ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (10/15/14)--If PSCU's KnockOut "free-for-all" becomes any more popular, the credit union service organization is going to need more cots and blankets.
The winner of PSCU's KnockOut is Team Tech Attack from Consumers CU, Round Lake Beach, Ill. From left, Bonny Thomas, Katy McCabe, Maria Contreras and Dan Kristiansen. (Consumers CU Photo)
The latest edition of the challenge, which pits teams of credit union professionals against one another in a competition to develop innovative credit union products--in under 24 hours--just ended last month, with a record 34 teams and more than 150 competitors participating.
Teams of three to six people working from four sites--three cities where PSCU has a location, St. Petersburg, Fla.; Allen Park, Mich.; and Phoenix, in addition to Honolulu, where PSCU has a presence--were tasked with creating a credit union product that addressed a challenge facing the credit union industry.
Starting at exactly 10 a.m. (ET)--including the folks in Hawaii who started at 4 a.m.--teams began planning and developing their ideas.
Sleep came at a premium.
"As soon as the bell rings, they flesh out the idea, they put plans together, they divide up the work load," Fredda McDonald, PSCU executive vice president/chief creative officer, told News Now. "It's really a fascinating process to watch how the teams work to make the most use of the time."
"A lot of the teams will form themselves from an interdisciplinary standpoint," McDonald continued. "So you have somebody that's a tech person; you have somebody that's got product knowledge; somebody else that's got the marketing expertise, the ability to tell the story, put it in a graphic format; (and) somebody else that's maybe a good presenter."
At the end of the competition, in a "Shark Tank"-like setting, the teams present their products to a panel of industry experts and go through a round of Q&A. The panel then selects six semifinalists.
This year's panel included representatives from PayPal, Visa, First Data and the Filene Research Institute.
Each presentation and Q&A session is filmed and then sent out to all PSCU credit unions, who ultimately decide the winner of the competition through a vote.
The winner of this year's competition was first-time competitor Team Tech Attack, made up of employees from Consumers CU, Round Lake Beach, Ill., with $614 million in assets. The team won for a balance-transfer app it developed to safeguard user account information.
"The judges really believed it met the key criteria of meeting an important consumer demand, and at the same time it (addressed) a pressing issue for the financial institution," McDonald said. "With more and more data breaches happening ... consumers are more aware than ever that they need to protect their financial institution."
PSCU was so impressed with the product Team Tech Attack created that it plans to work with Consumers CU to develop and implement it into its own operations, according to McDonald, who said that PSCU is planning to roll out the product at its member forum in April.
"People got excited about what was actually developed," McDonald said of the event. "They see KnockOut as an opportunity to participate in something that has a real outcome, a meaningful activity."
McDonald says PSCU is "absolutely" putting the competition on next year in all three locations and likely again in Hawaii.