Financial Poise

James Conley

James Conley serves on the faculty of both the Kellogg School of Management and the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University. He is a faculty contributor in the Kellogg Center for Research in Technology & Innovation and serves as a Faculty Fellow at the Segal Design Institute (NU IDEA). At Present, he is also serving as a Visiting Professor in the chair of technology and innovation management at the WHU in Germany.Beyond Northwestern, he served as an appointed member on the United States Department of Commerce Trademark Public Advisory Committee to the Patent and Trademark Office and is a Charter Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.
His research investigates the strategic use of intangible assets and intellectual properties to build and sustain competitive advantage. Research sponsors include the National Science Foundation, NASA, FAA, NIST, the Department of Defense, Motorola, Daimler-Chrysler, the OECD and others.

Professor Conley teaches courses on Innovation Process Management, Intellectual Capital Management, and other related subjects to both graduate student and executive education audiences. Beyond Kellogg and Northwestern, he serves on the visiting faculty of Kellogg partner institutions such as the Otto Beisheim Graduate School of Management at the WHU in GERMANY, the Schulich School of Business at York University in CANADA, and at the Keio University Business School in JAPAN.

In both 2004 and 2007, he received the Professor of the Year award from the Master of Product Development program at Northwestern University.

He served as the General Electric Foundation Professor and the Pentair-Nugent Professor of Manufacturing and Business Leadership from 1994 to 2000. Additionally, his publications have been recognized with “Best Paper” commendations from the American Foundry Society, the Society of Automotive Engineers, The Rapid Prototyping Journal and others. Mainstream outlets for his scholarship include the Wall Street Journal and Sloan Management Review.

Professor Conley’s scholarship is informed by professional practice. In 1994, he founded Syndia Corporation together with the late Jerome Lemelson and entrepreneur Roger Hickey. In addition to being an inventor (7 issued US patents and others pending), Conley through Syndia has grown and acquired a portfolio of intellectual properties that Syndia licenses to many entities in Asia, North America and Europe. Additionally, he served as a Principal at Chicago Partners, LLC.

Before joining Northwestern in 1994, he spent seven years at the Ryobi Limited Group of companies in JAPAN with management responsibility in product engineering and product development. There, he led substantial Ryobi product innovation programs for both automotive and consumer durable products. He is conversational in the Japanese language.

He is happily married to his kindergarten classmate Sally and they have 5 children.


MBA, 1992, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

PhD, 1987, Materials Engineering, Northwestern University

BS, 1983, Nuclear Engineering, University of Virginia


Academic Positions

Faculty Member, Kellogg International Executive MBA Programs, Otto Recanati IEMBA/HTMS Programs, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2001-present

Faculty Member, Kellogg International Executive MBA Programs, Schulich School, York University, Toronto, Canada, 2001-present

Clinical Professor, Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences, Center for Research in Technology & Innovation, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2000-present

Faculty Member, Mechanical Engineering, Segal Design Institute, McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, Northwestern University, 1994-present

Visiting Professor, Management, Otto Beisheim Graduate School of Management, WHU, 2008-2011