It’s Time to FLIP the Switch

Just another day at work…


Have you ever felt weighed down with the day-to-day burden of listening to member concerns, suggestions, and, to be honest, sometimes even gripes…and feeling the frustration over not knowing how to respond or help, because; well…you share the same gripes?  

It may not happen often at your credit union; but we all know that it does happen. These moments are precisely when we need to FLIP the Switch!  

FLIPis a curriculum-based program designed around creating a culture of innovation within the credit union—but differently than how we usually do. FLIP stands for Future Leaders in Innovation Program—after all, the best way to improve the future is to work directly with the leaders who will be responsible with shaping that very future!

At this point, you’re wondering: What the FLIP?!

FLIP is a 6-month curriculum program with monthly in-class meetings, supplemented by individual work. As the program grows and evolves, it will be available through an interactive, virtual format; making it readily accessible on a larger scale. FLIP is different from Young Professionals/Emerging Leader programs. Rather than focus on individual growth and development like these others, FLIP encourages a merged individual-industry synchronization.  

But how can we can keep FLIP from being a flop?

FLIP is designed for staff, not yet in a leadership role, who show a desire to make a positive impact on the industry. We tend to look at innovation from the top down, with our executive team facilitating our strategic vision and innovation teams; however, FLIP is designed to “flip the switch” and change the focus to our entry level staff. FLIP will help facilitate change and improvement in a whole new direction.  

FLIP will give employees the opportunity to look through the innovation process and towards cultivating a platform for their ideas to grow and develop

I know it would be difficult to find a credit union out there that is not interested in attracting (and retaining) a younger generation of members--doesn’t it make sense that we engage and learn from our younger generation of employees, who also happen to be members? Not only can they see the pain points our members face, but they experience the same, as well. FLIP gives those employees the opportunity to solve their own issues--resulting in a positive impact on the entire membership base. 

FLIP aims to take action further than just the “suggestion box” approach. It allows employees to not just give ideas, but to own those ideas, and develop them into a solution. Once employees have completed FLIP, they will have the opportunity to present to either the board, at an executive team meeting or innovation team meeting. 

Are you itching to FLIP, yet?

The initial step serves as the very foundation on which the scope of the program will rest: 

Find an issue you are passionate about, then create a mission & vision around finding a solution.

  • What are our members’ current pain points? (member satisfaction, loan experience, engaging member ownership, etc.)

    • Be different

      • Is there already a product or idea that solves this issue?

    • Be singularly focused

      • Stick to only one issue/concern

    • Be respectfully disruptive

      • Don’t be afraid to shake things up

      • Stay away from “the way we’ve always done it” mentality

    • Be flexible

      • Optimize feedback; be prepared to adapt and grow

      • Create a fallback plan for setbacks

    • Be Simple

      • You don’t have to create the next Uber or Netflix. Are there already products/services that could be improved?

    • Be Credit Union-y

      • Focus on products/ideas that represent the realities your members face

      • Focus on the credit union difference

Where the FLIP did this idea come from?

I saw a need for this program after presenting at the CUNA Lending Conference on “Using Innovation to Attract and Retain Millennial Members and Employees.” I wanted to create a program that engages future leaders, ignites their passion for our industry, and gives them a platform on which to grow and develop. 

Should I be honored with a win, I will implement FLIP on a larger scale:                                                                                                  

  1. a website to offer the curriculum in a dynamic, virtual format

  2. a discussion board to establish a community of innovative leaders within the industry

The world of technology and innovation is constantly evolving; FLIP will help our industry be leaders of change. It is time to FLIP THE SWITCH!

Clark Duncan