The pandemic has shifted to a new phase; a divisive presidential election has put an entire nation on edge; and many businesses are struggling to hang on while waiting to see what shoe drops next.
One choice is to count the days until 2020 comes to a merciful end. Another is to take stock of trends shaping our economic future.
That forward-looking approach is imbedded in the upcoming Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium, which will explore some of the technologies, markets and investment strategies poised to influence the still-elusive recovery.
Set for Nov. 9-11 on a virtual platform, the conference will contain some familiar elements, such as presentations by emerging companies to investors from Wisconsin and well beyond. Those same investors will meet with selected companies in a flurry of brief virtual meetings.
Organized around the theme of “Crossing the Coronavirus Chasm,” the event will also feature speakers and panelists of national reputation — many with Wisconsin ties. They will discuss topics such as health care innovation, advanced manufacturing, corporate and regional investing, entrepreneurism in computer science and bio-industrial innovation.
Other highlights include:
- A team from Verona-based Epic Systems will describe the Epic Health Research Network, which is helping physicians and researchers better diagnose and treat diseases and conditions by tapping into zettabytes of medical data. Charting public health trends has long been the Holy Grail of digital health records, and Epic is devoting more than 100 experts to its pursuit.
- The intersection of artificial intelligence and health will be discussed by Kristi Ebong, senior vice president of corporate strategy for Boston-based Orbita, which powers chatbots, voice-bots, bedside assistants and monitoring tools. She’s a UW-Madison graduate who earned some of her digital health spurs at Epic and later while directing emerging technology for Cedars-Sinai.
National trends that could build on Wisconsin’s tradition of manufacturing, agricultural and nature resource excellence will be outlined during a session that describes the promise of bio-industry and bio-energy. The Midwest is a center of such activity, both public and private. Within the last week, the U.S. Department of Defense awarded a $87 million grant to a coalition that is centered at the University of Minnesota. Wisconsin’s infrastructure includes the Wisconsin Energy Institute and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center.
It may not seem like it as uncertainty continues to swirl about us, but the foundation for economic recovery is being laid in these and many other ways. Looking ahead is better than burying our heads in the sand.
Tom Still is the president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.