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Three faculty members certified as Marshall University’s inaugural Innovation Catalysts  

Three faculty members
Marshall University’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (iCenter) has named three faculty members, Kacy Lovelace, Sarah Mollette and Dr. Laura Stapleton, as the university’s first Innovation Catalysts.  

The Marshall University Innovation Catalyst (MUIC) program is a first-of-its-kind program in higher education aimed at training the education community in design thinking, an approach to solving complex, human-centered problems. The goal of the innovation catalyst program is to advance Marshall for All, Marshall Forever’s strategic priorities of improving student achievement, affordability and flexibility, as well as ultimately become the most agile institution in higher education in terms of responding to students’ changing needs. 

The MUIC Program offers four levels of training, three of which are aimed at faculty and staff and one tailored to administrative leaders. During the spring semester of 2024, Lovelace, an assistant professor and research student success librarian, Mollette, an associate professor and research and online learning librarian, along with Stapleton, assistant professor of mathematics, engaged in intensive training at the highest level, known as Innovation Catalyst training.  

The MUIC program is modeled after the Innovation Catalyst program at Intuit, a leading financial technology firm that is widely recognized as one of the most innovative organizations in the world. Marshall’s Innovation Catalyst trainees learn Intuit’s specific version of design thinking known as Design for Delight (D4D). 

“Congratulations to our esteemed faculty members for their remarkable achievement in completing the inaugural Innovation Catalyst Program,” said Marshall University Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Avinandan “Avi” Mukherjee.  “Their dedication, creativity and commitment to advancing Marshall’s academic and research excellence are truly inspiring.  They have set a high standard and are leading the way in fostering a culture of innovation at our university. Well done!”

Innovation Catalysts receive approved time from their supervisors to engage in the training and training materials and resources. The spring 2024 training will officially conclude with a trip to Silicon Valley and Intuit in Mountain View, California, to share learnings and best practices with its Innovation Catalysts. 

To learn more about the Innovation Catalyst program or design thinking, contact


Additional quotes from participants:

“As a Research and Instruction Librarian, I am used to solving complex, human-centric problems, but have often found that the complicated, labyrinthine nature of these types of problems can lead to overthinking, overlooking relevant details, and getting bogged down in those that aren’t at the heart of the issue and don’t move us easily toward possible solutions. My recent experiences with D4D, as part of the MU Department Chairs Leadership Academy, were productive and fun, and led to creative, new ways of examining a relevant issue that our libraries are facing, so when I learned about the Innovation Catalyst pilot program, I knew that it would provide an extensive exploration of these powerful tools of innovation. My expectations were exceeded in every way. During my time in the Innovation Catalyst program, I learned how to scope out problems that were ripe with potential for solving in a myriad of delightful ways. I learned how to choose and facilitate a team where individual strengths could shine, using unique tools that lead to intense collaboration, quick-paced innovation, and an abundance of new ideas.” – Kacy Lovelace

“The Innovation Catalyst experience via the iCenter transformed the concept of “professional development” (an often loaded, and sometimes dubious, term) into an immersive, holistic, and charming experience. Not only did I learn how to think about problem solving in a fresh and detailed way, but I did so with the iCenter Team’s patient and skilled safety net. The relationships I built during the training (with the iCenter; with my fellow cohort members; and, with my own college), as well as the knowledge I gained, will have lasting positive effects on my personal and professional life.” – Sarah Mollette

“In a training, Dr. Ben Eng [from the iCenter] once wisely said, ‘You’ve got to love the problem.’ This resonated deeply with me because it underscored the critical role of problem identification and understanding.  Rather than avoiding challenges, we must wholeheartedly embrace them, recognizing that true solutions emerge from a thorough grasp of the underlying issues.  As facilitators of the Design for Delight (D4D) process, our mission is clear: guide our department and others at Marshall University through the D4D journey-understanding the problem, ideating solutions, and rigorously testing scrappy prototypes.  Whether the problem is big or small, the D4D tools form a versatile toolbox, where each tool holds intrinsic value.  As facilitators, we can empower our university and community by sharing the availability and utility of these components whenever the need arises.” – Dr. Laura Stapleton

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