Gordon S. Jones, a businessman and Harvard Business School admissions officer, has been selected as the inaugural director of the Business School’s Innovation Lab in Allston and is set to take up the position on May 9.
Jones said he was “thrilled” to have been tapped as the Innovation Lab’s first director. The I-Lab—a space that will connect University affiliates from across Harvard’s schools to discuss and develop their business plans—is set to open in September.
“This is a chance to further develop entrepreneurship at Harvard,” Jones said. “The University is making a real commitment to resources and facilities to equip entrepreneurs around the University.”
University officials have in the past said that the Innovation Lab would serve as a resource to the Allston community. In a recent interview, Jones emphasized how the lab would benefit the University and said that as director he will ensure that the Innovation Lab will be particularly focused on students.
“My desire is to help as many student entrepreneurs as possible,” Jones said. “And I want to aid student entrepreneurs interested in for-profit ventures but also ones that will make an impact on the world.”
Jones, who is also an adjunct lecturer at Bentley University, has contributed to the development of many commercial products and has served as a consultant to a variety of companies and startups.
“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 B. Lassiter, HBS faculty co-chair of the Harvard Innovation Lab in a press release.
“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.”
University officials have said in the past that the Lab—which will occupy the currently vacated 125 Western Ave., a building that housed the radio station WGBH until 2007—will also provide workshops, business coaching, and other educational resources for Allston residents. Jones echoed those statements when asked about the lab’s relationship to the community.
“It’s really important that community engagement happens simultaneous to University activity at the I-Lab itself,” Jones said. “The facility itself will be a resource to the community, where student innovators and entrepreneurs who have an interest in small business can interact with neighborhood small businesses.”
The I-Lab will also offer a coffee shop and a 24/7 public meeting space.
Jones said he looked forward to developing programming at the Innovation Lab.
“It’s like we’re now holding an infant that is going to grow up and be the president some day,” Jones said.
—Staff writer Tara W. Merrigan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
—Staff writer Nathalie R. Miraval can be reached at email@example.com.