of science and engineering, the School of Law and of the School of Art and Design.

“The Center for Innovation represents the future of higher education,” she added. “In ‘real world’ settings, creative activities aimed at developing innovative products and processes require the collaborative efforts of multi-disciplinary groups. For example, taking an idea and developing it into a new, beneficial product requires the integrated efforts of industrial designers, engineers, business experts and others to bring it to market. We can no longer educate students in individual disciplines or ‘silos.” Instead, we must instill them with an appreciation for the value of contributions made by team members from other academic areas. And it is paramount to teach them the critical skills they need to interact successfully in such groups.”

The Center for Innovation opened four years ago bringing together inventors, faculty with good ideas and concepts, students who gain real-world experience, and the vehicle that takes those ideas and makes them marketable products. For instance, King said a professor might have an idea for a product, procedure or technology. The Center and its partners can help develop and commercialize it, even helping secure corporate funding to help with development and marketing. Students are an integral part of the process too, acquiring not only training but being able to utilize that training to assist actual clients at the center.

King earned her bachelor of science in 1974 and her MBA in 1981 at the University of Maine. She holds a doctorate in marketing, completed in 1989, from Indiana University. King has amassed a number of honors for her teaching including the College of Business Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher of the Year in 1999 and the Top Twenty SIUC Professors from Undergraduate Student Government in 1994. She also taught marketing management in Taipei, Taiwan.

Joining King at the Center for Innovation is Jenni Janssen as assistant director. Janssen, a Mattoon native, is a double alumna of SIUC. She earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing in 2006 and her MBA in 2007. She also acquired her master’s in international business studying at Ecole De Management in Grenoble, France, August 2007-July 2008. She joined the Center staff shortly after her return to the U.S.

King said Janssen is a vital part of the Center as she manages the staff and has primary responsibility for organizing the Center’s projects.

“Since she joined the Center, we have grown exponentially. We couldn’t accomplish everything we do without her,” King said.

For more information about the Center for Innovation, call 618/453-7778 or email