Driving change

Transformation begins by identifying a need.

Eight years ago, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio and Smart Business identified the need to recognize and honor local leaders whose innovation has served as a catalyst for Cleveland’s economic development. The idea transformed into the Innovation in Business Conference, which draws hundreds of business leaders each year.

While fear of the unknown causes many people to resist change, without transformation we can’t improve or grow. As business leaders, it is our responsibility to create an environment that fosters creativity, idea generation and, ultimately, change.

Like turning lemons into lemonade or grapes into wine — as this year’s theme suggests — the simplest ideas can lead to great transformation.

At Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the local arm of the nation’s largest health care benefits company and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, we are striving to transform the health care industry. To achieve this lofty goal, we are committed to examining and improving current processes in order to improve the health of the people and communities we serve, provide affordable quality health care and become the most trusted choice for health care consumers.

We are also committed to the transformation of the communities where we live and work. Through the support of the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, we recently provided hanging baskets to line the streets of The Historic Warehouse District in Downtown Cleveland through “WOW! In the Warehouse District,” an innovative public/private collaborative launched by Anthem.

The beautification of this area not only instills a sense of pride in the community, it helps promote economic development by encouraging businesses to move into the area.

As the Cleveland landscape continues to transform from its manufacturing roots into an diverse economy driven by industries such as health care, finance and technology, it is important to applaud those who are leading the transformation through their innovation.

On behalf of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, we are honored to once again be the presenting sponsor of the Innovation in Business Conference. Thank you for your role in transforming Cleveland’s landscape.

Joseph M. Laguardia is regional vice president of Group Sales for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio. Reach him at (800) 442-1832 or www.anthem.com.