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Pursuing Innovation: Benchmarking Milwaukee's Transition to a Knowledge-based Economy

While the Milwaukee region's economic base is rooted in its manufacturing history, many believe that the region's future prosperity will be tied to its ability to successfully transition its economy into one that is based on knowledge and innovation. The Innovation Index presents baseline data for measures that have been closely linked to the 21st century economy: idea development and commercialization; entrepreneurship; and the availability of knowledgeable and skilled workers.

The Milwaukee region's transition to the knowledge-based economy may best be described as a work in progress. With regard to innovation inputs, many regional trends are positive, including growing university research and development spending, higher educational attainment levels, more jobs created by small firms, and more Small Business Innovation Research-Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR-STTR) awards. Far less promising, however, are the region's negative or flat trends in patent activity, number of scientists and engineers, and knowledge workers per capita.

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