Lead Innovation to Meaningful Uniqueness

CUs are the only intelligent life form in the banking industry, Hall says.

June 27, 2011

Having stupid competitors hurts innovation and leads to complacency, says Doug Hall, CEO and founder of the Eureka! Ranch, an innovation and research think tank.

“The only intelligent life form in the banking industry is credit unions,” he says. “I challenge credit unions to be meaningfully unique. If you’re not, you'd better be cheaper [than competitors].”

He advises credit unions to figure out where they fall in the business life cycle—whether they’re growing or declining. “Would you buy your credit union? If not, the business is declining,” Hall says.

“Use innovation to reboot and restart your growth curve. There's never been a better time to do so than now,” he says, noting the high average age of credit union members.

Hall says credit unions should be winning in the race for the market. “You should be winning tremendously. You should be slaughtering the competition.”

While the world changes faster and faster, most management teams haven’t kept pace, he says. “It’s not enough to give good service. You must be proactive.”

To be more innovative, credit unions should:

  • Explore stimulus. Instead of brainstorming, which sucks ideas out of the head, feed the brain with stimuli;
  • Leverage diversity of ideas;
  • Communicate; and
  • Turn employees into marketers who can identify a member’s problem, promise a benefit from a particular product/service, and offer the proof the product/service delivers.

“Tell consumers why they should care,” Hall advises.