INDIANAPOLIS - The new chief executive officer of the Indiana Innovation Institute says he's excited to lead a "disruptive approach" to solving problems in the national security space. Steve Kelly, who will begin his new role at the end of the month, says one of the main factors that attracted him to the job was the strong support by state and local leadership for the work being done at IN3. 

IN3 is an applied research institute that helps facilitate and manage collaborative research among a number of partners, including higher education institutions and Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Kelly said he hopes to leverage his more than 25 years in national security to further the institute's mission.

"I think I've got a pretty good understanding of both where the security community can be slow moving, but also where it can be rapidly moving and ways to help the clients be able to move faster," said Kelly. "So there's a business process inside the government and inside industry. Certainly, there's a level of nerd enthusiasm that I think is important in this area because, especially in R&D, you're dealing with stuff that represents a technical risk so I think helping teams assess what the risks are, undertaking things that may have a high technical risk but can have a high technical payoff."

Kelly says the important part of an organization like IN3 is to bring the big players in the defense research industry together.

"The big players already have their own capabilities. They're focused on delivery. They've got good development opportunities, but in today's environment there are more opportunities and more work to be done in developing and delivering those opportunities than any one organization can muster. When you can get an organization that's really focused on putting together a network to not only capture programs but actually help clients build programs from the ground up, often times you just don't have the resources in the existing organizations to make that happen."

Kelly says the model that IN3 uses creates a wider set of tools to help solve certain challenges, especially ones that other organizations may not have the time to tackle.

IN3 says Renuart, who has served as chairman and CEO since 2017, will remain as chairman of the nonprofit's board of directors.

The Indiana Innovation Institute is headquartered in downtown Indianapolis but also has offices at NSWC Crane and the Indiana University Innovation Center in Bloomington.