David Schonthal

Clinical Associate Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Kellogg School of Management


Kellogg School of Management

David Schonthal is a Clinical Associate Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, where he teaches courses in new venture creation, design thinking, innovation and creativity. He also serves as the faculty director of Kellogg's Zell Fellows Program, a selective venture accelerator program designed to help student entrepreneurs successfully launch new businesses.

Outside of Kellogg, David is a portfolio director and business designer at IDEO, an award-winning innovation consultancy, where he helps companies design new business models and creative paths for products and services to get to market.  David has also developed initiatives such as the IDEO's Startup-in-Residence program, as well as other offers and approaches around venture design and corporate entrepreneurship.

Previously, David spent nearly a decade in the venture capital and start-up world as a partner at Fusion Ventures and director of strategy and venture development for Tavistock Life Sciences, both based in San Diego, California.  He has also held numerous senior operating roles at startups in the technology and life sciences sectors.

David is a co-founder of MATTER, a 25,000-square-foot innovation center in downtown Chicago focused on catalyzing and supporting healthcare entrepreneurship, and serves as a member of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's technology, innovation and entrepreneurship council, ChicagoNext. He is a contributing writer to Forbes, Inc., and Fortune Magazine, authoring articles on corporate entrepreneurship, innovation and business design.  David has received several honors for his work, including a Kellogg Faculty Impact Award for excellence in teaching, as well as being named to Crain's Chicago Business magazine's "40 Under 40" list and the "Techweek 100."

David earned his MBA from The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and his BA in International Relations from Boston University.

If all else fails, David's Plan B is to use his booming baritone to break into the lucrative voiceover world.


  • MBA, 2009, General Management, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
  • Bachelors of Art, 1999, International Relations, Boston University, Boston University, Magna Cum Laude

Academic Positions

  • Clinical Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2016-present
  • Visting Professor, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2015-present
  • Clinical Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2013-2016
  • Faculty Director of the Zell Fellows Program, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2016-present
  • Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Northwestern University, 2011-2012
  • Adjunct Lecturer of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2013-2013

Professional Experience

  • Operating Partner, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, 2018-present
  • Senior Director, IDEO, 2011-present
  • Co-Founder and Board Member, MATTER, 2013-present
  • Council Member, ChicagoNext, 2012-2019
  • Partner, Fusion Ventures, 2010-2014
  • Director, Strategy and Venture Development, The Tavistock Group, 2005-2010
  • Chief Operating Officer, Iapyx Medical, 2005-2008
  • Entrepreneur in-Residence, CONNECT, 2009-2015
  • Manager, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, LLP, 2004-2005
  • Senior Consultant, Deloitte, LLP, 2002-2004
  • Senior Consultant, Arthur Andersen, LLP, 1999-2002
  • Product Manager, Arthur Andersen, LLP, 1999-2002


  • EMBA Outstanding Professor Award, 2019-2020, 2019-2020
  • Outstanding Professor, Elective Course, EMBA 115, 2019-2020
  • Kellogg Impact, Award, a student initiated award that recognizes excellence in the classroom
  • EMBA Outstanding Professor Award, 2017-2018, Kellogg School of Management, 2018-2019


Courses Taught

Read about executive education


Thompson, Leigh and David Schonthal. 2017. "Setting the stage for creativity: upstream, midstream, and downstream." In Strategy and communication for innovation, edited by Pheffermann, N. and Gould, J., 17-27. Springer, 3rd.

The most common question we get as researchers and practitioners is: how to instigate creativity in teams and organizations? Some managers are focused downstream, on the development of a product; others are focused upstream—such as how to start thinking big. However, managers often forget about the mid-stream process. In this chapter, we combine insights from scientific research with actual examples and case studies to identify specific stage-setting processes that leaders and managers need to take in order to keep the raft moving through the mid-stream rapids and get downstream, and finally ashore. We point out the key challenges at each point in the creative river and how to leverage the talents of the team and organization.

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