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Structure for Success

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Harvard University | Cambridge, MA | 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Thank you for attending Filene's inaugural colloquium for the Center for Organizational Entrepreneurship.

Prof. Dennis Campbell, a Filene research fellow and professor at Harvard Business School, is leading a multi-year research effort to topple status-quo thinking and build cooperative strategies for competitive advantage and business model innovation.

At this one-day engagement you heard from world-class thinkers and credit union leaders. You returned home knowing:

  • The four factors that comprise a competitive culture
  • How one credit union's culture is designed to attract not just members but merger partners
  • The strongest (often counterintuitive) determinants of customer satisfaction
  • How one credit union is putting member financial well being at the center of its strategy

When the Common Touch Leads to Uncommon Success

What does one of Europe's largest banks have in common with credit unions? Filene Research Fellow Dennis Campbell, professor at Harvard Business School, uses the case of Handelsbanken to show that local decision-making and distributed control can be the path to long-term success. Designing strategy is just a start. Executing that strategy requires emphasis on the things leaders can control from day to day and year to year, like clear authority systems, careful compensation, and zealous employee selection. 

The New Age Credit Union Merger 

When the credit unions that came to comprise Verve started talking in 2014, they had one thing in common: they didn't want a traditional merger. Instead, they wanted to build a platform that would offer a better value to members and employees, but also one that would provide organizational scale and growth opportunities. CEO Kevin Ralofsky and Chief Culture Officer Tammy Williams share how they're defining, building, and using Verve's culture as a competitive differentiator.

What Explains Differences in Customer Satisfaction?

As cooperatives, credit unions prize member satisfaction, often putting it right at the center of culture and management strategy. Ryan Buell, assistant professor at Harvard Business School, shows how cutting edge research illuminates the strongest determinant in customer satisfaction. Using vignettes from dilemmas faced by real, world-class service organizations, ranging from luxury retailer Tiffany & Co. to next-gen consignment shop ThredUp, participants will learn four strategies for enhancing the satisfaction of the members they serve. 

Members at the Center: Culture in the Service of Financial Well-being 

Conexus is one of the largest credit unions in Canada and growing in its core markets in Saskatchewan. In 2013, the credit union decided to go beyond the easy-to-measure member satisfaction scores and focus on financial well-being: how the credit union tangibly improves the financial lives of its members. Jacques DeCorby, EVP Marketing and Communications, maps the journey Conexus is on and shows how a shift in measurement leads to a shift in focus.

What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There

How do you stay nimble as you grow? Established companies and startups alike must channel the energy that fed their success while building structures to support more growth. Certain systems that will help you grow fast, may also limit innovation as companies add new employees or enter new markets. Tatiana Sandino, associate professor at Harvard Business School, shares her research-backed, three-part system for building core values into a system, designing mechanisms that promote flexibility, and engraining an improvement mindset across the organization. 


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