Today I am sharing an article with our FLEX Connexions readers that I found to resonate with not only FLEX's mission, but with most of the conversations I have with CUs looking to add new products to their offering for members. Credit Union Magazine published the article "Lessons in Innovation from i3" in which the think tank, Filene Research Institute, discussed how CUs should approach ideas, innovation and implementation (i3) at the CUNA Lending Council Conference in San Diego earlier this month:
The Filene Method of Innovation upon which i3 is based takes a human-centered design approach to innovation, says Tansley Stearns, chief impact officer for the Filene Research Institute... Human-centered design proposes that for an idea to be successful, it must be desirable, feasible, and viable. “We firmly believe that the best innovation for credit unions is grounded in the needs of the people they serve and are working to attract,” Stearns says. “If they can solve the biggest problems their members, potential members, and employees have, those are going to be winning ideas.”
Filene’s i3 program started in 2004. Since that time, Stearns says, it has revealed several essential lessons about innovation, including the need to:
• Foster intellectual curiosity. Teams that approach their i3 experience with an answer-seeking mindset are far more successful than those with an answer-presenting mindset. “Seek answers to tough questions through experimentation, expert guidance, and thoughtful study,” Stearns advises.
• Leverage your strengths and understand your weaknesses. Teams that make the most out of each member’s talents will find that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. “Determine what talents you can contribute to help the team reach its goals,” she says.
• Go slow to go fast. Take your time to gather insights, identify specific problems to solve, and ideate around those problems, Stearns says: “The more specific you can be about these items, the more focused you’ll be when it comes to building a solution.”
• Use google.com. A good, old-fashioned Google search can help you find solutions to the problem you’re trying to solve, data supporting or disproving your assumptions, insights from consumers, information about what competitors and other industries are doing, and more.
• Mine the i3 portfolio. Know what came before you and what you can learn from earlier attempts. “We all want to build ideas from scratch,” Stearns says, “but we must realize that maximizing our impact on consumers and credit unions may mean taking an old idea and making it better.”
• Realize that “perfect” doesn’t exist. “Good enough” usually isn’t good enough for your credit union—but in a six-month innovation cycle, it might be the closest to perfection that you’ll get. “This doesn’t mean you should set low expectations,” Stearns says. “Instead, it means you should keep your eyes on implementation. If you get too hung up on perfecting every aspect of your idea or adding too many features, you’ll never launch your idea."
“Failure to launch is failure. Launching a ‘good enough’ idea is a major success.”
FLEX Innovation is a Major Success
FLEX is the industry’s most advanced credit union core processing system, due mainly in part to innovation. This innovation in credit union core technology has led credit unions of all sizes to experience the FLEX difference. It is by offering a cutting edge product offering CUs did not think were possible due to size or budget that we have found our success.
Innovation is how Tri-Cities Credit Union in Kennewick, WA, a $25M asset CU in Washington state, beat out their billion dollar peers in mobile banking for credit unions and remote deposit by delivering these advanced technologies ahead of the larger competition. It is how our Remote Control Debit Card product has turned CUs on to the advanced security features we can now offer to members. And it is how we are helping CUs nab the millennials with our mobile banking and lending products.
Download our new eBook, "Loans To Go!" to learn how our Mobile Lending product is innovation at its finest, and can give your credit union the edge you need, and not fear technology.