Gov. John Hickenlooper announced the latest spinoff from his Blueprint Colorado economic development plan on Monday — a network of public, private and academic interests promoting innovation in the state.

The Colorado Innovation Network, COIN, represents an effort to fulfill the Blueprint's sixth goal of cultivating technology and innovation in the state.

"We'll work statewide with industry leaders to build a business environment which promotes innovative practices, creates jobs and grows our economy," Hickenlooper said in a statement.

Ajay Menon, dean of Colorado State University's College of Business, will volunteer 20 hours a week as the state's chief innovation officer overseeing the network.

Kelly Quann, an adviser atDeloitte Consulting's strategy and operations practice, started three weeks ago as COIN's full-time executive director.

Quann, who is working on Deloitte's dime, acknowledges that innovation can at times be an overused buzzword.

COIN defines innovation as "the act of discovering and applying new approaches and solutions to create value."

"It is not just new product development or curing cancer or finding a new form of energy," she said.

Innovation can apply to old as well as emerging industries. One of COIN's goals is to help revitalize manufacturing in the state, she said.

Previous efforts to foster innovation have typically focused on technology, including former Gov. Bill Ritter's Innovation Council, formed four years ago.

COIN plans to run lean on private funds from corporate sponsors, Quann said.

Although currently based with the state's Office of Economic Development and International Trade, COIN plans to move into space at Plug and Play Colorado, entrepreneur Vic Ahmed's business incubator in the Denver Tech Center.

An advisory board representing eight to 12 universities in the state is also being put together to guide the network.

Graduate fellows will measure the state's performance on various innovation measures to see if the network's efforts are paying off in a tangible way, Quann said.

She added COIN's intent is to last for the long haul, across various administrations.

Aldo Svaldi: 303-954-1410,asvaldi@denverpost.comor