10 Insights from THINK 16

"Credit unions have a golden opportunity to capitalize on growing demand for social impact. This is your moment to grow." 1. Consumers are looking for both social mission and innovation from their financial institutions. We launched CO-OP Purpose to offer a unique opportunity for credit unions to reach members on multiple levels. The program extends our movement’s traditional “people helping people” mission to include financial literacy education outreach, philanthropic and charitable giving, new ways of collaborating with colleagues and consumers, and help understanding the business case for corporate responsibility through dedicated research. For credit unions, having a social mission is a source of pride. But in an increasingly conscious world, it’s also a solid business asset. Around the world, 66 percent of respondents to a recent Nielsen TV survey say they’re willing to pay more for products and services that come from companies who are committed to positive social and environmental impact.   "Put forth effort to help people understand their finances, loans and goals." 2. When young consumers think about banks, they think about Wall Street. When young consumers think about credit unions, they think about people. Millennials want to work with businesses that have a social mission. Fifty-one percent said they want to get personally involved in making the world a better place, and 69 percent want businesses to make it easier for them to get involved. Bring “people helping people” to life and have a competitive advantage over banks.   Companies with a higher purpose are more profitable than those that just think about the bottom line. 3. Your credit union is there to serve, rather than compete against, societal interests. Your credit union’s own economic interests ultimately are better served by structuring and operating your business to achieve these greater goals. Embrace a higher purpose by serving and creating distinct value for your key constituents. Only when you do this authentically, operationally and comprehensively will your long-term financial objectives be realized.   "I wake up every morning and try to put myself out of business. It's a lot more fun to put yourself out of business than wait for someone else to do the same." -Gary Vaynerchuk 4. “I wake up every morning and try to put myself out of business. It’s a lot more fun to put yourself out of business than wait for someone else to do the same.” -- Gary Vaynerchuk Innovate and challenge your thinking daily and don’t get complacent.   "What changes the minds of people are experiences. Because experiences are changing them." 5. Various psychological studies are showing that people are happier when their money is spent on living, rather than on having. That doesn’t mean you need to create large-scale, complex experiences. If done right, small experiences can create truly sticky content. If executed properly, and documented well, your credit union experience will drive your members and the press to tell your story better, and more authentically. Members are willing to spend more than something is worth if they value the experience as an overall part of the product.   "Don't underestimate the ripple of effect of what you do. These kinds of actions...have toppled empires." 6. Leila Janah and her insightful keynote about Samahope illustrated what a small investment means to the impoverished around the world. Your contribution in the community, as small as it may be for some initiatives, can change the world.   Purpose + Innovation = Opportunity 7. Your formula for success.   Credit unions can become the human-centered financial services of the future. 8. Credit unions can become the human-centered financial services of the future, but getting there is going to require new tools. This week at THINK 16, CO-OP Financial Services and OpenIDEO announced the Credit Union Innovation Project, an initiative powered by CO-OP and MasterCard, with the goal of delivering on the “people helping people” mission for a new generation of consumers. This initiative is unlike any before in the credit union industry. It brings design thinking, collaboration and, ultimately, transformative innovation to credit unions nationwide. Credit unions and OpenIDEO’s global community have the opportunity to collaborate on and execute collective ideas. The result is a wellspring of human-focused ideas to move the credit union industry forward – along with new processes to generate, iterate and implement ideas in the future.   "Pain is temporary. Suck is forever." 9. Or in other words: Quality is the best business plan.  
And, the CO-OP team has some serious skills.