Don't turn the lights off on this town just yet. despite doomsday headlines, Edward Morrison is optimistic about the hometown he's been away from for more than three decades.
"Cleveland is not dead or dying," Morrison says. "Within five minutes of my office on [the Case Western Reserve University] campus there are four groups I could point to that are doing groundbreaking research. What I see--after 35 years away--is that much is happening here and so much more is possible. There are incredible opportunities just waiting to be seized."
A veteran in regional economic development circles, Morrison, 53, is the new executive director of the Center for Regional Economic Issues (REI) at Case's Weatherhead School of Management, which assists the business community in capitalizing on Northeast Ohio's strengths.
Morrison wants to persuade the regional leadership to create an "innovation economy." His way of thinking isn't merely about attracting and retaining technology-based companies or cutting-edge industries, but rather coercing an attitude adjustment that creates and considers new strategies, new products, enhanced productivity, lower costs, bold ideas and new markets.
"We have to ask ourselves how can we make it easier, faster and cheaper for all companies in Northeast Ohio to innovate," says Morrison, whose brother Hunter is married to Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell
The Cleveland Foundation and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland …