Get ready to innovate arm in arm with the best in the business. CO-OP Financial Services is partnering with OpenIDEO, and with the support of MasterCard, to bring credit unions together to collaborate as an entire movement. Using human-centered design, OpenIDEO and CO-OP are developing a platform that makes it easy for credit unions to better realize their potential as leaders within their community and within the credit union movement.

“This partnership is making it possible for credit unions to tap into the proven innovation processes of OpenIDEO, one of the world’s leading experts at bringing together communities to innovate,” says Samantha Paxson, Chief Marketing Officer, CO-OP. “Using human-centered design principles, credit unions will bring innovation for financial services to the next level – generating ideas, solving member issues based on their needs, creating better products and collaborating with each other more productively than ever.”

The initiative has kicked off with a fellowship for six credit union executives who have an interest in intrapreneurship and innovative thinking. Fellows came together at GAC in Washington, D.C, for hands-on training with the OpenIDEO team. Fellows quickly went from not having heard about design thinking to co-facilitating a design thinking workshop for over 40 credit union leaders. At the workshop, everyone from board members to staff collaborated to brainstorm ideas on how to develop more member-centered financial services. Ideas ranged from a national campaign to learn more about members’ needs to a creativity gym for credit union branches.

In the months to come this effort will:

  • Listen to credit unions about the concerns and challenges they – and their members – face every day.
  • Provide toolkits to help credit unions share their perspectives and ideas.
  • Work with a select group of credit union leaders and innovators on issues that matter most to them – training them to bring human-centered thinking to their own credit unions and the movement at large.
  • Offer a forum for innovators and an opportunity to prototype with help from MasterCard’s incubator.
  • Develop a digital platform for a June launch, to inspire collaboration and foster ideas.

Who Is OpenIDEO?

Six years ago the world renowned design firm IDEO launched OpenIDEO in order to enable people around the world to collaborate while using its innovation methodology. If you aren’t familiar with IDEO’s name, you probably are familiar with some of the products and concepts they’ve had a hand in developing, including Apple’s first mouse, Swiffer floor sweepers and Bank of America’s “Keep the Change” initiative. Today, IDEO works with a wide range of industries, from healthcare to education, the automotive industry to airlines. Their idea: Design thinking can apply anywhere – with innovative results.

OpenIDEO delivers the innovation process via both an online and offline collaboration platform. Here, people from around the world come together to tackle some of society’s most complex challenges. During the CO-OP THINK Prize 15 Financial Empowerment Challenge more than 15,000 people from around the world visited OpenIDEO’s platform to contribute ideas, feedback and support.

“We can’t wait to see the ideas that come out of this partnership,” says Paxson. “Credit unions alone have the capacity to meet the rapidly-changing needs of consumers while staying true to a long-standing heritage of social responsibility. With this initiative, we hope to bring light and air into the industry. Whatever your challenges are, we can all collaborate on new thinking for a new day.”