Mar 03 '22

The Lab at Filene Increases Capacity for Innovation and Accelerates Credit Union Growth

Josh Sledge
Josh Sledge
Senior Director, Incubation
Filene Research Institute

Filene is proud to announce the newest addition to its innovation program, The Lab at Filene. 

Josh Sledge
Josh Sledge
Senior Director, Incubation
Filene Research Institute

This week during Filene Research Institute’s annual Chair’s Breakfast at the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference, Filene announced the newest addition to its innovation program, The Lab at Filene.

Senior Director of Incubation Josh Sledge announces The Lab at Filene at our Annual GAC Chair's Breakfast.

The Lab at Filene takes the next step in innovation by testing new products and ideas to help credit unions grow and make a positive impact on their members and communities. Each year, The Lab will work with a group of credit union sponsors and stakeholders to select and execute up to six “quick and nimble” tests identified through Filene’s research and extensive credit union network. From there, The Lab will produce actionable insights for credit unions to adopt proven solutions and expand their capacity for innovation.

“True to the nature of cooperation, we didn’t get here alone,” said Filene’s Senior Director of Incubation, Josh Sledge. “From the inspiration of the industry’s biggest innovations to the innovators in Filene’s i3 program to the credit unions and organizations who step up to make sure our industry has a future; we are on the precipice of big things for credit unions striving to make an even bigger positive impact on their members.”

"We are on the precipice of big things for credit unions striving to make an even bigger positive impact on their members."

The Lab builds on Filene’s 15-year track record of successful innovation and incubation to solidify a more efficient testing platform and engage credit union and fintech partners along the way. The ability to expand and scale solutions testing in The Lab each year enables credit unions and key partners to get quick insights to questions while they’re still relevant. While The Lab may test fintech solutions, it intends to have a broader portfolio to look at a full range of innovation opportunities including new distribution channels, partnership strategies for impact and internal practices for attracting talent.

“This is a truly transformational moment,” said Filene’s President and CEO, Mark Meyer. “Credit unions are seeing an overwhelming flow of new ideas, strategies, vendor solutions, and fintech tools, making it difficult to know which ones will actually deliver growth and impact for their institution. To adapt and grow, credit unions need a reliable and efficient testing platform to get quick insights into the solutions and opportunities that interest them the most. A unique ecosystem centered around The Lab will support the innovation we need now and guide credit unions to solutions with the highest potential for success.”

The Lab will have access to academic insights from Filene Fellow Jeffrey Robinson leading our Center of Excellence for Innovation and Incubation, a network of over 500 credit unions across the country that includes a robust leadership community, and a myriad of system partners.

As The Lab kicks off, it is expanding the ecosystem with an exclusive cohort of forward-thinking credit unions and system organizations. These sponsors and partners will support the selection of test topics, offer a broader perspective of innovation from the market and a clear pathway to turning pilot learnings into action.

The innovative organizations first to step up to support and test with The Lab at Filene are Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, Farmers Insurance Group Federal Credit Union and Visa, Inc.

“It is imperative that credit unions invest in innovation and incubation to remain relevant to their members’ changing needs," said MSUFCU CEO April Clobes. "How members interact with the credit union has changed drastically in the past few years and will continue to do so. The Lab at Filene is the opportunity our industry needs to take innovation seriously by testing new tools, strategies and solutions to grow and amplify impact.”

Credit unions and system partners can get involved in The Lab at Filene by becoming a sponsor. Learn more about The Lab at the kick off webinar on April 19 or at our upcoming research event highlighting our Center for Innovation and Incubation on April 5-7.