Summit to demonstrate creative problem solving at work

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:36 am

As about 350 of Milwaukee’s creative professionals converge at the 2014 Creative Milwaukee @ Work Summit on Friday, they’ll have a chance to witness creative problem solving in action with a dozen presentations highlighting ways the tool has inspired change.


With creative problem solving at the center of the third annual summit, attendees will hear firsthand from 12 area thought leaders who have effectively applied creative problem solving to large-scale issues in Milwaukee.

The problem solving approach challenges individuals and organizations to tackle issues in “imaginative and innovative” ways, according to Maggie Jacobus, president and executive director of Creative Alliance Milwaukee, the lead driver of the summit.

Presenters will tell their stories of innovation using PechaKucha, a strict presentation style in which a speaker prepares 20 images to share and has 20 seconds to discuss each one.

The presentation style, native to Japan, is a very tight and focused format that forces speakers to really zero in on the best part of their story, said Michael Rampolla, chief consulting officer of Milwaukee-based consulting firm The Guy Behind The Guy and emcee of the presentations.

“We wanted to present a diverse set of presenters from different parts of the Milwaukee community who have used creative problem solving to achieve better outcomes, and to do that in a short amount of time we are using this format which, by its structure, encourages creativity and encourages great storytelling,” Rampolla said.

Much like the summit’s pool of attendees, the lineup of presenters will represent a range of industries and backgrounds from Milwaukee’s creative class, including nonprofit leaders, entrepreneurs, designers and communications professionals.

Presenters include Mark Fairbanks of Islands of Brilliance; Carol Voss of the Bay View Neighborhood Association; Young Kim of Fondy Food Center, Inc.; Rashaad Washington of Pro Trade Job Development; Oscar Wient Jes of the Green Glass Company; Bill Blank of Brady Corporation; Melissa Goins of Maures Development Group; Jeff Richlen of Harley-Davidson; Sara Meaney of DearMKE; and Dan Mueller of Aids Resource Center of Wisconsin.

Following their presentations, speakers will engage in Q&A sessions with attendees to build on their PechaKucha slideshows.

Their examples of creative problem solving at work will help set a foundation for attendees to understand how creative problem solving can address community issues. The examples will help guide attendees through their own creative problem solving process at the summit as they apply the tools and techniques they learn to three of Milwaukee’s most prominent economic and community development projects: The future of 4th Street and Wisconsin Avenue, The Commons, and the Greater Together Challenge.

“It’s going to open up a lot of people’s eyes in terms of what they can actually do,” said Gary Mueller, EVP creative director of BVK.

Mueller will introduce all three projects at the summit before attendees break into workshops to brainstorm how to move forward on each one through a creative problem solving approach. Each workshop will welcome creatives to pitch real solutions – solutions that may be unconventional to other change agents in Milwaukee, Mueller said.

“I hope we see real change out of this,” he said.

BizTimes Media is serving as a sponsor of the sold-out summit, which will be held at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. For more event information, visit

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