This fall, third-generation University of Maine alumnus Doug Hall took a sabbatical from his job as CEO of Eureka! Ranch, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, and took up residency at his alma mater. His mission: Help make Maine the No. 1 state in the nation for innovation-driven economic development. (Currently, Maine is ranked 28th by the Kauffman Foundation.) Since August, Hall has been teaching three of UMaine’s courses in Innovation Engineering®, a new program he helped launch in 2005 at UMaine’s Bion and Dorain Foster Student Innovation Center. The Innovation Engineering course offerings, open to all students interested in learning a systematic approach to creativity, are designed to help develop, refine, communicate and successfully implement new ideas. Hall calls Innovation Engineering “the career accelerator,” emphasizing to UMaine students that, no matter their degree, career or passion, they can learn to create, communicate and commercialize meaningfully unique ideas. And as if teaching capacity-enrollment undergraduate and graduate courses weren’t enough this semester, Hall has been making public appearances statewide, championing the importance of innovation as a catalyst for economic development. By mid-semester, he also was in Washington, D.C., where the talk was about helping companies leverage innovation, and the potential of students steeped in a “whole-brain approach” to engineer innovation, starting with six new internships funded by the Department of Commerce and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. We asked Doug Hall to talk about his vision of innovation-driven economic development, and where UMaine fits into that picture.