Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE)

A Letter from the President: September 2015

The Greater Milwaukee Committee’s initiatives – in which many of you are involved – have unique and important impacts on our community. Two of our initiatives in particular are top-of-mind right now.

As you know, the GMC launched the creative placemaking committee last fall. The committee presently focuses on three main areas – the Beerline Trail Extension in Riverwest/Harambee, West Wisconsin Avenue, and Walker’s Point. Last week, the Beerline Trail Extension (also known as Beerline X) hosted events as part of Riverworks Week 2015, an event by Riverworks Development Corporation to showcase the area as Milwaukee’s emerging creative district.

Riverworks Week events included speakers, a “Dolphin Pool,” the Open Air Medina Market and many participating businesses in Doors Open Milwaukee (a celebration on the Beerline X was rescheduled due to severe weather). Hundreds of Riverwest and Harambee neighborhood residents, as well as residents of other Milwaukee neighborhoods, came out to support the week and the important work going on along the trail.

Riverworks Week shows the impact that the GMC and its creative placemaking committee have had on placemaking and economic strategy in Milwaukee. This corridor in Riverwest and Harambee of large industrial buildings often underused or vacant is now redefined as a growing creative district with the buildings now full of micro-creative industries. Real estate brokers and entrepreneurs now see the area as a spine for redevelopment. We look forward to continuing to work with our many community partners – and many of you – to encourage vibrancy, creativity and economic development in Milwaukee.

Our creative placemaking efforts on West Wisconsin Avenue are transforming the way people think and interact with the street. The Avenue is coming alive with over 300 new units of housing and another 400 proposed for development. WAM-DC is active on other redevelopment plans for the area. NEWaukee’s Night Markets bring alive an area in the past seen as empty and unsafe at night. Ten to twelve thousand people showed up for each Night Market this summer. Creative Alliance Milwaukee’s Spot 4MKE is bringing people and life to the long term vacant lot on 4th and Wisconsin.

The GMC’s Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE) initiative exemplifies the impact the GMC can have on innovative talent development strategies. Milwaukee has everything it needs for a thriving economy – small and large businesses, corporate headquarters, college students and plenty of talent – but it often struggles to connect everyone together.

Enter Walk the Talk. MiKE this year is partnering with Creative Alliance Milwaukee to host this one-day conference focusing on the intersection of creativity and innovation. The conference includes workshops and keynotes throughout the Third Ward and Walker’s Point – two of Milwaukee’s most innovative neighborhoods – to move attendees from talk to action.

Walk the Talk, on Wednesday, October 7th, connects artists, entrepreneurs, educators, young professionals, established professionals, industry experts, designers, creatives, and everyone in between, through speakers, workshops, one-on-one conversations with Milwaukee’s “Super Colliders,” a food truck lunch hour, a recess break and more. Showcasing the innovative and creative people, projects and businesses in Milwaukee, Walk the Talk provides a new and unique way for people to connect.

We hope that you’ll share information on Walk the Talk and our creative placemaking work with your networks and beyond.


Julia Taylor

DESTINATION INNOVATION: Nonstop Connections at 35,000 Feet

Local Milwaukee students to take to the sky with Innovation in Milwaukee, Southwest Airlines® and Kohl’s

Milwaukee–Sept. 3, 2015—The Greater Milwaukee Committee’s Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE) initiative is collaborating with Southwest Airlines and Kohl’s Department Stores to offer an exciting opportunity for local Southeastern Wisconsin college students. Later this month, a select group of 10 students will take off on a collaborative in-flight adventure called Destination Innovation: Nonstop connections at 35,000 feet.

On September 29, 10 students selected to participate in the Destination Innovation program will fly on a Southwest Airlines flight from General Mitchell International Airport to San Francisco where they will visit the Kohl’s Digital Center in Milpitas, Calif., a hub of digital technology and innovation located in Silicon Valley. While at 35,000 feet, students will work with experienced mentors during the flight on a real-world business challenge from Southwest and Kohl’s. Before reaching the Bay Area, students will pitch their solutions to in-flight customers who will vote for the best idea.

“Destination Innovation will give college students a chance to pitch their business challenge solutions to professionals from some of Milwaukee’s most important companies,” Michael Hostad, executive director of MiKE. “The event is an example of how major corporations in the Greater Wisconsin region are helping our future leaders get the real world experience that’ll help them start their career when they graduate.”

“When Southwest Airlines started in 1971, no one gave us a chance,” said Ryan Green, Southwest Airlines’ managing director of customer strategy and development. “Today, if it wasn’t for the innovation of our people and staying on top of the ever-changing demands of the airline industry, we wouldn’t be where we are today. By partnering with the Greater Milwaukee Committee’s Innovation in Milwaukee initiative, we’re excited to give college students in Southeastern Wisconsin the opportunity to use their skills and knowledge to innovate real-world solutions to real world experiences.”

