THINK 17 Attendees Head Back to the Office. What Now?

This week, attendees of the most transformative THINK conference ever are heading back to the office.

This week, attendees of the most transformative THINK conference ever are heading back to the office. What actionable steps to digital transformation explored in New York City at THINK 17 will these credit union leaders, inspired by engaging speakers, exclusive research and their own peers, begin to put into practice?

Digital is not just a technology. It’s a shift in mindset. That was the storyline of this year’s event. The digital mindset requires an entirely new way of thinking and working. Yet, as we learned through video case studies from The Scott’s Company, Broadway HD and Reebok, legacy companies can get there.

According to exclusive research gathered exclusively for THINK 17 attendees, credit union executives believe in digital transformation and are pushing hard for it. Yet, more than half of those polled also believe they are in an inferior position as compared to purely digital brands like Venmo and SoFi. Changing that position, however, has to come from all levels of the organization, said experts from Google, Disney and the NFL. Each shared that the “how” of digital transformation is an enterprise-wide initiative.

“Digital transformation is everyone’s business,” CO-OP Chief Marketing and Experience Officer and THINK co-founder Samantha Paxson insisted. “Thinking digitally is how smart businesses and the people who run them thrive and survive today.”

Each and every THINK 17 session explored how to make the shift to a digital mindset. Here is a small sample of the learnings shared:

Rather than accepting what is, the digital mindset asks us to see what can be. Disrupted industries, such as music, transportation and books, were transformed largely by people with little-to-no experience in that market or industry. Open your mind to the possibilities by thinking about the problem that needs to be solved, rather than the solution that is most cost-effective or convenient. As best-selling author David Rogers put it: “Don’t fall in love with the solution; fall in love with the problem.”

Lack of technology isn’t slowing digital transformation. It’s the industrial-era operating systems we are using that prevent us from responding to change. As an industry, we can strive to become “solutionairies,” bringing together what is possible with what is needed.

Consumers aren’t benchmarking credit unions against banks. They’re benchmarking us against all their digital experiences, whether online or on their phones. Think Facebook, Netflix and Amazon. Challenge your best thinkers to stop viewing your organization as being in the business of selling financial products and services. We are in the business of creating experiences that need to be as engaging as any other experiences members encounter.

Being agile isn’t enough. We have to be anticipatory. Virtual reality, self-driving cars, 3D printing, artificial intelligence and more – these are the disruptive technologies that might have a direct impact on your business. Who at your credit union is anticipating and applying the possibilities of what can be to members’ “jobs to be done” today? Who is acting like a four-year old and asking, “Why, why, why?” Who is thinking beyond their day-to-day job and truly understanding what problems your members want to solve?

Credit unions can learn more about digital transformation, including how to develop solutions that speak to the true motivations of members, on a June 7, 2017, webinar, “Jobs to Be Done: How to Ensure Success.”

Culture eats strategy for lunch. There’s no parlor trick to motivating employees. People want to feel like they’ve made a difference. Half of your employees will not see the member on a given day. The challenge is humanizing their work. That is the path to employee engagement, and highly engaged employees will provide exceptional service. Laszlo Bock, who helped engineer the culture at Google, said it this way: “Culture is not beanbags, Ping-Pong tables or any other ‘thing.’ It’s a feeling you create and how you treat people.”

THINK will continue as an innovation content platform, inspiring the leadership evolution of the credit union movement. We hope you will continue the digital transformation journey throughout the coming year – and get insights, research and playbooks to enhance your journey on the THINK platform. If you haven’t already, subscribe to our quarterly THINK Review magazine for fresh ideas and critical thinking throughout the year. And start planning for THINK 18, May 7 – 10, 2018, in Chandler, Arizona.