VIDEO: How Cleveland leaders innovate

David Browning, Cleveland Managing Partner, CB Richard Ellis

David Browning, Cleveland Managing Partner, CB Richard Ellis

There’s no wrong answer to the question, “What does innovation mean to you?” And that’s good, because no two answers to this question are alike.

So even after 22 years of asking leaders how they change, renew and improve their organizations, Smart Business is still uncovering new stories of innovation to inspire other leaders.

Over the last few months, we’ve invited several groups of local CEOs into our Cleveland headquarters to discuss how they exhibit innovation in their leadership roles and how they drive that creativity throughout their organizations. We found out that their fresh approaches to business are setting their companies apart and engaging employees in the process.

Here are several video clips to share what we learned from them:

Ralph Dise, Dise & Co.: “Being innovative doesn’t mean that you have to come up with the ideas yourself. It means that you have to give your people the freedom and the reinforcement to be innovative.”

Clark Rose, President, The S. Rose Company: “By becoming a deep listening organization, we believe we can establish the trust that’s necessary for people to reveal ways in which we can be helpful to them.”

Bill Ryan, President, USI Cleveland: “It really boils down to two things: mission and vision.”

Dennis Marvin, President and Owner, Marvin Wealth Management: “We’re innovative because we spend a tremendous amount of time working with our clients to find out their particular and individual needs.”

Steven Nobil, Cleveland Managing Partner, Fisher & Phillips:  “Too many leaders are so set on trying to figure out how to grow the business as opposed to grow the people.”

David Browning, Cleveland Managing Partner, CB Richard Ellis: “Innovation starts with asking great questions. … By broadening the questions, you end up uncovering needs that really drive someone to act in a different way.”

Pete Kever, President, GHI Internet Services: “Don’t be too proud to ask questions and maybe look like you don’t know everything, because you don’t. You may not look like an innovator by asking a customer something that you ought to know already, but you actually are because you’re out there listening.”

Dolf Kahle, CEO, Visual Marking Systems: “…Brainstorm away from the business with the concept that everybody looks at it from the CEO’s eyes. They’re no longer in their little department; they’re CEOs for two days. By getting everybody involved, they’ve all got to think.”

Want more innovation? Join Smart Business and Kaiser Permanente on September 15th for the 2011 Innovation in Business conference in Cleveland. In addition to honoring this year’s Rising Stars, Visionaries and Master Innovators, this year’s event will feature a one-on-one interview with James White, CEO of Jamba Inc. (makers of Jamba Juice), who will discuss how he repositioned the company to launch a new chapter of growth. More details here.