Think Outside the Cube

Filene think-tank participant offers insights on innovation.

November 29, 2011

In September, Local Government Federal Credit Union Communications Manager Michael Spink was selected to join the Filene Research Institute’s i3 group.

Filene i3 is a work group of innovative, insightful and energetic credit union professionals who strive to create new ideas, innovate, and implement for the benefit of the credit union industry.

Spink tells Credit Union Magazine what he hopes to get out of this credit union think-tank and describes his approach to innovation.

CU Mag: Why did you want to join Filene’s i3 program?

Spink: I applied because I heard it was challenging, that it fostered personal growth, and was extremely rewarding. I also respect the work Filene does, and wanted to tap into the minds of people with the same type of thinking.

It’s time to look at new ways of doing things, and we’re all too slow going about it. Simply put, I like the “think, do” mentality Filene adheres to and promotes via i3.

Michael Spink
Michael Spink is communications manager for Local Government FCU.

CU Mag: What do you hope to get out of i3?

Spink: I hope to gain the knowledge and tools I need to positively change the world.

Without meaning to sound hokey, credit unions have that ability.

CU Mag: What’s one innovative effort taking place at Local Government Federal?

Spink: At Local Government Federal, we’re changing the way we think. We want to handle all our endeavors in innovative ways—from how we market products and go about operations to how we look at compliance and regulation.

It’s time to actually poke our heads out of the trench and really look at the bigger landscape. It’s a different world since we jumped into our foxholes a few years ago.

CU Mag: How will this benefit your CU and members?

Spink: It will make our credit union healthier and more efficient, and will increase the value to our members. We’ll also have a greater ability to respond to member needs more quickly.

On a grand scale, the benefit is a stronger credit union movement overall. The more we each honestly look at the new landscape, the more we’ll all learn about navigating within it.

CU Mag: What’s the secret to being innovative?

Spink: The willingness to look at things differently, to step out of your comfort zone, and learn from—not condemn—your failures.

CU Mag: What’s one of your proudest professional accomplishments?

Spink: Getting the opportunity to cultivate this new approach to the way we look at business. i3 is perfectly timed to help me out.

CU Mag: What’s one thing your co-workers probably don’t know about you?

Spink: I voted for Reagan—among other things.

LIBBY VERTZ is an intern in CUNA’s publications department. Contact her at 608-231-4096.