Director's Message

Message From Duke I&E Director Jon Fjeld


There’s never been a more important time for innovation. The world faces complex social, health, and environmental challenges, and we know Duke students, faculty, staff, and alumni can help solve these challenges with innovation and entrepreneurial action.

President Price has called on us to empower the brightest and boldest thinkers to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. At Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship, we see our role in this mission as two-fold: to support the university in educating the next generation of entrepreneurial change-makers, and to help develop and deliver Duke innovations to society for maximum impact.

Duke has a rich history of benefiting society with our inventions and research. Our faculty innovators and our graduates have founded companies and developed products that revolutionized the landscape in health care, business, technology, engineering, and beyond.

We believe that entrepreneurial action is for everyone, not just for those who want to start a company or invent a product. Developing an entrepreneurial mindset is useful to students regardless of their course of study or their plans for the future. With education in entrepreneurship and innovation, students become more critical observers and more creative, able to generate novel solutions to difficult problems. They become oriented towards action: disciplined, collaborative, and resourceful. They become more likely—and better able—to effect change.

A core belief underlying our efforts is that entrepreneurial action is ethical action. Essential to the  entrepreneurial mindset is the orientation to create positive change. We strive for our innovators to be critical thinkers, continually reflecting on their values and evaluating the consequences of their actions.

With exciting innovation happening all over Duke, I&E works in service of the entire University community both to leverage existing programming and resources and to create new, innovative programming. The University’s innovation system offers educational opportunities inside and outside the classroom; resources ranging from funding to legal counsel; mentorship for founders, social innovators, artists, and everyone in between; intellectual leadership on the latest in entrepreneurial education; and a vibrant, collaborative community.

At every stage of the innovation journey—from discovery, to development, to delivery—we are more successful and more impactful together. We are constantly challenging ourselves to be bold, creative, and collaborative in our vision for serving Duke, Durham, and the world.

We hope you will join us.


Jon Fjeld

Director, Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship