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Innovation Programs

Create thinkers and innovators within your credit union to help solve your most pressing issues.

Filene’s innovation programs help credit unions execute on innovation, ideas, and cultural change. Key elements from the Filene Method—an innovation curriculum developed from a decade of experience in creating, testing, and implementing ideas-are used to lead your team to success.

Case Studies:

Libro Credit Union's Innovation Journey

Brian Aalbers shares how Filene helped Libro Credit Union harness employee passion and creativity to build an innovation framework

Wright-Patt Credit Union's Member Impact Innovation

Eric Bugger explores roadblocks that cause credit unions to miss member pain points and explains how innovation programing helped them see through their members' eyes.

Each program option can be customized to meet your strategic goals. Our goal is to make innovation curriculum affordable and accessible through the credit union industry.

Program options:

Innovation Immersion: A one- or two-day accelerated innovation process that helps credit unions, CUSOs, and state leagues address and prototype solutions for their biggest challenges.
Innovation Infusion: Experience the Filene Innovation Immersion program over an extended four-day period, spread throughout one year to fully infuse the innovation methodology to your organization's culture.​
Innovation Immersion EXT: Ongoing support for Innovation Immersion participants that ensures the methodology learned stays alive, integrates into the organization, and truly drives change.

Your team will walk away with:

  • Strong problem statements formulated from shared insights.
  • A host of new ideas.
  • The beginnings of strategic solutions that have been prototyped.
  • New approaches to pitching innovative ideas to key stakeholders.
  • And, an innovation competency to spread throughout the organization.

How it works:

  • Filene helps you gather 1-3 problems that your credit union, membership, or community faces.
  • You choose a team of 3-12 employees to spend an entire day putting those problems through the Filene Method while learning the innovation process.
  • The programs take place at either Filene’s creative space in Madison, WI, or at your credit union or another nearby creative space—your choice.
  • Filene staff provides tools, research, and inspiration to create innovative solutions to the problems you identified.
  • Program participants receive Filene Method workbooks, hands-on support from Filene's senior leaders, and a professional development experience that yields instant results.



"There are no better professionals than the folks at Filene to help credit unions grasp the value and insights of innovation. Tansley Stearns is nothing short of spectacular. Her wit, knowledge and patience tamed even the most cynical of our managers." Maurice Smith, President,
Local Government Federal Credit Union

"Innovation Immersion is by far the best training program I have been a part of. The program is a thought-provoking journey that starts with identifying problems and ends with prototyping ideas. I have already started to share lessons learned with other colleagues." Bijal Gami, Payments Manager, Local Government Federal Credit Union

"Participating in the Filene Innovation Immersion gets you outside the four walls of your office, your box, and inspires you to think about what could be, and often times what should be, when it comes to serving our credit union Members. It stimulates great conversations and collaboration amongst credit unions, which is a key difference about our industry compared to others. This unique collaborative component of the credit union movement can lead to great innovation in the future." Mindy Mills, Operations Quality Specialist, SchoolsFirst FCU

“The Filene prototying program helped me realize how a quick prototype can make a huge difference in how you interact with an idea. There is nothing that can get you more excited than giving your idea structure. Filene has put the emphasis on the “DO” part of THINK.DO.CHANGE with their hands-on prototyping workshops. This is about making real progress.” Jen Laud, VP of Development, First Financial Credit Union

"Filene Research Institute's Innovation Group helped us to continue to build collaborative efforts with Innovation Credit Union and develop a systemic  launchpad for new ideas within both organizations. The coaching and curriculum that Filene staff introduced was essential in building out the initial phase of this initiative, which has already yielded two new programs that are in the process of being implemented at both credit unions. We are dedicating resources to ensure our efforts can continue in 2015 and beyond, and look forward to continuing to working with Filene as we grow our innovation culture from what we learned. This experience has created positive impact on our strategy and culture which will ultimately lead to even stronger outcomes for our members." - Eric Dillon - Chief Executive Officer, Conexus Credit Union 

"Filene took us to a place where we have not visited for awhile and that was a GOOD FEELING. Thanks for pushing our thinking and vision to a place that I know will help our credit union become even better for our employee's and most importantly our members." - Rick Bennett - Branch Manager, Fort Knox Federal Credit Union

"Filene's innovation immersion brought new life to our credit union. Our innovation team will use the process to continue improving products and processes that will further enhance the financial lives of our members." - Rebecca Ates - Executive Vice President, Fort Knox Federal Credit Union

The Filene Innovation Immersion provided our credit union with the tools, and processes to foster and embed innovation as a fundamental of our service and delivery model. “ - Deborah Colby, SVP – Planning and Member Experience, Patelco Credit Union

“Often I've been to classes where you come away with a tid-bit and that’s a success. The Immersion expanded my toolbox; I came away with another lens to look at opportunities that exist, and a creative way to approach them that makes sense. The class was well worth the time (which went by too quickly) and its one of the rare times you see everyone fully engaged for both days. I want more...” - John Baltzer, Sales Business Manager, CUNA Mutual Group

