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New North Business Intelligence Findings Presented at St. Norbert College

From St. Norbert College, February 20, 2019
by Mike Counter, mike.counter@snc.edu, 920-403-3089

In an effort by the New North to develop and promote the business interests of northeast Wisconsin, the New North’s Business Intelligence Committee (BIC) partnered with the Strategic Research Institute (SRI) at St. Norbert College to conduct a study of business perception and risk.

Findings from the study will inform the New North and help guide future economic development efforts in the region.

The survey was designed to assess the perception of general economic climate, recent changes to business practices and future business priorities.

The survey included 114 questions grouped into seven broad areas. A total of 288 surveys were completed. The survey had a good mix of small, moderate and large companies. Manufacturing businesses were the largest sector represented in the sample.

The expanded presentation today focused on:
• Economic climate and conditions of northeast Wisconsin (75 percent of those surveyed say recruiting competent job applicants is a moderate or major problem.)
• Workforce development practices
• Importance of education and training programs for the business community
• Changes in/to the business environment
• Potential business disruptors and associated risk (By 2020, 40 percent of those surveyed say they are highly concerned they will be disrupted. 67 percent believe they are at risk of disruption.)
• Workplace environment and community expectations
• Future priorities for economic growth

Initial results were presented at the New North Summit in late 2018. As a follow-up to the summit presentation, the New North and St. Norbert collaborated on today’s event hosting a research deep-dive on the survey results. Today’s presentation included a panel of topic experts who reacted to the findings and led a discussion. Oliver Buechse of Advancing AI Wisconsin, a nonprofit organization focused on creating awareness of digital disruption for stakeholders in the state, moderated both panels.

Panelists who focused on leadership and talent gaps included Mary Goggans of Encapsys and Dean Stewart of the Center for Exceptional Leadership at St. Norbert.

Panelists who focused on innovation and technology included Joe Bashta of Axicor, Mitch Weckop of Skyline Technologies and Alan Gonzalez of Nemak.

St. Norbert College President Brian Bruess welcomed attendees while Jerry Murphy, executive director of New North, and John Kreul, chair of New North’s Business Intelligence Committee, provided background on New North’s goals for the survey and what next steps are needed.

The event was co-sponsored by New North and St. Norbert College. The work of the New North Business Intelligence Committee is supported by Microsoft, Thrivent Foundation and WEDC.

For more information on the New North survey, contact Jamie Lynch, director of the Strategic Research Institute within the Schneider School of Business & Economics at St. Norbert College. He can be reached at jamie.lynch@snc.edu. You can also contact Connie Loden, senior project manager at New North about the survey and the New North BIC. She can be reached at cloden@thenewnorth.com.

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