Peak One: Story & Innovation

Good stories have purpose, meaning and impact. Story encourages innovation and guides purpose. Story, innovation, and imagination meet to better one’s self, others, and the world.


This week, we sat down with Ryan O’Meara to hear a bit more about Story & Innovation. Ryan started as a Program Intern during our 2019 Accelerator, and is currently our Assistant Marketing Coordinator.

Ryan O'Meara

How have you seen and worked with Story & Innovation while at XI?


When I was supporting the 2019 XI Accelerator and XI Amplify, it was inspiring to watch the cohorts develop. As an intern working directly with startups, I learned that each company was different and needed a variety of creative approaches. Also, Exponential Impact has its own story that has been a thrill to watch. In my time with XI, I’ve seen the launch of the Amplify program and the hosting of the GIST teams through the State Department. More mentors and community members are getting involved with XI and its mission, and XI is continuing to start new programs and initiatives. I’m lucky not only to witness and be a part these changes, but to be able to share them with the community as I coordinate XI’s marketing. I think XI’s story is just beginning and each day the staff find new ways of innovating to develop that story.

How do you think a startup applying for our 2020 Accelerator Program should embrace Story & Innovation?


An Accelerator can do so much for a startup that is ready to grow and scale. Disruptive tech startups should consider applying to the XI Accelerator because it will be an exciting and meaningful “first chapter” of their story. It will affect how they innovate their strategies and business model in order to scale. One of the most meaningful parts of the Accelerator is that startups are a part of a cohort with other teams. They can learn from the experiences (the successes AND the failures) of other founders, and brainstorm together on ways to get around challenges. All of this comes with an open mind, however. There are so many different ways in which a startup might need to pivot. Story & Innovation helps them to take their next steps to success. Teams applying for the Accelerator should be ready, willing, curious, and eager to see how their startup’s narrative will change in our Program.

Share a bit more about yourself. Has Story & Innovation influenced your life in other ways?


In my free time, I enjoy creative writing and photography, and that has required both the ability to tell a story, but also to innovate my approaches. My passion hobby is digging clay out of the earth and firing it into sculptures, which takes an unfortunate amount of trial and error. Especially since I like to make tall and lumpy sculptures. I think as a creative type, I’ve always embraced these challenges, as well as new opportunities. When I got to Colorado Springs, I started working with the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, and later Quad Innovation Partnership. So when I applied to XI, I didn’t understand much about tech. Yet, part of my story and how I innovate is around working with new industries and learning how I can best support them.

It’s also fun to mention that I’m currently attending the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Traveling and living in new places is an important part of my story too.

Story and Innovation