Speaker at Singularity U – MSP Chapter Launch Event

Image 7-16-19 at 4.11 PMI had the opportunity to speak on trends in regional development of innovation ecosystems at the kickoff the the Singularity U Minneapolis-St. Paul chapter event.   The event was widely attended and hosted in the main auditorium of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Business.  I’m currently serving on the leadership team of the Singularity U local chapter.  This was the first public event of the chapter and featured multiple speakers on the topic of innovation.

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See more event photos in the gallery


Greater MSP Annual Meeting

AnnualMeeting2018-2-101Elements Group attended the GMSP annual meeting hosted at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis.  The event was widely attended and featured several songs by a quartet.   A host of speakers shared updates on their initiatives throughout the evening.  After the presentation, there was food and networking.

The announcement of Michael Langley stepping down as the head of the organization is a key turning point for the organization.   They are developing what they are referring to as a 2.0 strategy for the next evolution of their mission.   The search to replace Michael is already underway and is set to conclude in 1st quarter of 2019.

Overall the messaging was a year in review and showcased some tactical metrics of regional status.  Encouraging, was the continued development of data partnerships.  It is unclear the future direction that the 2.0 strategy may take the organization but evolution of regional development firms is normal and required.

I thought the event was well executed and the high attendance speaks to the interest level and desire for engagement by regional stakeholder.


See pictures of the event in the photo gallery

AZ, FL, IA, ID, MS, NY, VT present state of the state addresses


There are over 36 governor seats up for election in 2018.   This could see a drastic shift in leadership and priorities.
This could be the year in office for many and have begun to  position and define budget in their state of the state address.
Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey
  •  All-day kindergarten.
  • Career and technical education.
  • Computer science and coding.
  • Reducing waitlists.
  • Closing the achievement gap.
  • High-speed internet to rural schools.
  • New school buses.
  • Entrepreneurship.
Florida, Governor Rick Scott
  • Tax legislation to make it harder to raise taxes by requiring 2/3 of the legislature.
  • Tax cuts.
Idaho Governor Butch Otter
  • $5M a year for college and career advising.
  • dramatically changing the way our higher education system works to make it more integrated, consolidated and student-centric.
  • Hire an Executive Officer to coordinate the work of all our higher education institutions which include: system-wide consolidation operations and policy functions.
  • Create a statewide digital campus to better keep pace with continuing change in education.
  • $5 million for the Opportunity Scholarship program and Adult Completion Scholarships.
  • Development of more online CTE classes, and increased support for our six regional Workforce Training Centers.
  • Battelle Energy Alliance, which just won a new five-year management contract that will ensure welcome stability in lab operations. Coming soon is the next stage in developing small modular reactor technology that could be the future of nuclear energy.”
Iowa, Governor Kim Reynolds
  • $37M in STEM programs.
  • The Future Ready Iowa Act will help people of all ages get the skills they need for a rewarding career.
  • New scholarship for a two-year degree in a high-demand fields.
  • New grant program for people who need to complete a 4 year program.
  • $1M to expand the apprenticeship program to assist small and medium businesses.
  • Create the Iowa Employer Innovation Fund to drive workforce training / retraining.
Mississippi, Governor Phil Bryant
  • Attempt to return to 2016 funding levels of funding for workforce programs.
  • Community College programs for workforce training.
New York, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
  • Investment in new energy and end investment in fossil fuels.   This will begin with off shore wind energy.
  • Expand free college programs through state paid tuition.
Vermont, Governor Phil Scott
  • Transform K-12 system.
  • Invest more in technical education and workforce readiness training.
  • Address the crisis that the workforce is aging out faster than it is being replaced and the workforce has to grow to meet the state’s revenue needs.
  • Create a free college tuition program.
  • New entrepreneurship programs to grow new businesses.



Source: STTI

2018 AK, CO, FL, MS, WY State Budgets Updates

United-States-Map-2First of the year updates on the development of 2018 state budgets.     Alaska and Wyoming are interesting to note as they respond to pressure in the energy industry.

Alaska, Governor Walker
  • Decrease in state dividend payments from the state energy industry to address the $2.5B budget gap.
Wyoming, Governor Mead
  • Reduces funding to a number of agencies.
  • $40M requested in new funding for projects around technology-based economic development and industry diversification.
Colorado, Governor Hickenlooper
  • Goal to increase general fund by 2.6% ( coming back from $500M gap)
  • $86.9M higher education spending, of which, $33.2M focused on offsetting tuition costs.
  • $3.1M for restoring the Energy Office, which ended last year.   This would extend the state’s export incentive for another five years at $175K.
  • $225K  for two broadband staff
Florida, Governor Scott
  • $21.4B in K-12 public education.
  • $15M for computer programing from middle and high school levels.
  • $3.7B for Florida colleges and universities.
  • $1.75M for assistance to veterans looking for employment or entrepreneurship.
Mississippi, Governor Bryant
  • $7M program for community college assistance to approved applicants.
  • $400K for Innovate Mississippi, a private-public partnership technology focus economic development.


Source: SSTI

Wyoming is planning economic growth

United-States-Map-2Wyoming is out of the gate early in 2018 with economic growth planning.  This is one of the first stories of momentum in 2018.  Lead by states that have put several years into dedicated long-term planning and can effectively engage their legislatures for state-level funding.   The next race is for 2018 Federal dollars and that race has already begun several years ago with states getting repeated grants for the development of innovation ecosystems and cluster development.   Those states are also seeming to fair better in winning the development of federal research labs and the research grants that support them long term.

Wyoming: Governor Matt Mead
Has prioritized diversification strategies to grow the state’s economy by funding $1M to form ENDOW (Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming) was created late in 2016, as a dedicated team that built plan and the request for $37M plan for 2018-2019 (receiving $36M)
  • $36M in statewide programs to support tech-based development, which includes:
    • $6M million for Research and Innovation Fund that provides matching funds as a way to leverage federal R&D opportunities
    • $15M to expand the commercial air service
    • $10M to improve the state’s access to broadband
    • $5M to develop a new organization called Startup:Wyoming, which would administer a Fund and provide support to entrepreneurs throughout the state.
  • Other areas of recommendations outside the funding above include:
    • $20M in seed money for the Startup:Wyoming Fund to invest in promising technology startups and to attract startups from other states.
    • STEM & Computer Science for higher education prep.
    • Research and development in high-growth, high-potential industries, such as block chain, vertical takeoff and landing technology, and wind energy.
    • Workforce Training in high-potential industries.


source: STTi