Wednesday, April 30, 2008

So Kent, What Do You Do?

That is the question that has been posed to me by just about everyone at TFCU over the past 4 months. The scary thing. My wife asked me this last week. And I give her a daily recap, every day!!

Here is a typical Q & A of a conversation that follows the "titled" question:
(For the purpose of this conversation, we will call the employee I am talking to Ben)

Ben: So Kent, what are you doing now?
Kent: I am on a Radical Sabbatical with the Filene Research Institute, focused on implementing some really innovative projects that their i3 teams created.
Ben: Um, Okay...
Kent: Filene is a organization that supports the Credit Union Movement through open source innovation and academic research. I am helping them focus on implementing the innovation. So I am talking with credit unions about why the three projects that I am working on are so cool. TFCU loaned me to them for 6 months.
Ben: So what do you actually do?
Kent: I work on the Internet a lot, and I am on the phone a lot. I work with Maureen from Madison, she is basically a mentor, teaching me a whole bunch of stuff, she does most of the writing and stuff, while I host a blog, call CUs, and keep track of all the people we talk to. We are a very good balance for each other. She keeps me focused, I keep her from focusing too much. What we do changes a bunch, but we basically just put all our efforts into pushing our projects forward in implementation.
Ben: So do you travel and stuff?
Kent: Yea, I travel some. I have been few places for meetings with Filene, but I have also been able to go and tell people about the projects and about the cool things that Filene is doing.
Ben: Do you like it?
Kent: I love it. I have met some amazing people in the Credit Union movement. I am working with a team from the 30 under 30 group with Filene focused on Gen Y. I have met people at CUNA, CUES, the World Council, Texas CUL, oh and I have made about 30 new friends on twitter.
Ben: Twitter?
Kent: Yea, it is like a super IM. I have group conversations with CU people from all over. Alberta, Canada, Maine, Cali, Texas, Wisconsin, Washington, North Carolina, and more. It is a cool way to talk about things going on in the CU world, without leaving my desk.
Ben: So what are you going to do when your 6 months are over?
Kent: I don't know. I will be done in June, and I will be back focused strictly on TFCU. Whatever I do, I know that I want to maintain all my contacts from Twitter and other social media. I also know that I have seen a lot of really cool things, that could really help TFCU. It's awesome being a part of something as big as the Credit Union Movement.
Ben: Cool. (Walks off and stops to talk to his buddy Ryan)

Ben to Ryan: "See I told you, Kent just plays on the Internet all day, he even said something about that cartoon character Tweety."

So What do I do?? Simply put, for 6 months, Maureen and I are doing everything possible to move the needle of implementation for MatriMoney, Prize-Based Savings, and the Savings Revolution.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Washington DC and Houston

Over the past two weeks I have had the opportunity to do some cool things.

Washington D.C. -

Last week, I was able to experience the i3 meetings first hand. I must say when Denise Gabel puts on a meeting, she gets stuff done.

-Sunday night, we attended a great performance of "Shear Madness," which relates well to innovation.

-Then Monday we were able to see the results of the hard work that the i3 teams have been doing for the last 6 months. I am happy to announce that there are going to be some great new ideas coming down the pipeline that will greatly assist CUs in helping their members. Look for the new publications from Filene for details. I have spoken with many of the team members on the phone about our projects, and now meeting most of them, I am happy to say that the collective wisdom, experience, and innovative thinking is outstanding. I look forward to seeing more and more great things come out of the team.

- Tuesday morning we had the opportunity to talk with two of NCUA's board members. Vice-Chairman Rodney Hood and Board Member Gigi Hyland both of them were excellent speakers and spent a lot of time answering our questions. The NCUA doesn't always get a good rep, because as the regulator they have to be the bad guy sometimes, but I must say if their leadership says anything, there are an amazing asset to the Credit Union Movement, one that we cannot allow to get lost within other regulators as proposed by the U.S. Treasury.

Houston -

I just got back into the office today after spending yesterday in Houston, at the Texas Credit Union League Annual Meeting, speaking with George Hofheimer, Trey Reeme, and Amy Stanton, to about 100 daring participates about Credit Union 2.0, Innovation, 30 under 30, and Social Media. After our presentation we participated in an excellent discussion about Gen Y, and Social Media. I feel that it was a very effective presentation.

Ahhh, now back to work helping credit unions implement innovation.

"The Prize is Right"

WEOKIE CU in Oklahoma City, implemented an awesome Prize-Based Savings Account on April 1.

There new program simply enhances their basic membership savings account. All members already qualify. To gain an entry the member must add an additional $50 to the average daily balance during the month. They are giving away a total for $5000 to 30 winners each month. This program is an excellent way to give back to their members as well as get members to save more money each month. For members of WEOKIE, there is no reason why they shouldn't deposit at least $50 which can be done via automatic transfer or any number of ways.

Again congrats to Weokie on such a great job implementing the idea. Based on their structure I think the success of the product will be great.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Headin' to the Capital City...

Well it is Friday and I leave bright and early Sunday morning on my way out to Washington D.C. I am excited about the opportunity to meet another group of amazing Credit Union innovators as I get to meet the i3 teams. There will be several new and amazing credit union innovations presented and I look forward to seeing what is next in line for the Credit Union Movement.

I will have a post for everyone next week with my thoughts from the experience. I will also let you know about some additional great things that are happening with the Savings Revolution.

Until then...have a great weekend!!