“Wonderful, thought-provoking course with engaged instructors. This is an effective methodology for innovation that can be used in our daily work to solve problems or deeply innovate. A great day and a half--for a lot of learning and collaboration.” - Christine Jersild, Marketing Manager & Lending/Payment Security, CUNA Mutual Group

“Filene Innovation Immersion is a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-to-work-process that ignites ideas and guides the implementation process. The ability to go through this journey with a diverse group of credit union professionals is truly a privilege.” - Kerstin Plemel, VP Marketing, Greater Nevada Credit Union

“Filene's Innovation methodology is intense, thought-provoking, and fun. Going through this process was a great way to utilize different tools and methods to come up with ideas that can benefit the credit union movement. For those of us with a passion for all things credit unions, this program is an inspiration. “ - Jennifer D’Amico, AVP Marketing, CommonWealth Central Credit Union

 “The Filene Innovation process helped us to think outside the box, be creative, and innovate ideas for our company's future. These will allow our company to remain successful and ahead of the curve.“ - Michael Gross, Assistant Branch Manager, Michigan State University Federal Credit Union

“The program helped me see how to use the ideation process and clearly understand how to turn ideas into innovative action plans. This process used with intention will be instrumental in ensuring our long-term success as a leading Credit Union. “ - Shawn Premer, Vice President – HR, Consumers Credit Union

The Filene innovation immersion session was great. Our organization has been trying to establish a more formal and effective way to integrate innovation into our culture. This session gave us the toolset to do it. I would encourage any credit union to consider bringing the Filene innovation methodology into their organization.” - Jay Murray, President/CEO, Mid-Atlantic Corporate Federal Credit Union

“It was a great day. I learned a lot about the amount of hard work and testing that are required to bring an idea from the generation stage to actual implementation, along with all the steps in between that are important to ensuring success. ‘Although even if you fail, you can fail forward and learn and overcome the obstacles moving forward’.” - Kathy Gibbs, Business Analyst, Innovation Credit Union

“I highly recommend Filene's Innovation Immersion. Our team walked away with new perspectives on problem solving that will change the way we lead.” - Jill Vicente, Chief Strategy Officer, Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union

"Have you ever wondered why sometimes it seems you are more creative than others? Or how some people seem to be an idea machine? Using the Filene methodology is a tool to ensure a higher probability of consistent innovation. Consider the process a virtual thinking hat that somehow is one size fits all." - Tyrone Muse, CEO, Visions Federal Credit Union

"The time we have had with Filene during our innovation immersion program has been extremely motivating and rewarding. One of the best programs I have had the opportunity to be a part of in a very long time. The insights shared and the learning opportunity is invaluable." - Cynthia Schroeder, VP/CIO, Visions Federal Credit Union

"We truly enjoyed our Innovation Immersion Day. I'm confident that the methodology taught will help us with many future solutions." - Karen Church, CEO, ELGA Credit Union

"The Filene innovation collaboration brought a fresh perspective to our credit union and opened up dialogue among our various stakeholders." - Stevan Pirkovic, Board Member, ELGA Credit Union

"The Filene team moved us out of our comfort zone in a fun and meaningful manner! Who knew putting on a funky pair of sunglasses could really help you really see things from the members' perspective." - Linda Brown, CAO and former Filene i3er, Service 1st Federal Credit Union

"As a leadership team we are continually challenging ourselves to build opportunities and solutions that will bring exceptional value to our member credit unions; ultimately helping shape stronger financial futures for Wisconsin consumers. Filene's Innovation Immersion helped the Wisconsin Credit Union League to continue building innovation into our culture. The methodologies and practical approach not only sparked ideas during our one-day session, but will help us to grow a culture of innovation that will ensure that ideas and innovation are a part of who we are as a league well into the future." - Brett Thompson, President & CEO, Wisconsin Credit Union League

"I was one of the original i3'ers and when I first heard about Filene's Innovation Immersion, I was excited about the opportunity to bring the power of participating in i3 to my executive team. I was not disappointed. The day was energizing and intense. The experience challenged us to better understand the members that we serve and build solutions that will best suit their needs. Together we not only learned the methodology, but are now using what we learned to make innovation a part of who we are as an organization. The one day immersion will serve us well for years into the future." - Jeff York, CEO, CoastHills Federal Credit Union

"Our day with Filene was fun, engaging, and packed full of great information! Learning a proven method for innovating was insightful to see that great ideas don't just happen. There is a process to get those ideas into reality which requires a lot of risk, energy, and work. I know that using the Filene Method of Innovation will be helpful in teaching me, a right-brained person, to be a successful innovator!" - Toni Lowrie, Senior Analyst - Payment Services, Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union

"The Filene Innovation Immersion program creates an exciting learning space helping credit union’s see the world from the member’s point of view. The session covered everything from brainstorming ideas to building and testing prototypes. I would highly recommend the program to anyone looking to explore the world of banking from a consumer centric point of view." - Caleb Cook, Vice President of Lending, Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union

"I believe it made me reframe the way I think about solving problems. Too many times, we work with blinders on since we are too close to a process or service and don't see the real needs of consumers." - Richard Romero, CEO, Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union


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