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Report #125 | | Members | Sign In

How Blue is Your Ocean?

Credit unions can continue to innovate through a value innovation processes showcased in this report.

Executive Summary

Stagnant credit union growth and undifferentiated strategies magnify the need for credit unions to innovate. However, we cannot simply point to the trends occurring in the credit union industry and say, “Go innovate.” Filene Research Institute’s role as a “think and do tank” is to provide you with the tools and venues to understand innovation and growth. 

For example, the i3 initiative is an exciting field-research project that tasks the movement’s next generation leaders with designing tomorrow’s credit union innovation pipeline. i3 operates under an open innovation model whereby we heartily encourage credit unions, credit union organizations, and credit union vendors to take i3 ideas as their own and implement in the marketplace. Since 2004, the i3 initiative has introduced close to 30 specific credit union innovations, ranging from process improvement to new market/ product development. i3 is just one tool available for credit union innovation. This research project similarly aims to provide you with the inspiration and the tools to “go innovate” in a deliberate and creative manner.

What is the research about?

This report puts credit unions under the “value innovation” lens of analysis. To ensure that we created a realistic and useful framework, the research team conducted in-depth interviews with industry leaders in fall 2005, and hosted a two-day workshop with 75 credit union senior executives from around the United States in January 2006. The resulting insights of this research are set forth on the pages that follow. Specifically, this report will:

  • Introduce the value innovation framework and its applicability to credit unions;
  • Furnish examples of value innovation at work in the financial services marketplace;
  • Provide a set of tools that can be used to revitalize credit unions’ strategy development.

What are the credit union implications?

This report is an inspiration to an industry that is not burdened by the demands of stock market returns to think big through thinking differently. Credit unions, more than any other segment of the financial services industry, have the opportunity to innovate, in part because their customers are their owners. Credit unions should be able to co-opt members and engage them in improving their experience, hence strengthening the credit union value proposition. Others have done it, why not us? Reframing the old and the familiar, seeing and creating opportunities where others do not, positioning the organization to think in different terms—these and more are the purposes of innovation.

This report is sponsored by Fiserv, Inc.