Project Milwaukee

Effects of long term discrimination in Milwaukee rose to a boiling point in the 1960s. The period included a nearly decades long push for fair housing. That struggle was interrupted in 1967 by a violent disturbance which some people still refer to today as the Milwaukee "riot."

In the early 1960s, the local economy was booming. But a current of segregation flowed just beneath the tide of prosperity. Exclusionary practices were common.

Michelle Maternowski

Cultivating talent and collaboration quickly surfaced as central themes of WUWM's Project Milwaukee panel discussion on innovation and the economy. Insiders shared ideas for how Milwaukee can become and remain competitive in innovative fields.

Researchers at companies and universities may be tempted to hold their cards close to the vest. But Brian Thompson says in Milwaukee that "silo thinking" will get you nowhere. Thompson heads UW-Milwaukee's Research Foundation.

S Bence

The Mid-West Energy Research Consortium, or M-WERC, is working to add Milwaukee to the energy tech landscape.

The group sprouted out of the interest of three universities and four industrial companies in 2009.

Marquette University

Innovation can be a nebulous topic. People have their own definition of what innovation entails, and it sets each on their own path to fostering creativity.

The same holds true for local colleges and universities. In examining their own role in fostering innovation across the city, each school has its own mission.

Even so, if you talk to higher education leaders in Milwaukee, the word “innovation” almost always comes attached to another word: "collaboration."

Cooperation and partnership drive many of the initiatives on the city’s biggest campuses.

LaToya Dennis

Study after study ranks Wisconsin poorly when it comes to the number of new startups. In fact, the Kauffman Foundation puts the state last on its list when it comes to the number of business start-ups.

When you think about a place to start a new tech business, Milwaukee might not be the city that comes to mind.

Montel Allen

Milwaukee siblings Que and Khalif El-Amin see themselves as innovators. Yet for them, it’s not enough. They want young Milwaukee kids, who might otherwise be left behind or overlooked, to believe they are innovators who just don’t know it yet.

"When we first get to the school, I think a vast majority them don’t see themselves as innovators, but after our workshops and after they see us, I think that builds their confidence up. It builds their knowledge level up," Khalif says.

Nicole Beilke

In order for companies and communities to thrive these days, they must innovate. A program in Milwaukee nurtures talent among college students with hopes of keeping them here. It’s called The Commons.

On a recent Tuesday night, small groups of students are scattered throughout Ward4, the old Pritzloff warehouse just across the river from the Third Ward.

As you move close to one group, you can hear them talking about developing a product to help people with anxiety.

Michelle Maternowski

Greg Meier's broad experience includes co-founding Global Entrepreneurship Collective as well as Wisconsin's first mentor-driven seed accelerator, 94 Labs. Today, Meier is the Director of the Milwaukee Institute’s Center for Software Engineering. He is also an adjunct faculty member at UW-Milwaukee and Cardinal Stritch University.

Meier has a lot to say about Milwaukee's innovation scene, starting with its history steeped in the economies of scale model.

Rockwell Automation

Generations of Milwaukeeans have appreciated the iconic clock that sits atop Rockwell Automation on the city's south side. It was a gift to the community from one of the original owners of what was the Allen-Bradley Company.

What people may be less familiar with is what has gone on inside the firm that specializes in factory automation. It started 100-some years ago, when Lynde Bradley developed a motor controller into a company that has sold 400,000 discrete products. Today, the company engineers connected systems.

Medical College of Wisconsin

Researchers in Milwaukee have been innovating the way medicine is practiced for decades. After years of being on the leading edge of biomedical discovery, how are those in Milwaukee’s medical field competing now?

Milwaukee Public Library

Milwaukee was ground zero for the industrial boom of the late 19th century. Hundreds of machine shops were operating in the heart of the city; many of their inventions helped grow the companies into worldwide enterprises. Yet today, Wisconsin ranks toward the bottom for entrepreneurship while the business community works to improve the numbers.

“This was kind of the Silicon Valley of the late 1800s," local historian John Gurda says.

Ann-Elise Henzl

There's a buzzword you may hear these days when people talk about ways to grow the economy: innovation, as in the ability to create new products, processes and services.

Innovation is underway in Milwaukee, although it’s not always visible or as robust as in some of the country’s hot spots.

PBS Newshour

During Thursday night's debate in Milwaukee, Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton were asked how they would address Wisconsin's high black male incarceration rate.

It’s been one year since WUWM began an in-depth series on the state's high rate of African American male incarceration.


In their own ways, Milwaukee mothers Afriqah Imani and Barbara Robinson have both lost sons – Imani’s were killed by gunfire, and Robinson’s are serving hundred-year sentences in Wisconsin prisons.