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Dean Ajay Menon is the state's first Chief Innovation Officer

November 28, 2011

Gov. John Hickenlooper this week announced the Colorado Innovation Network to promote collaboration among Colorado's private, public and academic organizations.

The Colorado Innovation Network (COIN) will stimulate economic growth, help create jobs and attract new businesses by supporting innovative business activities and establishing Colorado as the best state for business. 

Roadmap for making Colorado the best state for innovation

“The Colorado Innovation Network is a roadmap for making Colorado the best state for innovation and where every road must lead to new jobs,” Hickenlooper said. “We’ll work statewide with industry leaders to build a business environment which promotes innovative practices, creates jobs and grows our economy.”

The Colorado Innovation Network’s objectives are to build a business environment to foster innovation; retain jobs and support growth in key industry clusters; pursue capital for project funding; establish Colorado’s reputation as the most innovative state; create a workforce with the right talent and job skills; and develop innovation-oriented performance metrics to demonstrate COIN’s economic growth impact.

“Colorado innovators and entrepreneurs are the catalyst for job creation and economic growth in the 21st century economy, but they can’t do it alone,” U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet said. “We need to work together – across industries, expertise and political parties – to create an economic environment in Colorado where innovation and job creation can thrive. I have no doubt COIN, which builds on the tremendous work of Coloradans for an Innovation Economy, will help ensure Colorado is a hub for innovation and economic growth for years to come.”

CSU College of Business Dean Ajay MenonAjay Menon is the state’s first Chief Innovation Officer

Ajay Menon is the state’s first Chief Innovation Officer, leading COIN to develop an eco-system in Colorado that cultivates entrepreneurial and innovative activities. Menon will volunteer 20 hours a week for the state in addition to his full-time job as Dean of the College of Business at Colorado State University.  

“We are thrilled to have Ajay Menon’s vision and experience in leading this effort,” Hickenlooper said.

“I am honored and excited to help Gov. Hickenlooper develop a statewide network that bolsters entrepreneurial and innovative activities to benefit Colorado and all its residents,” Menon said.

Colorado Innovation Network

COIN will initially be housed within the state’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Funding for COIN will come from private donors; no state money will be used. Kelly Quann will work as executive director of the Colorado Innovation Network. For more information, visit

Ajay Menon, Chief Innovation Officer

As Dean of the College of Business at Colorado State University, Ajay Menon provides strategic direction for the College of Business. His responsibilities include: providing leadership for the College of Business; developing and maintaining relationships with all external stakeholders of the College; obtaining financial resources for the College to achieve its vision for success; broad oversight of the senior management of the College.

Menon holds a Ph.D. in Marketing and has been on the Marketing Department faculty since 1991. His teaching and research expertise lie in the areas of International Marketing, New Product Development & Management and Strategic Market Planning. His research interests focus in the areas of customer loyalty, new product management and strategy implementation. He has coordinated and participated in several discussion roundtables on these and related topics at national and international forums. Menon’s research has appeared in the leading marketing and business journals. In addition, he has received several recognitions for his classroom teaching, including being named “Professor of the Year.”Menon has been a consultant to several leading companies in Colorado.

Kelly Quann, Executive Director of the Colorado Innovation Network

Kelly Quann has been developing and executing marketing, growth and innovation strategies for media, technology and non-profit organizations for more than a decade. Within Deloitte Consulting’s Strategy and Operations practice and as an informal advisor to several new ventures, Quann currently advises a diverse range of small to large companies within the media and technology industries.

Quann holds an MBA concentrated in Finance and Innovation from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, where she remains an active member of the Kellogg Innovation Network. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Marketing from New York University’s Stern School of Business, where she served as President of the Stern-Tisch Entertainment Business Association. She is also a member of the American Red Cross’s National Young Professionals Council.