There was a time in the not-so-distant past when Wisconsin’s academic institutions and private industry kept their distance from one another, and government mostly oversaw the business of regulating commerce, keeping the lights on, the roads paved and the people educated.
We are not unique; this was the predominant mindset of our country, arguably from its founding forward. The original intent of this separation was understandable – industry should not dictate education standards any more than academia should decide what types of economic development are worth pursuing, and so on.
But to stay in those silos left a lot on the table. Without a commercialization strategy, too much important research never reaches the market where it can make its intended impact. Without an open dialog with business, colleges and universities may teach to a less-needed set of skills for a rapidly changing workforce. Examples abound.
In Wisconsin, we are looking at our resources collectively. We’re reaching across lines to leverage the best of what each sector has to offer and turn that into real economic growth. As a result, we’re taking more innovative products to the marketplace; we’re evolving our educational curriculum from kindergarten through college; and government is facilitating this new way of doing business.
The evolution is welcome, and the results already tangible. In the section that follows, WisconsinBiz highlights some of the best and most effective partnerships underway in our state.