Innovation Awards Nominee
Grant Elliott, Ostendio CEO
What does innovation mean to you?
To me, innovation is about changing the way people look at a situation and/or problems. When a truly innovative solution is implemented, people look back and wonder why they ever did it any other way.
What makes your company/organization innovative?
Most organizations look at security from a top down perspective. They delegate strict controls and expect people to follow them blindly. MyVCM solves the problem from the bottom up. It gives the workforce visibility into how their individual contribution impacts security as a whole. Increasing motivation, teamwork and ultimately improving the security of the entire organization, people become invested and feel they are part of the solution, rather than part of the problem
What or who are some innovative companies or people that inspire you and your team?
Any organization that defies expectations and changes the rules of the game. Google, Skype, Facebook - none of these organizations had the right to succeed because their initial business proposition defied all conventional wisdom. Yet succeed they did and went on to be more successful than most conventional companies.
What about Greater Washington has positioned us as an innovative region?
Historically, the DC metro area has been undervalued when it comes to investor opportunities but that has started to change in a big way over the last few years. With organizations like 1776, the relative innovation funds in DC, VA and MD, this area is attracting a host of new investors who are frustrated by the overvalued companies in San Francisco, Boston and NY. In particular, because of the highly talented technical workforce in DC, Cyber Security is becoming a hub here which is also making it a great place for a company like Ostendio.
What advice would you give to up-and-coming leaders striving to be innovative in today’s business environment?
The most important trait you need is perseverance, because everyone wants to box you into a market they understand. But if you are truly innovative, that may not always be helpful. I have a magnetic Dorie (from finding Nemo) in our office with the speech bubble "just keep swimming". Regardless of how good your product is, you are still going to need a lot of luck and a huge amount of perseverance to succeed in the long term. Have faith in your concept and "just keep swimming".