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Shelly Lazarus, Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather, Explains Importance of Innovation on The CEO TV Show with Robert Reiss

The CEO TV Show with host Robert Reiss in this episode interviews Shelly Lazarus, Chairman and former long-time CEO of Ogilvy & Mather, one of the leading advertising agencies in the world. The Lazarus interview focuses on the importance of innovation in business. Lazarus talks about the characteristics and essentials of innovation: The difficulties of innovating, its fragility, obstacles, and the role of corporate culture in fostering innovation.

Ridgefield, CT, December 17, 2011 --( Innovation is at the heart of "creative destruction" that spurs on the global economy, according to Shelly Lazarus, Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather. With the death of Steve Jobs still in everyone's mind, people are asking what made him different and unique. Everyone recognizes that, like Thomas Edison, he had an uncanny ability to innovate on things that already exists, but the way he did it quite literally transformed industries. But is innovation only possible with unique individuals, or can it be developed into a company's corporate culture. On this episode of The CEO TV Show, ( Shelly Lazarus, has a unique perspective on this issue since innovation is also at the heart of Ogilvy's business.

"There's nothing harder than having a good idea," Lazarus stated when asked about why innovation in a company seems so difficult. When it comes to creating an innovative culture, Lazarus says, "Some people, of course, are just naturally innovative. They just naturally think outside of the box - which often is just a polite way of saying they see things in ways that most people would never think of. But it is possible to create a culture of innovation. At Ogilvy we try to do that by creating an environment where innovation can thrive. To do that from the CEO down, the organization has to let people try things that fail. Part of innovation is learning from your failures, not just from your successes."

What are the cultural obstacles to innovation? "Nothing is more fragile than a new idea," Lazarus explains. "It is very easy to kill a new idea - sometimes it just takes a look from a colleague or superior. That's why it is so important to create a culture and environment that encourages innovation and crazy thinking that comes up with the two or three new ideas or developments that re-invents the business."

How does innovation lead to results? Lazarus goes on to explain, "The CEO and leadership team has to keep pushing the envelope in trying new ideas. Openmindedness is critical from top management to keep trying new ideas. A company is very tuned into what gets rewarded and what doesn't. If people get punished for trying something new, then most people won't try something new. Obviously trying new things have to be limited until it has proven itself with results. But in my experience, we have to try 15 things to come up with 4 really good ideas."

So is it possible to create a corporate culture of innovation? "Innovation is often seen as a challenge to the company. Every company has 'standard operating procedures and these aren't set up for change. No one wants to step out of line. But companies really have no choice but to figure out how to create a culture of innovation, because nothing stays the same. Innovation means stepping out of line. So CEOs have to be seen as motivating innovation and rewarding it so the rest of the organization understands how important innovation is to the future growth of the company." In short, a company that doesn't create an innovative culture, doesn't grow.

The CEO TV Show, a service of The CEO Show (, is a weekly program based on a series of video interviews with top CEOs who have changed the fabric of American society hosted by Robert Reiss. In addition to being available at the website above, it is also hosted on a number of affiliate websites, including ACG New York, Vistage, Small Giants, Senn Delaney, NAFE and others.

For more information, contact: Patric Hale, General Manager, "The CEO Show",;;

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