Convergence is the destination, now where’s that map again?

One of the best things about the combination of activities that merged into our new Digital & Community Engagement department is the promise of greater convergence.

I used to think of convergence in relation to advertising, that all the different media, online and offline need to work together and integrate into a common purpose. But I have begun to think of this a little differently.

My team used to be the Web Engagement & Banking team. In big group meetings if we all went around the room saying why we were there, others would refer to me as the Web Guy. I laughed and moved on, but it left me a little cold. I’m not a web guy, or IT or technology guy, but I had slipped into this role. By bringing in offline engagement activities (community grants, sponsorships and events), we can no longer be pigeon-holed this way. And the opportunities to combine the digital tools our department leads with the activities which are such a strong reflection of the organization’s brand and values are immense.

And so the idea of convergence is taking on a new meaning. Up until this year we could reach the percentage of members who use online banking. But with the web morphing into a digital landscape encompassing mobile and things like in-branch digital signage, the ability to reach pretty much all of our members with real-time, relevant messaging is amped up. The ability for us to drive loyalty through helping members better understand what their pooled resources at Vancity helps to create and enable is growing. The opportunities for members to engage in their credit union will grow in a meaningful way.

Convergence also needs to refer to people. Literally mixing up the people who run our web channels with the people who do deep community engagement gets people thinking about things differently, understanding other areas of the organization and approaching their work from a new vantage point. This week, my new department went through a team building exercise, and everyone’s enthusiasm and openness to understand each other and integrate their work is really inspiring.

Convergence is a word with deeper meaning and significance for me than ever before. It’s still the destination, I just thought the path there was shorter and more direct.