By Buckley Brinkman, Executive Director & CEO, WMEP 

Wisconsin faces a terrific opportunity to accelerate economic growth and solidify our position as manufacturing leaders. One of the necessities to take full advantage of this opportunity will be our ability to work together and align our efforts to create approaches that maximize impact and makes the most of scarce resources. Accelerating change and the predicted surge in the general economy make now the time to act.

Historically, Wisconsin operations worked in silos. There were multiple initiatives underway throughout the state, sometimes working at conflicting objectives. Most often, they were terrific efforts that were duplicated in multiple regions with minimal sharing of best practices. Eventually, it became clear that no one had the resources to meet all of the state’s needs. This realization began to change the tone of engagement from rugged individualism to cooperation.

Comprehensive cooperation engages four pillars: Private business, government, education, and NGOs. All provide the critical perspectives and capabilities necessary to create comprehensive, efficient, and effective approaches. Together these organizations can create solutions that no one can implement on their own. Accelerating change makes alignment and cooperation essential. In addition, the great conditions shaping up for the economy in the coming 18-24 months make it critical to act now!

Cooperation and alignment foster more and better connections and makes for more effective change. Key players are leveraging and engaging more connections than ever before to improve their results. These players demand quality connections that can deliver. Pretenders need not apply! Quality players making focused, quality connections build more trust within the system. That trust makes everything work better.

More private businesses should be engaged in these efforts. These companies bring the practical pressure of making a profit and perspectives from the front line; helping government and not for profits become more focused. In addition, these businesses realize immediate impact from this involvement as they discover ideas and resources that they can put to immediate use to improve their operations. Finally, they can gain an appreciation for the complexity of the economic system and the impact they can have on economic growth.

Opportunities to boost our economy and position our state for future success abound when we work together. We need to keep our conversations centered on alignment, cooperation, and inclusion. The four pillars are critical for broad success – especially private businesses. Together we can make great results happen and build trust between all the parties working to grow a great economy. Working together – Wisconsin wins!