APPLETON – Nearly 60 people heard UW-Madison professor Raj Veeramani and Menasha Corp. research and development manager David Matthias stress the importance of innovation in today’s economy at the first meeting of the Wisconsin Innovation Network (WIN) Foundation in northeast Wisconsin.

The WIN Foundation is the membership subsidiary of the Wisconsin Technology Council, which is the independent, non-profit science and technology advisor to the governor and the Legislature. Other WIN chapters meet in Madison and Milwaukee. The Appleton meeting was held Monday, Nov. 17, at the Fox Valley Technical College campus in the Bordini Center.

“Innovation is like a seed: It needs to be nurtured for it to thrive and yield fruits,” said Veeramani, whose UW-Madison E-Business Consortium works with more than 40 Wisconsin companies on projects that make them more competitive. “Innovation isn’t only about human genius that drives new product development. In the emerging knowledge economy, new ways of doing business, partnerships for innovation and collaboration will be as important as is individual human genius.”

One example of such partnerships is the relationship between the E-Business Consortium and Menasha Advantage, a subsidiary of the Menasha Corp., which is working on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology in collaboration with other Wisconsin companies.

Matthias described how the 154-year-old Menasha Corp. is staying on the cutting edge of supply-chain management through its research and development of RFID technology, which will become a requirement for many suppliers of Wal-Mart and the U.S. Department of Defense in 2005.

Local organizers of WIN in northeast Wisconsin will hold regular meetings and networking sessions to engage the region’s entrepreneurs and people working in high-growth businesses. The WIN chapters in Madison and Milwaukee work with the Tech Council to produce events such as the Wisconsin Life Sciences & Venture Conference and the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference.

For more information on WIN, including how to join or attend an event, go to or call Sally Muller at 608-442-7557.