Stretching your credit union: Five steps to stronger prototyping

first_imgMy first job out of college was with a credit union that served Macy’s employees. One of the benefits with that role was that employees of the credit union received an employee discount at Macy’s. That coupled with the fact that some of our team members were former Macy’s employees, meant that I was not only able to buy nice clothes at a discount, but I had colleagues that gave me solid fashion advice and would recommend pieces that I might not have ever even considered. This stretched me.In recent years, without the influence of my fashion forward colleagues, my wardrobe has gotten a bit dull. I tend to pick very similar styles and I don’t stretch myself to try new things. Enter Stitch Fix. Stitch Fix merges fashion, needs identification and technology to provide a regular “fix” for users. Via the Stitch Fix website, I shared my sizes, my interests, my career and the kinds of events I attend. Using a simple rating system, I gave insights into the kinds of clothes I typically like. At whatever interval I choose, I then receive a “fix” which is a package containing interesting and new clothing. I select the pieces I like to keep and mail back those that don’t work.What I like best beyond the convenience and customization of the experience is that it stretches me to try new things. Every time I receive items that I would never pick myself, but that I really like. It has expanded my horizons. It’s also a low risk way to try new options. If I don’t like any of the clothes in my “fix,” I can send it back in an easy to use postage-paid envelope and the only cost is a $20 styling fee.As Filene works with credit unions to build their innovation competency through both i3 and our innovation programming, one of the most important elements of our Filene method is prototyping. Prototyping brings new ideas to life through a quick and inexpensive physical manifestation. It helps to really see what works about a new idea and where the challenges lie.Done iteratively, prototyping helps ensure that great new ideas are more successful and that new ideas that may not have a future are halted before large investments are made. Just like Stitch Fix, prototyping can help credit unions to try new things more often, stretching the organization to improve and grow while also reducing the risk heavily in a new idea before knowing if and how it might work.Here are five ways to help your credit union build prototyping into your innovation process:Invite your biggest critics to review the prototype. When you are ideating and creating new ideas, you want to avoid skepticism and criticism. When you choose an idea to move forward and begin prototyping, you want to invite in your most critical team members, colleagues and constituents. Tough feedback is important and will help shape the idea further.Focus on function over beauty. Your prototype should be inexpensive and does not need to be beautiful. It should be rough around the edges. Let those reviewing it know that you’ll focus on the polish of the idea once the prototyping is complete.Ask at least two questions. As you share your prototype, you’ll get the most meaningful feedback if you have specific questions to ask of those that are reviewing it. Questions should help you to gather insights around the biggest concerns that you have and should be open-ended in nature. Think about what you are most worried about and be sure you ask questions to address those issues.Don’t let your first prototype be your last. Prototypes are intended to be iterative. Once you have built one prototype, shared it, asked good questions and received feedback, use what you’ve learned to build another and follow the same process again. Every idea might have several prototypes before you decide to move forward.Invite your members and potential members to participate. Consumers love to be a part of building new ideas. Invite them to give you feedback on your prototype. Ensure that you invite participation from those that will be benefit most from the idea.It has been fun to stretch myself again and bring variety and depth to my wardrobe. Prototyping can stretch your credit union as well by bringing new ideas to life and making those ideas even more successful while reducing risk. Get your prototyping fix today.Filene’s innovation programming details can be found here. 79SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Tansley Stearns Tansley is a dynamic force of nature, fiercely crusading on behalf of all credit unions while tirelessly driving forward the brand image and family spirit of Canvas. She joined us … Web: https://www.canvas.org Detailslast_img

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