The BE BOLD initiatives began in 2010 when Competitive Wisconsin, Inc. decided to enhance its traditional research-based policy development analysis process by making it more visible to the media and the public and more effective in terms of legislative outcomes and policy development. In pursuit of those two goals, BE BOLD initiatives are built on research and analysis that enjoys significant public exposure and robust opportunities for input from both the general public and the businesses and publics affected by the recommendations. All BE BOLD initiatives are also predicated on the assumption that since sound research and public input should be focused on issues that warrant analysis and can lead to improvements in public policy, each initiative should include an organized effort to engage policy makers in the process and ultimately to encourage legislative action in support of the recommendations. For example:
BE BOLD I: The Wisconsin Prosperity Strategy was grounded in comparative analytical research done by Deloitte; and informed by a variety of public outreach efforts including the work of the Wisconsin Way; three Wisconsin Economic Summits co-hosted by the UW System, Competitive Wisconsin, Inc. and the Wisconsin Education Business Roundtable; and input from more than 50 business and public organizations and associations that participated in a series of BE BOLD Strategic Planning Group meetings. Policy makers and experts participated in the process and BE BOLD I’s recommendations “…transformed and energized economic development in Wisconsin, including the creation of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the retooling of Wisconsin’s economic development incentives, the development of a state marketing program and the identification of a statewide inventory of certified sites for business development.”
BE BOLD II: Growing Wisconsin’s Talent Pool was also based on comparative analytical research, this time done by ManpowerGroup; and was also informed by a variety of public outreach efforts, including numerous Executive Committee meetings; more than two dozen regional briefings; three Wisconsin Economic Summits; and numerous meetings of a BE BOLD II Strategic Planning Group that included more than 80 public organizations, private businesses and associations. BE BOLD II’s recommendations significantly and positively influenced the development and implementation of what is now known as the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s Fast Forward program and of the Academic Career Plan requirements and infrastructure in the state’s PK-12 schools.
BE BOLD III: Accelerate Wisconsin remains true to all of these objectives and operating principles. It is focused on enhancing the ability of Wisconsin’s major economic clusters to thrive in Wisconsin while competing and prospering even more effectively in a constantly changing world. To that end, Competitive Wisconsin, Inc. and the BE BOLD Council, working with the University of Wisconsin System, the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, identified food manufacturing and health care as the two examples of employment clusters demonstrating significant and sustainable job growth and capacity for wealth creation upon which BE BOLD III: Accelerate Wisconsin would focus. The clusters were studied sequentially. BE BOLD III: Accelerate Wisconsin: Part 1 – Food Manufacturing, was released in mid-April 2017. BE BOLD III: Accelerate Wisconsin: Part 2 – Heath Care was released in October, 2017. Both clusters identified workforce shortages as their most pressing issue

BeBoldIII Background & Industry Overviews

Be Bold III Support Documents

BE BOLD III: Deloitte Food Processing Assessment
Deloitte Research Findings Overview (
BE BOLD III Brief Backgrounder
BE BOLD Process Guide
Links to Video Overview of BE BOLD III Research Undertaken to Date:
  • Dr. John Witte, Professor Emeritus and former Director of the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs, UW–Madison -
  • Benjamin Lasiewicz, Researcher, Economic and Community Development, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation; and Kyle Johnson, Researcher, Economic and Community Development, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation -
BE BOLD III Phase 1 Research Report from UW–Madison, compiled by:
  • Robert Haveman, Professor Emeritus of Economics and Public Affairs and Research Associate, La Folette School of Public Affairs, UW–Madison
  • John F. Witte, Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Public Affairs, La Folette School of Public Affairs, UW–Madison
  • Robert Stupar, La Folette School of Public Affairs, UW–Madison
  • Scott Wood, La Folette School of Public Affairs, UW–Madison

WEDC Research and Datasheets (Click specific bullet points below to access datasheets)

Food Processing Cluster

HealthcareBio Cluster

Business Services Cluster
WEDC Ranking of Industries 12/11/2014