Take a moment and think about how technology has changed our lives. I can check my account balances from my phone on the bus; I can listen to more than 1,000 songs on my iPod; I can download newly released DVDs straight to my computer and watch them while on the go. Innovation has taken off in today’s mobile world, so how are other industries keeping up?
It’s not just the financial services sector that is trying to anticipate consumers’ growing needs. According to The Financial Times, fierce competition from on-demand and online rental companies such as Amazon and Netflix are influencing Hollywood’s distribution model. Film production companies are quickly changing how they deliver their DVDs to increase profits, supply faster services, and resemble industry innovators.
Innovation has always been a buzzword in the business world. As technology becomes faster and more mobile, credit unions need to not only anticipate new needs from members but also think of their products and services in new ways. Innovation is necessary if credit unions are to differentiate themselves from the banks.
In a May New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell (author of The Tipping Point) credits innovation for Apple’s rise to, and tenure at, the top of the consumer electronics and computer software industry. From 1979 through today, Apple’s balance of creative strategy and ingenuity has become a staple of the company’s profile. Credit unions can take a page from Steve Jobs’ playbook by rethinking their products as well as their market. By embracing the innovative foresight that will attract and keep members of all ages, credit unions will increase value for the entire cooperative.
Credit unions were designed to be an alternative to the banking system. Now more than ever members need financial relief that only credit unions can provide. A paradigm shift, in technology as well as imagination, can open opportunities for credit unions and provide a better alternative to financial services.