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Executive Director’s Column: AURI Connects

A number of years ago, AURI established the Innovation Networks Program (INP) as a platform for convening events that brought together a range of individuals from across Minnesota’s value-added agriculture sector. From the very start, it proved to be a successful venture and an important element of AURI’s services for the public good. As time went by, however, the INP team realized the program needed to expand beyond events and move into additional opportunities for building networks and creating connections between innovators, experts, organizations and the public. With this evolution, it soon became clear that the title, Innovation Networks Program, was too constrictive for all the different, new ventures undertaken.

With that in mind, I am pleased to announce the launch of a new sub-brand, as part of the ongoing development and evolution of AURI’s program offerings. Named ‘AURI Connects’, this new sub-brand replaces AURI’s previous Innovation Network Program and uses a new brand identity that better reflects the goals and actions of our events, educational programs, thought leader convenings and networking opportunities.The purpose of AURI Connects is to actively engage the value chain on topics related to value-added agricultural opportunities and challenges. The vision of the program is to improve the competitiveness of agricultural producers, businesses and entrepreneurs through the ongoing, purposeful connection of resources and partners along the value chain and increased knowledge of opportunities, technologies and trends.

This next step for AURI is part of our conscious plan to grow with intention as an organization. I believe this rebrand is empowering and know that AURI Connects will continue AURI’s reputation as a first-class developer of new networks and reliable expertise in far ranging fields of endeavor.

The new logo represents the relationship between these three elements and their overarching goal of bringing innovators together for the benefit of all.

As we move forward through the rest of 2020, and beyond, I am excited about all of the opportunities AURI Connects offers. Be it our new Webinar Wednesday series, the convening of industry thought leader groups, the Fields of Innovation series, or next year’s New Uses Forum, AURI Connects is certain to provide participants with a new experience and a broader set of offerings to meet the needs of Minnesota’s agricultural sector.

In the meantime, if you are interested in learning about current AURI Connects events and networking options, be sure to visit AURI’s website at