by Diane Roundy, Envision Board Member

Craig Dickman, a native son of Green Bay who earned his first degree right here at University of Wisconsin—Green Bay, ranks among our area’s key visionaries. The managing director of TitletownTech (a partnership between the Green Bay Packers and Microsoft), Craig has developed a successful innovation-focused practice working with corporate partners and entrepreneurs to create, build, and commercialize new capabilities and ventures. His watchword is “innovation.”

I had the privilege of listening to Craig’s presentation at a Financial Executives International – Northeast Wisconsin Chapter meeting. Here is some of the valuable learning I discovered as I listened.

“If you don’t think creatively,” Craig explained, “you’re not going to create. Innovation is a process. It’s important to implement the process of innovation, and you’ll get better at it with repetition.”

Craig cited two types of innovation:  Discovery, such as the innovation of scientists, and need-based innovation: What is the problem and how do we solve it?  He cautions, though, “When you have a problem, don’t ask ‘how do I solve it?’ but rather ‘who can help us solve this problem?’” He went on to describe three levels of innovation:

  • First, protect the business model. Build a culture, and get your employees involved.
  • Then, expand the business model. Ask “Who do we know?” and invite your customers to co-innovate with you.
  • Finally, create a new business model. Be disruptive!

Dickman talked about the “acceleration of acceleration.” COVID accelerated many trends, forcing us to innovate and move quickly. But we should always keep innovation in the pipeline, he advises.

“If you don’t execute, you go out of business quickly,” he explained. “But, if you don’t innovate, you will go out of business slowly.” 

Craig believes disruption is all around us. Whether you are looking at business models, or the pandemic and its societal changes – disruption is here. It jumps industries and collides in a number of different ways. And with that disruption comes innovation. Craig encourages his listeners: “Don’t doubt yourself when you have a great idea.”

Some fascinating examples of innovation include the first Ai robot named “Sophia,” 3D printing of organs and rockets, and Microsoft Quantum Computing, which processes huge data sets in minutes.  “There is a misperception that innovation is happening on the coasts and not in Northeast Wisconsin. That is simply not true,” Craig explained.  “Innovation is happening here in Northeast Wisconsin.” He cited four innovative companies that TitletownTech collaborates with:

  • Oculogica – FDA approved concussion testing. Oculogica most recently received a patent to test impairment through the use of cannabis.
  • Allergy Amulet – A fast and portable sensor of food ingredients and allergens
  • Seedlinked – Supports data driven decision making for better seeds
  • Synthetaic High quality data that unlocks impossible artificial intelligence

This is a great time to be in business, Craig tells his listeners. We have wonderful opportunities to innovate together and create value. The world is moving fast and we live in a community that is embracing this. TitletownTech is an example of creativity, collaboration, partnership and innovation. 

Craig Dickman earned his Bachelor of Science degree in business from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and his Master’s in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He currently serves as Vice Chair of the UW-Green Bay Council of Trustees and on the Board of Directors for the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation and the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League. Envision Greater Green Bay is excited to have Craig, TitletownTech, and Microsoft as a part of our community, helping us continue down the innovation path. We know that collaboration is the key to effective application of foresight analysis.