“Kohl’s is proud to support hands-on, collaborative experiences like Destination Innovation that foster the next generation of talent and create opportunities for innovation in the local Milwaukee community,” said Ratnakar Lavu, Kohl’s executive vice president, digital technology. “We hope that students are inspired by the forward-thinking nature of the program and are excited about the real-world technology opportunities available in their future.”

Following the tour of Kohl’s Digital Center, the group will visit Santa Clara University, a leader in social innovation, where students will continue to expand their knowledge of entrepreneurial learning to explore the world of social enterprise. Santa Clara University and Marquette University recently announced a new collaboration with the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship to launch a program that supports social enterprises in their impact potential, growth and financial sustainability. Three Santa Clara University students will join the group for the return trip to Milwaukee to explore the local entrepreneurial community.

Applications for Destination Innovation open September 9 — to be considered for the program, interested students should submit an application by September 18 at

Startups on a plane: MiKE teams with Kohl’s, Southwest Airlines

Published September 3, 2015
From the Milwaukee Business Journal

The Greater Milwaukee Committee’s Innovation in Milwaukee initiative is partnering with Kohl’s Corp. and Southwest Airlines to send Milwaukee students on a cross-country flight designed to spark ideas and foster collaboration.

“Destination Innovation” will select 10 students for a nonstop flight from Milwaukee to San Francisco. During the journey, they’ll work with mentors to solve a real-world business challenge from Dallas-based Southwest (NYSE: LUV) and Menomonee Falls-based Kohl’s, pitching their solutions before wheels down.

Once there, students will visit Kohl’s (NYSE: KSS) Milpitas, Calif., digital technology and innovation development hub.

Read the full article here.



Creative Alliance Milwaukee and Innovation in Milwaukee Announce New Conference Name, Focus, Location

Inaugural “Walk the Talk” scheduled for October 7, 2015

Walk the Talk

MILWAUKEE—August 17, 2015—Creative Alliance Milwaukee (CAM) and Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE), an initiative of the Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC), today announced the name of their new combined annual conference: Walk the Talk.  The event takes place Wednesday, October 7, 2015, from 8:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

“To ‘walk the talk’ means to do as you say, to back up what you say with action, to practice what you preach. This conference is a call to all Milwaukeeans to move beyond just talking about the things we want for our community to putting our dreams into action,” said Michael Hostad, executive director of MiKE.

“At CAM, we talk a lot about the importance of collaboration and about the critical link between creativity and innovation,” said CAM president and CEO Maggie Kuhn Jacobus.  “We’re walking our talk by joining forces with MiKE to create this dynamic and fresh approach to the conference experience for Milwaukee and by creating an event that fosters actionable dialogue around the topics of creativity and innovation in our community.”

The theme of this year’s Walk the Talk is the Intersection of Creativity and Innovation and includes keynotes and workshops throughout the Third Ward and Walker’s Point to move attendees from talk to action. Add in an ice cream social, recess and live music, and this is a conference unlike others held in the city. The conference is being experience designed by local firm Translator.

“Walk the Talk is not only a literal description of the connective action that is designed into the day, but a call to action to the community to ‘up our game’ by understanding the crucial intersection of creativity and innovation,” said Translator co-founder Mark Fairbanks regarding the conference name and graphic design. “The look and feel of the graphics is modern and colorful, with the intent to brand the experience similarly to some of the better-known national conferences, such as SXSW.”

What: Walk the Talk inaugural conference

When: Wednesday, October 7, 2015, 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Where: Multiple venues throughout the Third Ward and Walker’s Point showcasing and inspiring Milwaukee’s creativity and innovation

Who: Keynote speakers, Milwaukee super colliders and thought leaders from the corporate, small business, creative, entrepreneurial, tech, nonprofit, startup and academia communities

Cost: $150/person through August 31; $200/person thereafter. Ticket price includes morning coffee and bakery, lunch, treats and cocktail reception. A limited number of full and partial scholarships are available. Contact for details.

Where to purchase:


About the organizers: Creative Alliance Milwaukee exists to drive economic prosperity and connect creative to commerce in order to links leverage, promote and grow the creative industries and foster a culture of innovation, ingenuity and entrepreneurship throughout Milwaukee. CAM incorporates placemaking and economic development strategies that focus on human capital and attracting and retaining talent across all industries to raise the profile of the value of creatives and the creative skill set to the region’s economy.

Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE) is an initiative of the Greater Milwaukee Committee. MiKE creates and supports programming that convenes corporations, universities and talent networks (entrepreneurs, students, independents) in order to create a collaborative ecosystem and foster the development of an innovative workforce in the greater Milwaukee area.

Conference will ‘Walk the Talk’ in Milwaukee

Published August 17, 2015
From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Organizers of the Flying Car Conference, which was grounded earlier this year, announced Monday they will conduct a new event in October called Walk the Talk.

“This conference is a call to all Milwaukeeans to move beyond just talking about the things we want for our community to putting dreams into action,” said Michael Hostad, executive director of the Greater the Greater Milwaukee Committee’s Innovation in Milwaukee, or MiKE, initiative.

For the full article, click here.


Page 5 of 16« First...34567...10...Last »