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The Story of the Centers of Excellence

If you’ve been keeping up with what Filene has been up to this year on the research front, you’ve heard about our Centers of Excellence. But you may be thinking, what really is a Center of Excellence? And how might it help my credit union better serve our members?

Check out this short video that sums up what we’re focusing on in each center.

Filene’s Centers of Excellence explore topics critical to credit unions and the future of consumer finance. We asked our research council which topics were the most pressing factors credit unions face now and ahead that would impact their ability to serve, excel and grow. We listened and built out 5 key themes, each forming into a Center of Excellence on which we will focus our research going forward:

  • The Center for Consumer Decision Making uncovers preferences, changes and trends in money management.
  • The Center for Organizational Entrepreneurship explores strategies for sustained competitive advantage and business model innovation.
  • The Center for Performance and Operational Excellence examines progressive management practices and operational behavior.
  • The Center for Emerging Technologies connects credit unions with the most impactful tech and consumer trends.
  • The Center for the War for Talent helps develop and promote top talent, from the front lines to the board table.

Each center is led by a world-class thinker, guided by credit union leaders and packed with insights to help your credit union serve members better. Let me introduce you to 3 of those world-class thinkers—our Filene Fellows that will be leading the research from several of these Centers—to learn more about what will come out of them and why they are interested in this important research.

Center for Consumer Decision Making

Hope Schau, Associate Dean of Eller MBA Programs and Professor of Marketing at the University of Arizona is our Filene Fellow for the Center for Consumer Decision Making. This Center deals with people’s money behaviors, preferences and emerging trends.

Hope’s past research and experience in this topic will help us to see into the future to spot these emerging trends. Her interests in this area of research, together with her knowledge and expertise will help enable credit unions to capture market share and strengthen ties with existing members through the outputs produced by this center.

In leading this research center, Hope will focus on the consumer experience—investigating consumer preferences, trends, and behaviors in money management. Using her published academic research on consumer behavior and market-oriented experiences, as they relate to technology and innovations, and prior research collaborations with Filene, there are several subtopics within the Consumer Decision Making domain that will be examined as part of this research. Further exploration and analysis of this information will help set credit unions up for success in anticipating consumer decisions and preferences.

Center for Organizational Entrepreneurship

Dennis Campbell, Dwight P. Robinson, Jr. Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School is our Filene Fellow for the Center for Organizational Entrepreneurship. The first research output from this center compared the quality of an organization’s culture to the value of its performance – essentially showing that the better an organization’s culture, the better the organization’s performance.

As part of this research, Dennis looks at cases from in and outside the industry and explores ways credit unions can take the best parts of being a cooperative, a financial institution and a social organization and incorporate it into a unique competitive advantage for their future success.

Center for Performance and Operational Excellence

Hayagreeva “Huggy” Rao, Atholl McBean Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources at Stanford University, is the Filene Fellow leading up the Center for Performance and Operational Excellence. This research center will work on scaling the credit union model so that more consumers can benefit from the cooperative finance model. 

Some planned research activities for this center include Ambidexterity—running current operations while innovating for advantage; Service Delivery Excellence—challenges of creating customer-focused cultures; and Knowledge Sharing—mechanisms to foster the flow of ideas among credit unions to ensure that mistakes are not repeated, and innovations are spread.

The first report is expected to be completed later this year. We at Filene are particularly excited about the launch of this research center as it focuses on the sustainability of credit unions.

In addition to these three Centers, we will also be building out the Center for Emerging Technologies and the Center for the War for Talent in year ahead.

As Fellows, sponsors and initial outputs are finalized, we will keep you updated on these and all other happenings in Filene’s Centers of Excellence. Let me know if you or your credit union would like to connect or learn more about getting involved with this work.