White House Budget Threatens Research & Innovation

WhitehousePresident Trump positions drastic cuts to Federal budgets that support innovation and research.  This has raised concern nationwide as government, university, and private sector voice objections to cuts.   Most critics are saying that innovation is central to the health and continued prosperity of the American economy.   While this story is just breaking,  federal budget announcements are now under critical scrutiny as many of today’s leading companies, programs, and regions rely on federal dollars to spur innovation.

Prince Keyboardist, Morris Hayes

World Symphony for Peace

I was fortunate to be invited to a private event this weekend that featured a new global documentary called the World Symphony for Peace.   This documentary has been launched by a close-knit group of music industry professional from the Minneapolis region and explores the power of music to cross-culture and promote collaboration.   The documentary follows Morris Hayes,  keyboardist for Prince, on his world tour of connecting and composing with musicians all around the world.   The evening was hosted at the offices of a local digital consulting agency and gathered an intimate audience for the live performance featuring stories and music that will appear in the documentary.   Morris opened the performance with both original compositions and some songs he had performed with Prince.  During the break between each song, Morris would provide stories about his life,  early bands, and how he met Prince and eventually became a part of his band.    The show also featured some guest performances from fellow musicians and youth performances from friends.   As the evening continued we were treated to images and stories of travels and collaborations with other musicians around the world and live performances of the, yet to be released, tracks that will be in the documentary movie and album. The music was rich and innovative as it was a product of people that came from different cultures,  languages, generations, and musical styles.  These original compositions demonstrated the potential of what could be created and the power of music unite peoples.   I look forward to following the continued work on this documentary as their tour continues to other destinations around the globe and the eventual release of the movie and album.   This is a very innovate project in terms of what they are creating and the approach they are taking to connect people from around the world.  This story is also a great case study of innovation and pivoting after an unexpected disruption.   With the passing of the artist Prince, his band members had to choose a new path forward and re-invent themselves.   How would they continue in not only their careers but in the contribution they would continue to make to the world.
To learn more about the documentary visit: https://www.facebook.com/pg/tuneintopeace/posts/


See event photos in the Gallery


NE, AZ, MT Increase State Innovation Budgets

United-States-Map-2State legislatures take proactive steps to spur innovation in their regions.   Governors lead the way in signing budgets that support a future vision of their state’s goals and building a foundation of assets for prosperity.

Nebraska: Governor Pete Ricketts

  • $2M for a small business investment microloans for small company growth and entrepreneurship.
  • The University of Nebraska budget of near $12K research.
  • $4M per year for grants up to $500,000 each to small businesses to drive the commercialization of new processes or products.

Arizona:  Governor Doug Ducey

  • $3M in new investments for high-speed internet to rural schools.
  • $200K for state-wide computer programing training.
  • $21.5M for the Arizona Commerce Authority

Montana: Steve Bullock

  •  $375K states matching funds program.
  • $200K to the Manufacturing Extension Center
  • $200K to Montana State University’s Northern Advanced Biofuel Center.
  • $56.1M to the Commissioner of Higher Education R&D agencies.
source: SSTI



FY17 Federal Regional Innovation Budget

Foerderberatung_E_340px_rdax_85The Federal Government announced a $17M dollar regional innovation budget for FY17.   This is up $2M from FY16.   State applications for grants are evaluated based on innovation and regional impact outlined in their proposals.   Of interest over the years have been the number of states that have won repeated grants due to sustained progress they keep making.   This creates a higher barrier for states new or unaware of the process as they have to compete against much more progressive states that have partnered with the Federal agencies for several years building out an innovation economy in their region.



Rochester Commercial Real Estate Development and Investment Summit

screenshot.pngI attended the 2017 Destination Medical Center Real Estate and Investment Summit in Rochester MN.   It was a full day event being hosted at the Mayo Civic Center located on the downtown waterfront of the Zumbro river.   The day would begin with guided walking tours of the new development areas in downtown as well as visit familiar sites around the Mayo buildings and cultural centers of downtown.   This included the Heart of the City,  Discovery Square, Central Station, St. Mary’s Place, and the Downtown Waterfront areas of planned development. The UMR/recreation area was also mentioned on the tour.
Over twenty speakers would take the stage throughout the day to talk about different aspects of the development activities in Rochester.  The speaker roster included:
Mayor Brede, City of Rochester
Doug Holtan, Mayo Clinic
Rob Miller, Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce
Jon Buggy, RSP Architects
David Vigliotta, Seventhwave
Joe Weis, Weis Builders
Jamie Sundsbak, Collider
Chris Puchalla, Iron Point Partners
Jeanine Gangeness, Winona State University
Nick Pompeian, Realty Growth Incorporated
Kent Roers, Roers Investments
Tom Leimer, Knutson Construction
Lisa Clarke, Destination Medical Center, Economic Development Agency
Richard Freese, City of Rochester
Patrick Seeb, Destination Medical Center, Economic Development Agency
Mac Hamilton, Hamilton Realty Inc
Bob Lux, Alatus LLC
Rick Fenske, Weis Builder
Nate Stencil, Stencil Group
There where many diverse stories of investment, development, and innovations that spanned industry, community, and transportation.   They investments around infrastructure are very future forward in terms of next generation solutions.  The city is also attracting a fair amount of international investment.
The day concluded with a large networking session and then the final ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new expansion of the Mayo Civic Center.   The amount of energy, interest, investment, and mindshare that the community shares was both visible and felt in all the interactions.   The depth and breadth of the vision into the future also sets a high bar for other city planners.   My steps involve a number of follow-on meetings in Rochester that will explore the best practices around building economic engines around innovation, education, and exchange that can amplify the great progress already underway.
More pictures in the event gallery


Soft Launch – Elements

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November marks the design and development of a new company and brand.

The focus of the new organization is the culmination of the past tens years of studying corporate innovation centers and the past four years looking at the development of regional innovation ecosystems across cities around the world.   The work is ongoing documenting frameworks, patterns, and best practices that are being used.   Decision support trees that highlight interdependencies and trade-off between approach options.  While this information has resulted in methodologies for corporations and regions to incrementally develop new capabilities in the innovation realm,  the internal focus has been on the collection of data and development of several book series that will explore in depth the approaches, trends, and nuances that have shaped the direction of approaches due to varying competitive conditions around the world.

Stay tuned for a 1st quarter 2018 launch of the new brand.