Disruption Challenge


Day 3 of THINK 13 started with a lively “Disruption Challenge”, pitting Team Measured and Team Massive against each other, supported by Team Experts to debate if the credit union needs massive or measure change.

TEAM MEASURED (Sandra Scott, Jill Nowacki, Frank Diekmann)

TEAM MASSIVE (Sarah Snell Cooke, Patrick Baster, Michael Bell)

TEAM EXPERTS (Chip Filson, Mollie Bell, Brandie Stankovic

Team Massive: Their argument was based on the observation that credit unions were founded on massive change, from their inception over changes in their loan products to home owners and small businesses. The credit union industry is fueled by massive change and disruption. Historically, the credit union movement has been too reactive and not proactive enough, this is a major threat in disruptive times.

Team Measured: The opposing team answered with their theme: Measure change is change you can measure- with success. Extraordinary growth of credit unions is the last two years has shown that measured change pays dividends. Credit unions and living breathing examples of sustained improvement and ongoing value. Believing in measured change doesn’t mean being opposed to change. If massive means the abandonment of core values, then we’re on the wrong path. The more massive the change, the more resonant becomes the idea of the financial co-op.

The initial reaction by the audience was split, favoring a mix of massive and measured change.

What are the common elements for changes in the credit union movement? Persuasion Campaigns, creating a learning opportunity, institutionalizing the change effort. The key to successful change is adoption throughout the credit union and making sure the change goes through measured processes.

What should credit unions do adapt to evolving payment options? Credit Unions should stop the “affirmative action” approach to banking, focus on the members they serve best and not serving everybody. Most importantly, focus on multi-channel strategies.

How important are branches for members? It depends on your strategy. If you’re focusing on older team members, branches remain an important part of the members experience, when younger members are your target, a multi-channel strategy is much more important. Data Insights will be your best friend. Branches are not dead. It’s all part of building relationships and just one channel to reach members.

What is the role of credit unions in the financial institutions ecosystem? People like the idea of the cooperative model but credit unions can’t be everything to everybody. By definition a relationship will be a generation or longer in duration.

When the first Q&A ended, 80% of the polled audience believed that credit unions must respond to disruptive change with disruptive changes.

The disruption challenge ended with a spirited debate. We chose the best tweets following the debate:

“There’s a clear advantage to being a first mover, but doesn’t always have to be an either/or.”

“Deep knowledge of your members should drive your marketing efforts.”

“Measured change vs. massive change? Kodak avoided disrupting retailers’ film developing business, despite pioneering technology in digital cameras.”

“Technology is a commodity for Generation X and Y. You know what’s not? Your business model.”

“Can credit unions be pseudo-traditional? Still maintain traditional business model philosophy but throw in evolving technology?”

“Merely following others ideas will only get us so far. Creating the new norm instead of following it will lift our industry.”

“Given the value we provide for customers, it’s not okay to have 6-7% market share forever.”

“Ask the average young person what a credit union is, and they will usually respond with a blank stare. Massive change is needed

And the winner is:

Team Massive with 57%.