My experience with Filene.

Today, Filene published a blog post I co-wrote called Failure, Future and Cooperative Finance. Here’s the story…

In August of 2012, I was so excited to be invited to participate in the Filene i3 program, focused on ideas, innovation and implementation within credit unions. It was a real honour, and I was lucky enough to get to work with the amazing David Klavitter of Dupaco Credit Union.

He and I worked together on something called the Credit Union Well-Being Incentive Program.

Along the way, although we loved all the people we met at Filene and what they stand for, we discovered what worked, and what didn’t work for us, about this prestigious program.

David and I wrote a blog post about our experience and what sprung from it at our credit unions. Filene was kind and supportive enough to run that blog post. It’s called Failure, Future and Cooperative Finance.

Check it out…

A digital evolution.

I think I’m seeing a trend, but maybe it’s just a couple of random examples. I’m curious if any of you have seen it too.

People I know who embraced digital early, stuck with it and become known for their leadership in applying digital tools to further business goals are moving away from digital. I recently made this move, and today I was speaking to a colleague at another company and he’s making a similar decision. And as we chatted I thought of a couple of other people I know who pioneered digital areas in their organizations who are being tapped to apply their backgrounds, which were full of smart risk-taking, innovation and seeing things a little differently, to other key areas that need that kind of intrapreneurial aptitude.

Here’s what I think. As more and more people in organizations have evolved to be able to harness digital tools, as marketing departments grow this competency, as social media becomes just another tool and maybe we can finally stop navel-gazing about it, there is less of a need for “gurus” and more of a need for a team of people who embrace these tools. That normalization of previously new media may lead to a kind of boredom and restlessness among the digital specialists and leaders within organizations, which frees them up to focus elsewhere. It’s also time for new people in these organizations to bring their creative ideas and acumen to the table and fresh thinking and energy to the utilization of digital tools. I have seen that in the people who have taken over my former accountabilities. They bring ideas I didn’t have and are focusing on places that I didn’t see. It’s very exciting to watch. It’s evolution.

If you’re at an organization with someone who has moved your digital agenda forward, maybe it’s time to think about getting them to focus on organizational change, or leadership development, or moving your organization to new places. Ask them to help solve over-arching business problems. Redeploy them.

So is it just me, or is this a trend?

Honoured and amazed…

The Top 10 People of 2009As I was getting ready for work this morning, I looked at my computer a little bleary-eyed and saw this tweet from Jeff Stephens. It was a nice way to start the day.

A few weeks back, Bank Technology News told me I had been named one of the top 10 innovators of 2009. I was humbled, kind of in disbelief, honoured and thrilled.

Today, they published The Top 10 People of 2009. I netted out in the coveted number 2-3-4 spot, along with Aaron Patzer of mint.com and Jeff Carter, CEO of azigo.com and co-founder of the Center for Future Banking at MIT’s Media Lab.

Bank Technology News wrangled us together on a conference call and published this story: Where Innovation Is, and Isn’t, in Retail Banking.

So, I guess this constitutes a good day…

BarCampBankBC2 was a local, reflective event.

BarCampBankBC2BarCampBankBC2 took place today. Tim McAlpine, Gene Blishen and I decided to make it a lower key, locally-focused event, given the economic times. It took place in the Vancity board room, and about 25 people from FIs and FI-related organizations took part in the conversations. The conversations focused a lot on co-operation, and, as often happens at BarCampBanks, the participants were mostly from the credit union world.

We talked about co-operation amongst co-operatives, about innovating new products, about channel strategy, about pulling together our members’ data to help them understand their finances more easily.

As I reflect, I think the main theme that emerged was the implicit or explicit barriers that are in place in our various organizations that hinder innovation, agility and sometimes even common sense. In some ways it was a ‘grass is always greener’ conversation where smaller organizations envy the resources bigger organizations have, and larger organizations envy the agility and lack of silos in smaller organizations.

It was a pleasure to discuss the issues of the day with some Twitter friends, including @eddron, @wendyholm, @dcesarini, @currencyTim, @pennyminder and @ebrett. Almost all of whom were at BarCampBankBC last year. So, I think we’re safe to say we’ll do it again next year. Perhaps same place and same weekend…

The wifi was spotty, and the conversations were involved, so there wasn’t a lot of Tweeting, but the Twitter tag was #bcbbc2, if you want to see the commentary.

On a personal level, BarCampBankBC2 marks the end of one of the busiest periods in recent memory for me. Starting with buying our house, going to Bologna, moving, launching the League of Kickass Business People in Vancouver, Ivan starting Kindergarten, finishing a major business case to revamp our intranet and bring enterprise 2.0 to our organization, writing an online service experience strategy, driving Vancity’s co-op week activities, plus some critical business issues at work and, oh yeah, my day job. Summers are usually a little slower, but this one was jam packed, almost all with outstanding items, but slightly more than my plate could hold. It’s one of those times where I’m excited about all the different things I’m involved with, but I’ve still been looking forward to having some of them behind me and not in front of me.

So there it goes.

Less than a week until BarCampBankBC2.

We still lots more room at BarCampBankBC2. I know that there will be people from most of the major credit unions and FIs in the region, plus some visitors from Alberta, Washington State and Oregon. Should be a good time.

If you know anyone who works in financial services and is interested in a freeform, innovative forum to learn, share and discuss, please spread the word.

See ya there!