Born out of the Intuit Design for Delight Innovating for Impact Challenge, the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (iCenter) was founded in 2018 to promote innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the state of West Virginia and the Appalachian Region.
In March 2017, teams from seven of Marshall's colleges were taught Design for Delight (D4D), Intuit's customer-driven innovation approach, by the company's top Innovation Catalysts. Teams were challenged with applying these innovation techniques to three specific challenges facing West Virginia: education for youth, substance use disorder, and technology.
In April, the seven teams went on to present their ideas to a panel of celebrity coaches in the style of the popular reality TV show "Shark Tank." The celebrity coaches were Marshall alumnus Brad D. Smith, former Intuit CEO and current President of Marshall University, Marshall and NFL football legend Chad Pennington, and actress, producer, and philanthropist Jennifer Garner.
The result of the Innovating for Impact Challenge was clear - design thinking had arrived at Marshall University. As the organizing team from Intuit and the Brad D. Smith Schools of Business reflected upon the 2017 competition, a key insight was made: the true purpose of the competition wasn’t to hold an annual competition, but instead, to be the spark that spread design thinking and the secrets of the Silicon Valley throughout all of West Virginia and Appalachia. With that mission of reframing the economic future of the state and region in mind, the iCenter was created.