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|Teddy Goff, co-founder of Precision Strategies and former digital director of the Obama for America 2012 campaign|
Headlining Tuesday and Wednesday's general sessions were—in some attendees' own words—some "really amazing" and "progressive" speakers who shared ingenious yet simple ideas from outside the credit union industry that credit unions can implement to enhance their members' lives and the communities they serve.
Jane McGonigal, director of the Institute for the Future, showed the audience how alternate reality games—or video games—can improve credit unions through the positive emotions players experience during gaming, invoking feelings of cooperation and heroism. The key is to channel these emotions in a game that addresses corporate and real-life situations, such as financial literacy.
"People who spend time playing video games have the ability to be more positive and more helpful," McGonigal said. Joy, relief, love, surprise, pride, curiosity, excitement, contentment, creativity, and awe and wonder is what keeps gamers engaged, she said. "This makes people feel more ambitious because we have optimism, more energy, and more social support" to be a catalyst for change.
Teddy Goff—co-founder of Precision Strategies and former digital director of the Obama for America 2012 campaign—catapulted the audience into insights gained from his digital world of campaigning with one mantra that attendees got a kick out of: "Don't be lame." Although consumers don't understand or care about board meetings and bylaws, it doesn't mean they aren't smart. "They just want information given to them in a way that's beneficial for them and helps them—information that's valuable to their lives and makes them feel better," he said.
Credit unions don't need to spend money on "a big production" that is "inspiring." Outreach can be simple, Goff said. "Whatever it is, it's got to add value to their lives," he said. "It needs to elevate them, and treat them with respect. Our campaign wasn't about focusing on our strategy or getting votes—it was really aimed at caring about people."
Luke Williams—executive director at the Berkley Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at New York University—shared how many organizations focus too much on "outside entrepreneurs' ideas," and don't foster their own thinking from people working inside their own companies—individuals he terms as "intra-preneurs." His focus on "disruptive innovation" hooked the audience, as he encouraged leaders to break their industry's status quo and come up with unconventional ideas to achieve success.
"Removing inhibitions is good, but it's insufficient," Williams said, noting how some organizations put too much attention on creative corporate lifestyles that supposedly generate innovation. Instead, organizations, including credit unions, can use an incremental approach, taking small bets in a variety of new areas. Success is bound to arrive with at least one of those bets. "Those who are innovative embrace the process, and in my opinion, they outrace the 'creatives' in the world."
Neil Goldman, CEO and senior partner of Goldman Consulting and Strategy, invigorated the crowed during Wednesday's closing luncheon when he expounded on why credit unions need to "aspire, amuse, and achieve." He showed why credit unions need to first define what they are reaching for if they intend to "reach up, reach out, and reach deep."
"What's your superpower?" Goldman asked. "What's your mantra? What's your battle cry? What do you stand for? What's your cause? And what's your calling?"
He reminded those in front of him that results come from behaviors, and behaviors come from beliefs. Credit union leaders need to "spend more time dreaming" and be less judgmental in the learning process. "There's nothing more motivating than winning," he said, "and winning with desire."
Attendees REACH Up, Out, and Deep
Surrounding the "headliners" were a round of executive series, tours of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, breakout sessions, REACHtalks, networking lunches, an on-stage recognition of League Award winners, a political advocacy update, and a visit from Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Regional Director Ed Chow.
Additionally, attendees enjoyed the PAC Contributors Reception, a hip and fun Platinum Lounge, which gave them the opportunity to network and have fun late into the night, and a special session hosted by the Filene Research Institute called The Filene Impact Road Show.
The Filene event gave CEOs the opportunity to hear what the organization accomplishes for credit union through it's "Think, Do, Change" philosophy. Tansley Stearns, impact director for Filene Research Institute, gave attendees a run-down of innovative solutions tailored just for credit unions based on proven market research. Additionally, she provided insightful tips on leveraging innovation to solve problems.