Global Water Leaders Summit

screenshot 1Elements Group attended the 2018 Global Water Leaders Summit in Milwaukee Wisconsin.  The two day event brought in representatives from around the world to collaborate and share technology advancements, global initiatives, and to develop partnerships.
Milwaukee, like many cities, has felt the strain of economic pressures on its industries and communities.  It began to explore what it needed to do to reposition itself as a leader in the water industry.   A large section of the downtown area was targeted for revitalization and branding to the water district.   A walking tour of Milwaukee’s Riverwalk System was now a mixture of modernized historic buildings and new construction complete with greenways.  Along the path where public displays of water technology.
The Global Water Center is the headquarters for the initiative and is a 8 story building in the heart of the water district.  A new school of fresh water science is also a new addition.   We toured the water center seeing companies, start-ups, and universities all residing within.   The center is complete with many labs where cutting edge projects are underway, as well as, partnerships and sponsor ships that surround them.
Zurn industries has a new building close to the water center and we toured their customer experience center.  From the roof top of the build we where able to look around in all directions to see the breadth of the revitalization project.
The summit itself was hosted at the near by Harley Davidson event center.  Noted speakers and topics included:
  1. Chairman & CEO of Badger Meter Rich Meeusen
  2. Guest of Honor WI Lieutenant Governor – Rebecca Kleefisch
  3. Video   Senator Ron Johnson
  4. Video Senator Tammy Baldwin
  5. Mayor Tom Barrett
  6. Student Awards
  7. Water Environment Federation
  8. Big Oil & Water
  9. Adoption of the Alliance for Water Stewardship Standards
At the event center was a large array of technology companies and start-ups showcase their wares and connecting with representatives globally.
We also got to tour the Harley Davidson Museum in the off hours of the conference.
While most North American cluster development initiatives trail far behind other global examples.  This summit shown light on a positive begin to such ambitions and can be studied as a template for how other cities could begin such a journey.
See more images from the event in the gallery.
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Canada Announces Five Superclusters

waving canada flag
Canada commits to its vision to develop five new superclusters:
  • Ocean Supercluster (based in Atlantic Canada)
  • SCALE.AI Supercluster (based in Quebec)
  • Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster (based in Ontario)
  • Protein Industries Supercluster (based in the Prairies)
  • Digital Technology Supercluster (based in British Columbia)

Together the superclusters represent more than 450 businesses, 60 post-secondary institutions and 180 other participants in sectors covering 78 percent of Canada’s economy.

“The Innovation Superclusters Initiative created an important dialogue between industries, companies, and communities focused on building the next generation of manufacturing firms in Canada,” said Jayson Myers, CEO, Next Generation Manufacturing Canada. “These vital conversations have set the stage for new partnerships, customer relationships, and investment opportunities that will shape the future of advanced manufacturing in Canada.”
Source: SSTi

Canada’s Manufacturing Supercluster

waving canada flag

On the heals of the top 9 supercluster proposals.  Ontario has been selected as the location for the Government of Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, which is part of a $748 million Innovation Superclusters Initiative. The supercluster will bring together small, medium-sized and large companies, academic institutions and not-for-profit organizations to generate bold ideas, resulting in new jobs, groundbreaking research and a world-leading innovation economy.
The Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster will develop next-generation manufacturing capabilities, such as advanced robotics and 3D printing. Ultimately, the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster aims to position Canadian companies to lead industrial digitalization, maximizing competitiveness and participation in global markets.
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(Photo: HE Canadian Press/Todd Korol)
Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development,
“The Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster will create new opportunities for all the companies involved, help create more than 13,500 new jobs in Ontario and across Canada, and add more than $13.5 billion [US$10.6 billion] to Canada’s economy over 10 years,” said Gould. “This is great news for Ontario’s economy, for Canadian innovation and for our society.”
Source: SSTi

Canada’s Focuses on Superclusters

waving canada flagCanada is demonstrating a commitment to growing its economy and creating middle-class jobs for its citizens by moving forward with an Innovation Superclusters Initiative. The initiative will leverage a federal investment of up to $759 million (CAN$950 million) to generate public-private partnerships in innovative industries across the country.

