Sunday, July 29, 2012

Young Chinese scholars visit Iowa County

On Thursday of this past week we greatly enjoyed a visit by a group of young scholars from mainland China to the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen (WINK). The group's visit was coordinated and made possible by The Environment & Public Health Network for Chinese Students and Scholars (ENCSS).

I got to introduce Annette Pierce, our WINK Food Service Director and explain her critical role in food safety and how that makes our operations important.

They gave her a generous round of applause.

I also tried to explain to them about Annette's role as Mistress of the Universe, and that got another round of applause.

We made 35 fun new friends from China on Thursday!

Thank You NCESS for arranging this visit.

While there, the visiting students got to do some actual food processing.

Annette and her team had the group slice tomatoes and prepare them to be dehydrated and packaged. It was great fun to be with the group while they worked and talked among themselves. Mandarin is such a beautiful language. Too bad I am limited to 'hello' and 'thank you' for now - but I will learn more soon!

Annette and team made a great traditional American lunch for the group, with a special fancy chocolate based treat for dessert.

After lunch we shared gifts with the students. The WINK team had prepared packages of dehydrated tomatoes with ENCSS on the label along with a welcome from the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen. Annette truly is the Mistress of the Universe.

Thank you Annette and team!!

What a fun visit... Ni Hao!

The Environment & Public Health Network for Chinese Students and Scholars (ENCSS)

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Hodan Center, The center supporting people with disabilities that owns and created the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen.

Previous post (March 23, 2012) post about ENCSS and this group visit.

Iowa County Area Economic Development

Lunch for the ENCSS students was sponsored by Alliant Energy. Thank you Alliant Energy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Great meeting of the Wisconsin Local Food Network at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

We had a great gathering of the Wisconsin Local Food Network (WLFN) at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen yesterday.

It was an honor to introduce the great work Annette and her team are accomplishing at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen, and the support work our economic development organization, the Iowa County Area Economic Development Corp. (ICAEDC) provides for their work. This is an excellent partnership!

Our ICAEDC Board Chair Dr. Lorin Toepper of Madison College is in the photo discussing economic development implications of the kitchen's work.

What was also great fun is that we got to show off our new mobile poultry processing equipment for the first time. We now own a trailer and all the poultry processing equipment needed for area farms to rent the unit and do on-farm processing and sales of their chickens.

The entire poultry package was utilized last weekend on its inaugural processing run, and was a resounding success!

Thanks to the WLFN for a great visit to the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen!

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Wisconsin Local Food Network

Iowa County Area Economic Development

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A great week ahead for the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen is hosting a couple of great gatherings this coming week.

The first is a meeting of the Wisconsin Local Food Network.

Can't wait to reconnect with old friends and make new ones.

A couple days later we are looking forward to hosting new friends and young scholars from China, on a group visit through The Environment & Public Health Network for Chinese Students and Scholars (ENCSS)

These visits represent important recognition for Annette and her amazing team at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen, as well as Tom and the entire Hodan Center.

WI Local Food Network


Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Hodan Center

Photo is from the Grand Opening of the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen July 2010. Food Service Director, and Mistress of the Universe, Annette Pierce is at the center of this photo, and this galaxy.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Kickstarter campaign - replicating Innovation Kitchens

Do you know Kickstarter? It's a great model for crowd funding cool projects and innovations.

The idea is that innovators can propose a project on Kickstarter with a promise of rewards, in return for advance pledges of support.

This model has a ton of free market merit. I'm going to submit a Kickstarter project later this week. We're going to use it to do market development for the next Innovation Kitchen. We have a great new partnership emerging to do the first replication in inner city Milwaukee.

Kickstarter has broken the mold when it comes to financing innovation and creative economic development. What they have started will resonate for decades.

I've greatly enjoyed learning about Kickstarter and pledging financial support to five projects so far.

We are very much looking forward to launching our first Kickstarter campaign this week. Please consider helping spread the word when this launches publicly.

Entrepreneurship is being supported by so much good stuff it takes my breath away. Kickstarter is a great model I'm proud to support.


Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Harvard Business Review - The Most Important Predictor of Sales Success

As an old hand at business startups, I believe the most ignored piece of that story is sales.

However, nothing is more critical to the success of ANY enterprise than creating - selling - new customers. Here's a good new article on the subject from Harvard Business Review:

"The Most Important Predictor of Sales Success"

"No profession in business has a more complex reputation than sales. When we think of salespeople — from Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman to Donald Trump to Steve Jobs — all kinds of contradictory ideas and images jangle in our minds. They can be persuaders and bullies, seducers and rogues, dream-makers and charlatans. But without them, no business exists."

"It's not just salespeople who must sell. Entrepreneurs must persuade others of the value of an idea or company which has yet to take concrete form. CEOs must convince the board, markets, employees, and customers that what they are doing is valuable. Politicians, artists, and scientists all must sell themselves and their work in order to succeed."

"Sales is the most human and richly nuanced aspect of business and yet, amazingly, is not even a required course at most business schools. MBA students are dutifully taught finance, strategy and operations as if revenue appeared by magic and salespeople were at best a necessary evil."

"...what enables a salesperson to succeed is that they've found a match between who they are and what they are being required to do."

I tend to love smart people that agree with me. That said...

Nothing is more important in business than having real customers and ways to make more of them. That's what sales and market development are all about.

Harvard Business Review. "The Most Important Predictor of Sales Success". Written by Philip Delves Broughton, 6/27/12. Thanks.