Originally Posted on CU Insight 8/14/2013
The most successful businesses and organizations in the world today are those that place a very high focus and commit a lot of resources to innovation – that is, introducing new concepts of ideas. Many credit unions are realizing how important innovation is and are taking productive steps to ensure that they remain relevant in their respective service areas. Here are 4 habits that great credit union innovators have in common:
Great innovators think long-term. When innovators are designing a strategy or looking to implement a new concept, they are surely concerned with the short-term effects of what is being proposed. However, MOST of their brainpower is dedicated to the long-term benefits of their projects. Here’s an example: the best credit union innovators understand and accept that there will be short-term challenges (financial or otherwise) that accompany new products and services. That being the case, they don’t allow themselves to be consumed by these concerns. They make efforts to minimize risks and challenges and move forward.
Great innovators don’t give up easily. If a leader is passionate and believes in a new idea or concept, he or she will work hard until their concept turns into reality. Innovators don’t give up after the first “no” or the first setback. They make adjustments, modifications, try new things. Ask many of the world’s bestselling authors about their first try at getting a manuscript picked up by a publisher. Most endured hundreds of rejections before finally landing a book deal. They didn’t give up because they believed in their talents and product so strongly that failure was never an option.
Great innovators do tons of research and analyze data. In case you haven’t been paying attention, the players in our global economy are putting huge premiums on big data and consumer research. The most innovative credit unions understand the value of research and data. They have employees who know how to analyze that data, uncover opportunities through their analysis, and create ways to use that data effectively. They key here is to not just acquire the data but to make sure that it doesn’t sit on a flash drive or in a file on your computer that you never look at again. Unfortunately, many credit unions shy away from the costs that are sometimes associated with research and data gathering. Seriously?? You’re not willing to pony up a few hundred bucks for great information on consumer demand, habits, and behavior – whether that data pertain to your existing members or potential members? If the money is all that is keeping you from diving into data, you’re in the wrong business. Move to another industry but I’ll bet that you’ll have a hard time finding a place since big data is everywhere now.
Great innovators read a lot. There are tons of useful resources on the internet, blogs, trade journals, and other publications. Reading helps to keep great innovators inspired and at the top of their games. Great innovators read motivational books and literature. They look for new ideas and methods. They are experts at scanning through blog posts, articles, and books for key words, phrases, and concepts that will be of use to them. They take the knowledge and inspiration that they acquire and apply it to their own lives and businesses. What are some other habits of great innovators? I’d love to see your comments and feedback!