From Oceanit’s CEO: A New World – Operating in a Black Swan Event

COVID-19, Intellectual Anarchy
PKS conference panel

Dear Oceanit Ohana and our extended community,

These are indeed challenging times. We are living in what can only be explained in the context of a Black Swan Event — a rare and unexpected turn of events – the Coronavirus Pandemic. COVID-19 is already having enormous social, financial, economic and human consequences around the world and here at home. Impacts are further exasperated with the collapse of the energy industry, destruction of the capital markets and scarcity of proactive leadership. We are truly living one of the most unique experiences of our lifetime. While we are concerned that government responses have under-executed and failed to adequately anticipate the impact of this pandemic, as well as the challenges that may lie ahead, we feel that Oceanit is prepared.

We have prioritized health and safety and are doing our small part with equipment and innovation to support the brave local and national healthcare frontline workers risking their lives to care for patients.

Oceanit has enacted the WISE protocol—Work In Safe Environments—that enables us to operate remotely while reducing risk and managing safety of our Oceanit Ohana, their families, and extended relatives. In support of our effort to socially isolate, Oceanit’s IT operational team has a done a fantastic job of ensuring a seamless transition to remote work without skipping a beat, enabling Oceanit to continue delivering to customers across many industries, technologies, and geographies.

If we watch or read the news, it all seems pretty grim. However, Oceanit is well positioned for whatever comes next – I’m very optimistic. Oceanit is built for challenging times like this. In the 35 years since Oceanit’s founding, we have weathered several economic storms and downdrafts. Each has its own challenges and opportunities. Each time a downturn happens, we go back to fundamentals – basic ideas of what Oceanit is all about. Oceanit’s agility comes from a key overarching idea about business — that business is Darwinian in nature. When the environment changes, so shall we. Although the best-laid plans for 2020 have been cast aside, the basics still apply and we have pivoted to continue executing groundbreaking research and development, as well as delivering technology to various markets to the benefit of humans and society. We are on track to meet customer needs for innovative solutions, products and technology.

One reason for my optimism is that Oceanit empowers its people with Strategic Principles – a simple idea — given the opportunity, most people, most of the time want to do the right thing – if they just knew the guiding principles. Strategic Principals are shared with everybody at Oceanit and speaks to all facets of the enterprise. They underpin our corporate culture and apply irrespective of being physically present or virtually connected. That’s why people at Oceanit are trusted and empowered to use judgement and think about what is the right decision, since new circumstances are happening at increasing speed, and happening all the time, particularly at the forefronts of science and discovery. It’s the basis of our horizontal management structure, versus the sluggish Corporate processes of most highly stratified, command and control, management structures. We empower our people at all levels, they can move at the speed of thinking.

As the Coronavirus pandemic has descended to our planet, we pivoted into developing a solution – to develop a therapy for the Covid-19 virus — a new project were are sprinting with the same team that has been working on the gNoME (an artificial intelligence applied to genomics) project with DARPA for the last several years. Our goal is nothing short of saving the world from Corona-19 virus with a radically new approach to rapid development and deployment of lifesaving therapies.

Oceanit’s Mind to Market business model is in full swing as we apply Intellectual Anarchy to developing fast-paced, disruptive approaches to a wide range of critical challenges stemming from COVID-19. Intellectual Anarchy – our methodology for the art of disruptive innovation encourages teams to bring agility and speed to experimentation, discovery, prototyping and delivery, and anticipates how disruptive ideas come from all over, all kinds of people, disciplines and places.

We have all the basic ingredients to be successful during these changing times – we have the right people, culture and environment. I believe in each of our Oceanit Ohana, and I have no doubt that you will “bring the magic” while working under trying circumstances enabling us to continue impacting humans and society with great innovation and technology from high quality science and engineering.


Patrick K. Sullivan