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What the he** is a colloquium?! (And other questions you may be afraid to ask)

I’m a geek. I admit it!

Terms like endogenous variable, econometric model, and even colloquium (or its even-more-difficult-to-spell plural cousin, colloquia) get me excited.

I won’t waste your time explaining the ins and outs of variables and models because that’s what Fileners and our research fellows get paid to think about. But the term colloquium has relevance for credit unions like yours. So, if you’ll indulge this research geek, I’d like to explain what the heck a colloquium is and why you should care.

In its most basic sense, a colloquium is an academic workshop focused on a particular theme or topic. Researchers and those interested in research get together to learn from each other, discuss implications of what’s presented, and hopefully go home inspired to implement a few new ideas.

And that’s what our Filene research colloquia are all about. We host five each year, and each day-long workshop is focused on a specific theme that credit union leaders like you have told us is critical to the survival of cooperative finance.

And yes, in addition to nourishing your mind with brainfood we nourish your body with tasty breakfast, lunch and beverages of choice (more on the beverages later).

But you probably still have a few questions about colloquia, so let’s answer those right now.

Aren't Colloquia just boring academic presentations of data?

No way! C’mon, this is Filene. We don’t do “boring” very well. The researchers who we invite to Filene colloquia have explored fascinating, cutting-edge topics that are instantly relevant to credit unions. And hearing from academics is only part of what goes on.

Tables full of credit union leaders like you engage in provocative dialogue that’s designed to take you out of your comfort zone and to challenge your assumptions. And the provocative conversations often wind up on topics no one expected.

Take for instance our Collective Intelligence colloquium held in April. A presentation by Stanford professor Bruce Cahan on the importance of credit unions showcasing their value to governments and other policymakers quickly turned into a visioning session about the advantages of credit unions redefining themselves as “sanctuary banks” to serve Americans who have been marginalized and forgotten by traditional competitors.

Is there even enough credit union research to keep me interested?

We go far beyond credit union research and delve into topics and industries that may having you scratch your head at first, asking “what does in-vitro fertilization have to do with credit unions?”

In fact, research about the money back guarantees that some in-vitro fertilization clinics offer patients was discussed last year at our Consumer Decision Making colloquium. By the end of the discussion, participants were making natural connections back to the challenge credit unions have in communicating quality and differentiation in unique ways.

On September 14 in Austin, TX, we’ll be hosting America’s Got Talent: Attracting It is the Challenge, our first colloquium for our War for Talent research center. We’ve invited Daron Roberts, former NFL coach and founding director of the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation at the University of Texas, to share how credit unions can become better recruiters of top talent by learning from his pro sports experience and teaching.

Filene colloquia are only for credit union CEOs, right?

No offense intended, but how boring would that be to have a room full of only credit union CEOs talking about important topics like recruitment strategies or how consumers relate to money?

Anyone who works at a credit union and is open to actively participating in provocative, strategic dialogue about hot credit union topics is more than welcome to attend. The diversity of viewpoints, experience, and roles help make Filene colloquia a true laboratory of thought and encourages those who attend to challenge their own beliefs. Why, we’ve even had a few board members attend in the past!

And if you come from a Filene member credit union there’s no registration cost for you to attend. It’s a benefit of your membership.

What about those beverages of choice?

We’ve heard loud and clear that participants want added time to network and talk after the event with their colleagues. You’re invited to join us the night before our colloquia for optional dine arounds or stick around afterward for a hosted cocktail reception. You know it as well as we do-- the best ideas often come from a casual conversation with a beverage of choice in hand.

So, what’s stopping you?

Join us for America’s Got Talent: Attracting It is the Challenge September 14 in Austin to learn how to up your credit union’s recruitment game. Or, register for FundaMENTAL: The Mind-Money Connection on November 8 in Tucson, AZ, where we’ll dive into the minds of our members and how they emotionally relate to money. Our spring 2018 Colloquia line-up is ready for you to check out, too.

And, no, if you attend one, we won’t make you spell or define “colloquium!”

Let me know if you have any other burning questions about our Research Colloquia, our Centers of Excellence or statistical relationships between various economic quantities pertaining to a particular economic phenomenon under study.