When I graduated from Filene’s i3 program in September, I remember being a little sad it was over. My tenure in that program created some of the greatest friendships I’ve experienced in my career. There’s just something about innovating a new product, playing an entreprenurial role, and volunteering to do something that impacts the greater good of our movement that creates a bond that’s tough to achieve from a conference or even coworkers from within your organization. I’d recommend that experience to anyone who has a yearning to make a difference.
Since I left my credit union in April, I’ve had the priviledge to play a new role with the Filene Research Institute in their innovation lab. I’ve been able to observe projects come in and out of the lab and even help shape a couple. It’s amazing to see how innovation comes alive through Filene. While i3 is one piece, they are constantly scanning the landscape to seek out new ideas and products that can help the future of the credit union system. It’s fascinating to witness and learn from people like Denise Gabel who have a true passion for innovation. However, there’s special meaning when one of your original team projects gets a little space in the Filene Lab.
I’ve learned that it takes much more than a good idea. It takes passion, ownership and sometimes a leap of faith to see it come together. And while we all want to hit a home run with the big idea, sometimes its those small, incremental innovations that makes the biggest impact. Ideas like Debt in Focus and the Savings Revolution do just that. They build on existing ideas and make our movement stronger.
I’m excited to say that one little innovation made its way into the innovation lab and ironically by its namesake is taking “The Leap“. It won’t revolutionize the credit union system, nor will it be a savior to this year’s business plan. But it solves a problem and enhances good business strategy.