#Innovidual Jenny Manner
We’re a company full of innovative individuals, or as we call them, #innoviduals. This recurring series highlights some of our best and brightest employees by sharing their unique wisdom and technical know-how.
Our latest #innovidual is Jenny Manner, FedRAMP Project Manager for Leidos Digital Solutions, Inc. (DSI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Leidos. DSI provides innovative IT solutions to elected officials and government offices across the United States. Their flagship product Intranet Quorum (IQ) is a FedRAMP authorized CRM that is used by almost two-thirds of Congress, more than 50 percent of state governors, and more than 100 federal, state, and local government offices.
Tell us about your work and what keeps you motivated.
What keeps me excited about my job is that we are in the business of helping government help people. The work we do with elected officials serves the political process, but is entirely not political. We make it possible for government entities to track a specific request to make sure it gets handled in a timely and efficient manner. It ties into the whole “of the people, by the people, for the people” concept because our product helps people be heard.
“The right of the people … to petition government for a redress of grievances” is important enough that it’s in the First Amendment along with free speech, free press, and freedom of religion. As long as we serve that mission, we’re doing something important. And as a private citizen, I believe deeply in public service. It’s an honor to be able to bring that value to work every day and to work with a team where it’s the norm, rather than the exception.
Why is innovation important in your role?
The needs of government users change, and we’ve changed along with it. In my role as FedRAMP PM, I was responsible for making something new happen for our program: getting IQ FedRAMP authorized. Something like that can’t be a solo effort – it takes a great team. Many federal agencies were slow to take an interest in cloud applications because early on there were more questions than answers about how that should work. FedRAMP has clarified that, both for the agency and for the provider. It’s allowed us to apply the decades of experience we have with on-premise deployments in customer data centers and translate to a model that reduces the burden for the customer in terms of ease of implementation and back-end support.
Going forward, it’s all about connecting what we do well, the existing expertise from teams in our program, in a way that opens new business opportunities. Connecting the dots, figuring out what’s missing, and then bridging the gaps, allows us to get from where we are to where we need to be. We are and have always been focused on the constituent as the ‘C’ in our CRM.
What does innovation mean to you?
Innovation is the opportunity to do something challenging and creative in the course of doing my work. It keeps things interesting and allows me to keep learning. It’s about putting being relevant ahead of trying to be perfect, and being unafraid to ask questions or have an idea rejected, because those are also the paths to achieving something new.
What does innovation look like?
In improv comedy, there’s the idea of “yes, and…” It means that the improviser can’t reject an idea another actor introduces. Instead, the actor has to say “yes, and…” and roll the new material right into the story to see where it goes. I think that’s what innovation looks like: “This is the way things work. It’s what we’re good at.” “Yes, and… here’s this new requirement/idea/opportunity. What happens if we add that to the mix?”