The first phase attracted more than 50 letters of intent, which represented more than 1,000 businesses and 350 other participants from all regions of Canada. The applicants put forward strategies to increase growth and create jobs across a wide range of innovative industries. Nine applicants have been prioritized and up to five will eventually be selected as Canada’s new superclusters:
  1. Artificial Intelligence-powered Supply Chains Supercluster; Quebec
  2. Building an Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster for Canada; Ontario
  3. Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster; British Columbia
  4. Clean, Low-energy, Effective, Engaged and Remediated (CLEER) Supercluster: Powering Clean Growth Through Mining Innovation; Ontario, with Quebec and British Columbia
  5. Mobility Systems and Technologies for the 21st Century (MOST21) Supercluster; Quebec, with Ontario, British Columbia and Atlantic Canada
  6. Ocean Supercluster; Atlantic Canada
  7. Protein Innovations Canada (PIC) Supercluster: Unleashing the Potential of Canadian Crops; Saskatchewan
  8. Smart Agri-food Supercluster; Alberta
  9. Smart, Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure (SSRI) Supercluster; Alberta
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Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced the nine successful supercluster applications during a cross-country tour.  “Our government’s Innovation Superclusters Initiative has started conversations and created solid partnerships between government, the private sector, academia and communities,” said Bains. “In today’s knowledge-based economy, this collaboration is essential. Together, we are building the economy of the future, creating the jobs of today and tomorrow, and gearing up for global success that will benefit all Canadians.”
Source: SSTi
While many cities are looking at localized or regional cluster efforts,  Canada leads the way with a national vision to develop competitive advantage.  With a national plan they can focus resources on cluster objectives and integrate industry supercluster across the nation and potential globe.  With national representation, at the highest levels, leading the way it sets a precedent in terms of both approach and potential of advancement for the nation.  It also great a clear vision as a global brand to the industries they are looking to partner and lead in.

Wisconsin Water Cluster Growing

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Wisconsin’s water cluster initiative continues to attract companies from across the nation and world to participate in their innovation and education centers,  the growing network of ecosystem development and their growing brand of industry leadership.

A recent example of attraction comes from Austrialia and south east Asia.  With its head office located in Sydney, Australia, a sales and operations office based in Singapore and a contract assembly hub in Shanghai, China, the BioGill team knew it was time for a U.S. office to be established.

In January of 2017 the company established BioGill North America Inc., and in July opened its Milwaukee office within the Global Water Center, employing Annie Weidert as Regional Manager for the Americas. In October BioGill exhibited at WEFTEC, along with The Water Council, in Chicago. After the company delivered a technical paper at the event there was a tsunami of interest in the technology, which has led to the expansion of its U.S. team by adding a second full-time employee in January 2018.

“One of my beliefs in business is that one plus one should equal three. To successfully scale up in business, you need to look for ways to value add, leverage and network. And that’s what the water hub in Milwaukee has delivered to us. We’re plugging into an influential and well- established industry network, helping us to make better informed decisions as we grow our client base in the U.S.” – Paul Hatten / CEO BioGill

“We looked at many locations and states for our U.S. operation, but Milwaukee and Wisconsin best suited our needs,” said Paul Hatten.  “While we have many sites and proven projects around the world, the U.S. is a relatively new market for us. The Water Council has proven to be a powerhouse of knowledge, contacts and advice. In the end, it was an easy decision and made perfect business sense to locate in Milwaukee.”

Source:  The Water Council

Wisconsin continues to lead in the US in terms of cluster development and building a global brand for industry leadership.   They have already launched over 6 cluster initiative in varying cities across the state but have the infrastructure and operational models to continue to move into more emerging industries faster than states that have no vision for cluster development and the regional advantage and attraction it creates.

U.S> Cluster Leaders Share Insights

screenshotI attended the SSTi webinar featuring several speakers from leading cities that are successful driving industry based clusters initiatives.  This webinar discussed how they launched their initiatives and the benefits to the region they are already realizing.   It was also clear that the success has reached an international level of industry recognition, corporate participation an investment.

Speakers included:

  • Dean Amhaus, president and CEO, The WisconsinWater Council
  • Vijay Chauhan, St. Louis-based project lead, Global STL
  • Donn Rubin, president and CEO, BioSTL, and founder of Global STL

 

MN DEED / IOT Event

DC83A188-F5EB-46CA-A76F-8BC6A759B531The Minnesota Department of Economic Development hosted the first open IOT meeting to discuss the state’s future in the IOT industry.  A wide and diverse group of stakeholders attended this event that offered discussion around the state assets and activities in the many aspects of the IOT industry.   As of the time of the meeting, it was suggested that Minnesota currently holds a lead over most states in the IOT space.   This is based on the level of activity featuring over 3000+ identified companies working in IOT infrastructure or implementing significant IOT solutions into their current business operations.  While IOT represents many layers of technology and design it is still built on connected systems architectures that have been around for many years. Several of the systems integrators spoke to decades of experience in these spaces and that they are serving global clients in new IOT solutions.   Currently, Minnesota is also a leader in hosting Industry events, like IOT Fuse, that attracts attendees from far outside of Minnesota.

The conversation also covered other areas of the United States that are now putting the focus on cultivating IOT industry and workforce.   International examples looked at the IOT clusters in Germany where also discussed the need to Minnesota to actively develop a regional strategy to capitalize on our current lead in the field.   Cluster development is growing in size and investment across the globe.   Minnesota has been slow to create a vision of the future for the state’s industries much less a play for new emerging industries.  While the state is rich in all forms of assets,  the leadership to develop a shared vision is still an opportunity waiting to happen for the region.

See event photos in the gallery