Greater Washington Innovation AwardsTM Finalist Q&A

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Nexus Systems 
Financial Services Innovator of the Year Finalist
Jennifer Coolidge, President & Founder, Nexus Systems

In your opinion, what makes a company innovative? 
Innovative companies aren’t stuck on the status quo and are always aware of emerging trends and pain points. They’re also agile thinkers who can adapt. This dovetails with a willingness to fail, since big ideas don’t always proceed as planned. Innovators recognize that a highly collaborative culture amongst employees is critical for success.    

What makes your company innovative? 
Nexus is innovative because of our employees and their passion for learning. People inherently dislike change but our team thrives when presented with new paths to forge. We encourage employees to speak up and share their ideas as to how things should work. We’re flexible and this enables us to work better with one another and our clients. ­­

What or who are some innovative companies or people that inspire you and your team? 
We’re inspired by Slack, Amazon, SpaceX and Elon Musk. And I’m personally inspired by my daughters.

What are some publications, print or digital, you read daily or have read that help you stay on top of your game?
Some of my favorites are paymentsnews.com, Owler, SaaStr, TED Talks, The Sprint Book by Jake Knapp, and Principles by Ray Dalio.

What advice would you give to up-and-coming leaders striving to be innovative in today’s business environment?
You need to understand your market and your competition very well. You must also be mindful that there’s always a new and better way to do something – and challenge your team to think similarly to not just do things one way because that’s the way it’s always been done. This necessitates that you allow and plan for mistakes and course corrections.
 
My last two pieces of advice are intuition is a highly powerful tool if you use it properly and, sometimes, just don’t overthink it!