Feb 28 '22

Innovation Can't Wait

Josh Sledge
Josh Sledge
Senior Director, Incubation
Filene Research Institute

If we look all the way back in history, we see the organizations that implement innovations are the ones that succeed. But to be that kind of organization, we need to grow and develop innovative people.

Josh Sledge
Josh Sledge
Senior Director, Incubation
Filene Research Institute

As Filene Fellow Dr. Jeffrey Robinson of our Center for Innovation & Incubation describes it, “innovation is really applied creativity.” It’s nice to have ideas but turning them into practices, products or approaches that improve upon something else is what defines innovation—and credit unions will need to focus on innovation within their organizations to remain competitive. Dr. Robinson isn’t subtle about his point: if we don’t innovate, we die. 

In the latest issue of The Asterisk, Filene shares stories of the impact that the credit union industry’s most innovative people are having on their organizations and on cooperative finance. Along with resources to advance you and your team’s competency on innovation and opportunities to join networks and communities of like-minded innovators—because teaming up and working together on implementing innovation can supercharge big improvements.

A Transformational Moment

Credit unions, let this be your rallying call: “If we don’t innovate, we die.” Yet don’t let the harshness of that point scare you. This is an exciting transformational moment, and one that credit unions have long prepared for. In fact, credit unions were born of innovation—an alternative option that improved upon the best financial services options available at the time. 

"We have what it takes to creatively apply ideas and distinguish ourselves as leaders, not followers."

We have what it takes to be innovative organizations, full of innovative people with an innovative culture and the ability to implement. We have what it takes to creatively apply ideas and distinguish ourselves as leaders, not followers, in the financial services space. We have what it takes to differentiate on our value proposition and make transformational impact in our communities. We have what it takes to collaborate and work together to make our impact bigger than the sum of our parts.

The Lab at Filene

To help you get there, I am excited to announce The Lab at Filene, the newest addition to our innovation program which engages credit unions in designing and executing an annual slate of pilots to test emerging solutions for growth and community impact. The Lab provides an efficient platform for exploring new products and strategies and getting answers to the questions that matter most. It creates capacity for you to rapidly test and implement the next generation of products to grow your organization and mission. True to the nature of cooperation, we didn’t get here alone. From the inspiration of the industry’s biggest innovators, many of whom share their stories in this newest issue of The Asterisk, The Lab at Filene came to be.

The Lab at Filene is one piece of the bigger Filene innovation picture. It enables us to build on the questions and new ideas emerging from Filene’s Centers of Excellence and communities and return actionable insights and solutions for credit unions to put into action in real and tangible ways. Together with support from innovators in Filene’s i3 program, we are on the precipice of big things for credit unions striving to make an even bigger positive impact on their members and communities.

You’re invited to join us — we’re not waiting to innovate!