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3 Steps toward ‘ultra’ innovation at your credit union

first_imgWhen I worked at P&G, we were taught that big, watershed ideas are rare. To make P&G more and more effective and successful, we didn’t need to reinvent the wheel, we just needed to make incremental improvements in our products and how we produced them every single day.As a sports nut, I often think about this in terms of baseball. There aren’t a lot of home runs hit in the game. You can’t plan your game swinging for the fence all the time. What you want to do to win is get on base and advance the runners.Here are three things you can do to help your credit union innovate incrementally on a daily basis.Search for good ideas and reapply them to your unique situation. At P&G, I learned that good ideas can come from either inside or outside of the organization. Once you spot a good idea, you can innovate by applying it well to your own offerings. For example, consider the idea of “ultra” cleaning products. Laundry detergent started off as a powder, then became liquid, and then more condensed liquid with the idea that consumers would use less of it each time. P&G took this laundry soap idea and reapplied it to fabric softener, dish detergent and other products. Notably, using the search-and-apply approach to innovation requires doing rapid prototyping of the new offering to make sure it works in your market. 62SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,John Pembroke Since joining CUES in March 2013, John Pembroke has played a leadership role in developing and launching a new direction in CUES’ strategy, branding and culture. Under his guidance, CUES … Web: www.cues.org Details Give members something they need. At the core of innovation is easing members’ points of pain. You need to understand what these are, and stay on top of how they are changing, through member interaction and conversation. What you learn from your members will point to ways to innovate incrementally. To do this well, credit unions need to do the disciplined work of teaching employees to have empathy for those they serve. This is critical to developing the kinds of solutions that actually solve member problems.The curriculum of CUES’ Strategic Innovation Institute includes more in-depth information about the search and apply approach to innovation. Participants will also learn from world-class professors about the role of empathy in innovation. In all, attendees come away from the two-year program (the first at MIT, the second at Stanford) with an in-depth understanding of innovation in relation to strategy and the techniques they can use every day in their shops to have ongoing incremental innovation.To me, if you’re going to continue to evolve your credit union, business innovation plays a critical role. Innovation and evolution go hand in hand. Deliver something new to your members one day; revise something else the next. Both help you deliver great service to members.center_img Make innovation and creativity part of your evaluation of every team member. At P&G, we were evaluated on seven or eight characteristics, or “what counts” factors, including leadership, working effectively with others, thinking/problem-solving, technical mastery of your job function, and—you guessed it—creativity and innovation. Creativity can be taught. last_img read more