Innovation can be hard to define, but you can think of it as “the successful application of new ideas.” ‘Application’ is the key word there – new ideas are the easy part – figuring out which are the good ones, and then applying them successfully, is more difficult.
So innovation is more than just an academic exercise or a tally of patents. The application of a new idea in the real world leads to new products, services, processes, systems, or attitudes that improve something or add value. With all of the changes that are occurring in financial services generally, and in the credit union business model specifically, being (and staying) innovative is more important than ever.
Every year at the NAFCU Annual Conference we recognize the very best innovations among our Preferred Partners that help credit unions thrive in an increasingly crowded financial services marketplace with the 2011 NAFCU Services Preferred Partner Innovation Awards. No surprise this year, two of the three winners focus on opportunities for credit unions to generate revenue, while the third represents a quantum leap in productivity, leading to significantly lower costs.