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2020 proved just how important our relationships to banks and credit unions are as they worked to rapidly respond to the changing financial needs of their customers.

In a 2020 study of public sentiment when it came to banks and credit unions, “Americans generally gave their banking institutions good reviews on satisfaction with scores of 4.2 on average on a scale of one to five. But banks can’t touch credit unions; they averaged 4.5.”

Still, due to their smaller scale, and community-driven goals, credit unions have to work hard to keep pace with the times. In 2018, Sunshine Coast Credit Union (SCCU) measured their employee feedback across a number of criteria using the McKinsey Organizational Health Index (OHI). Their lowest score was related to BottomUp Innovation – which meant their employees had very little opportunity or incentive to contribute to innovation. The team at SCCU felt that this low score was actually a leading indicator of problems might arise elsewhere in their organization: customer experience, technology adoption, diversity and inclusion initiatives and more.

In response, SCCU decided to deploy an IdeaScale community, both for the sake of engaging their employees in continuous improvement processes and increasing their credit union’s innovation capacity. In less than a year, the credit union reported an average of at least one idea submitted for every employee, 40% of suggested ideas implemented in the first year, improvements to their leadership and learning and development OHI scores (thanks in large part to new ideas like mentoring during onboarding, financial advisor workshops, morning huddles in every department, and more), and their Bottoms-Up Innovation score moved from their lowest scoring item on the McKinsey Organizational Health matrix to their TOP score, improving overall organizational health and culture.

In an interview with the innovation program lead at SCCU, Alex Kostenko, it became clear that a certain level of optimism is crucial for innovation to move from idea to implementation. Alex mentioned that she believes that it is important to have a “Why not” or optimistic attitude so that the vulnerable idea submitters can feel a little safer taking that risk and so the decision makers can show up with a greener pasture for new ideas. That – more than software – is what drives ideas to the results that get people excited to participate and share more.

To learn more about Sunshine Coast Credit Union’s innovation program, listen to the full podcast interview here.

About the Author

Rob Hoehn is the co-founder and CEO of IdeaScale: the largest open innovation software platform in the world. Hoehn launched crowdsourcing software as part of the open government initiative and IdeaScale’s robust portfolio now includes many other industry notables, such as EA Sports, NBC, NASA, Xerox and many others. Prior to IdeaScale, Hoehn was Vice President of Client Services at Survey Analytics.

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