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Innovation Through Complex Times

Members from the renowned i3 program were invited to a panel presentation at our April research event to discuss the importance of not only having an innovative idea, but being able to pivot to adjust to complex current environments like the ones we are experiencing with COVID-19.

As we step into a future that is impossible to know, we’re all experiencing and learning how to lead with more questions than answers. What we thought we knew isn’t able to serve us anymore and our ability to learn is the most important muscle that we can strengthen right now.

As credit union leaders, we work in a different world than we did even a few months ago. Credit union members are experiencing these changes faster and in more complex ways than we can respond to individually. This year, the pandemic and recession called us to work more closely with risk, uncertainty, and connection to community than anything we imagined ourselves leading through. Innovation writer Ann Pendleton-Jullian calls this a white-water world: "a world that is rapidly changing, hyper connected, and radically contingent."

Members of our i3 program discussed the importance of not only having an innovative idea, but being able to pivot to adjust to complex current environments like the ones we have experienced with COVID-19.

Four i3 team concept videos were examined and credit union participants were invited to provide comments, feedback, and ask better questions to help be the teams’ blind spots, see undiscovered opportunities and be partners and allies of these ideas.

  • Team Delorean addressed the challenge of transportation insecurity with an auto usage program designed to drive a new type of financial relationship: a CUSO-owned fleet of cars for use at a fixed monthly price.
  • Team Misfits explored the opportunity of credit unions to facilitate mutual aid between members. They said mutual aid is an untapped opportunity to connect those who need help with those who can help, and that credit unions are well-positioned in their communities to facilitate those connections.
  • Team Orange for Now took on the concept of ‘scaling Everest’ – or in other words, saving for retirement. Some say it is a marathon, not a sprint, but for many people nearing retirement age, it really is a sprint – especially if you are among the 69% of Baby Boomers that don’t think they will have enough to retire comfortably. A personalized, AI-driven video summary of a person’s monthly spending and advice driven by the credit union was their proposed solution to address saving now and for the long run.
  • Team Beyond Boundaries addressed the precarious future of work and the increasing number of credit union members relying on gig work for their primary source of income. They introduced a tool and framework to guide strategic planning to include the gig worker, called “The Arrow," designed to facilitate conversation about how the credit union is supporting the financial health of gig / contract workers.

Additionally, concept videos are available for Team Cabana on credit unions’ unique abilities to meet members’ needs, Team i3Candy on building trust in remote work environments, and Team Full Steam 5 on serving essential workers.

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