Dream about the difference you might be able to make.
Seek fresh inspiration for status-quo busting ideas.
Imagine what's possible beyond the biases and orthodoxies that hold you back.
Build to gain greater clarity about the potential of your emerging solutions.
Learn through doing and decrease innovation risk.
Share what you learn and the insights you gain to accelerate time to impact.
Using radical collaboration—championed by Steve Bingler’s groundbreaking work—we will discover the needs and aspirations of in a specific neighborhood and design their neighborhood branch with them. This new branch will be unexpected and defy the status quo of what a credit union branch must be.
Bridge Building encourages SACU employees to build even stronger relationships with members and communities we serve. The starting point for this initiative might be as simply as having coffee with members and non-members.
Ultimately, the goal of Bridge Building is to grow a relationship that allows us to be present at moments that matter to our members. This will enable us to understand the communities we serve better than anyone else, and to deliver compelling products that meet needs that matter.
Changing banks is too hard, or at least people think it is. Imbedded services like automated bill pay, direct draws, direct deposits and so on make it hard for prospective customers to switch to SACU. Chameleon provides the tools and services that make it painless for new members to join us.
We have the opportunity to spur a generation of lifelong savers (and lifelong members). Einstein offers compelling savings rates for young people e.g. 10% interest. This high rate will attract new members, helping them get into the savings habit early. This will build their appreciation of the benefits of saving and improve their long-term financial health.
For many getting to a branch, when it's open, is a significant and underappreciated challenge—the branch becomes a barrier. CU There is a program of “banking where they are” —in their homes, at a coffee shop, in a church, and so on.
Instead of tellers and advisors sitting behind desks we'll have them sitting behind steering wheels. GO means showing up where people already gather e.g. events or concerts.
Finally, a tutorial on life. Platypus Tank allows users to improve and enrich their lives by offering how-to instructions for any situation. Browse topics and receive answers to questions you never knew you had. Have a specific question? Type it in the mobile App and get it answered, platypus style. Or, play in game-mode and discover the path to mastery while acquiring life skills and achievements to help shape your financial health and future.
Making loans based on FICO scores is an impediment to fulfilling our mission as a credit union—we know that we can make better loans to more people if we are able to take into account the knowledge that we have about our members. The FICO Makeover will include measuring new factors such as their financial resilience, how connected are they to their community, personal references, and so on.
Everyone deserves a second chance. Boomerang encourages financial resilience amongst our members, offering them a pathway back to financial health should they ever fall.
In Real Life is the new Home-Ec. IRL teaches financial literacy, financial health, and financial skills to provide teachers and students with the tools, techniques and frameworks they are going to need in real life.
Small Business Owners
We discovered that meeting people in our community face-to-face refocused us on our mission, and helped us empathize with them. The process was humbling for all of us—but also a highlight. We all expressed a desire to Get Out more often but making it part of our culture—inviting a member to lunch, having our executives go to different places, collect stories, and share them with each other and SACU employees to inspire, connect, and remain humble in the vital work that we do within our communities and with community members
We invited Outsiders from different industries and communities to participate in the Discovery and CoInvent Blitzes.
Together we imagined a rich set of ideas and started to a build portfolio of small bets that we might take to create an SACU that means more and does more for a broader spectrum of members.
Inviting strangers into a process, especially as one as important as inventing our future is highly unconventional. To our delight their perspectives, experience and intelligent naiveté contributed greatly to our positive outcomes.
We will continue to ask ourselves “How might we bring outside perspectives into our efforts more often?”
We took part in a Flow drill called Remember Djibouti in which we physically experienced the difference between “Yes, but..” and “Yes, and...”
This drill brought to light a common behavior that inadvertently snuffs out ideas before they have a chance to take shape and revel their true potential.
We learned that when we respond to our colleagues’ ideas with "Yes, and..." building on their ideas—rather than reflexively tearing them down—they end up being richer, more robust, more revolutionary than any idea we might have conceived of on our own.
At the close of the Discovery Blitz we invited teams to Challenge the Challenge. Each team independently removed the word "branch" from the original challenge statement:
What might the future SACU branch—built with and to include people o modest means—be?
Instead we turned our attention to the total member experience—imagining, exploring, and building solutions that have the potential to drive positve impact and outcomes for more members and the communities that we serve.
Deflection Point describes how and why we need to deflect away from the status quo to achieve our desired impact. We learned the way our brains work—and culture created by our collective brains—pulls us back towards the status quo. We used Think Wrong Practices to explore a much larger set of possible solutions than those allowed for by the status quo.
Unclear/Unknown helps us communicate to our colleagues that our work explores challenges that are often poorly understood and solutions that are not yet known. And that this kind of work requires practices that dramatically increase our set of possible solutions, rather than practices that emphasize efficiency, productivity, and optimization.
To expand SACU's definition of the value the Avant Garde team dot voted on the Why Statements that mattered most to SACU. The original set of Why Statements were generated by the full team through the “5x5 Whys” drill, which asks teams to define why their emerging solution might matter to the communities SACU serves and depends on, stakeholders, society, the environment, and future generations.
Increases community stability, independence, and financial health
Personal financial literacy benefits the entire community
If our communities are not enriched by what we offer, we will have no one to serve
Healthier people, higher life quality
We will have a financially literate community
Feels like home
Fifty percent of our community is under-banked
A community of savers provides a source of investment to new
People that have self-sufficient skills build more sustainable communities
“Your story to the community”
If people trust their bank, communities as a whole can prosper
As people prosper so does the community at large
Huge potential reach through online channels
New ideas help us evolve
We want to be perceived as a help, not a hindrance
We are planting seeds for those that have been previously missed, overlooked, or ignored
Take advantage of services otherwise unused
We can offer new products and services that matter
Create member diversity
We can make wiser choices
Banks have financial experts who should use their experience to help others who can’t help themselves in this area of their lives
Customers will become fiscally responsible and continue to use SACU
Financially healthy individuals make for happy customers
Intentional engagement creates trust and commitment
Prevents some foreseeable mistakes
Able to envision and plan and better future
We want to make lives easier
The price of not doing anything is significantly higher
Because people trust a bank that puts their interests first
Keeps property values up
Unifies member and loaner
Creates savers and financial planning skills
Can impact family success and an ability to thrive
We cannot be healthy when we are continuing unhealthy cycles
Help them provide for their families
SACU has valuable services that can be leveraged
Opportunities to avoid debt
Will build strong habits
Savers provide capital to lenders/borrowers
Better credit; better cash flow
Zen and the art of financial health
Increased purchasing power with lower debt
“It’s hot outside and I need a cool place to pause, can I come in?”
Educated people make informed decisions
Increases financial literacy
People become more capable and self-actualized
“The SACU truck is at the food truck park!”
“I thought investing was for people who had money”
Less stress on social services
Prepare, learn and plan for the future
Members make wiser choices
People want change, but don’t know how to and as a result are afraid
Good people going through need a second chance
More time to spend doing other things
When we have foundations, we can build houses, communities, and industries that last
Depicts evolution of technology as positive
Increase speed and lower cost
Grief support group
Sensitive financial planning
Legal probate help
Uber for financial services
Financial education: Loan repayment, how-to education, etc.
Everyone wants society to be better—we have to be the change
Less productive people lead to a decaying society
The world needs more love
Student debt is a societal issue
Society needs to be served in any and all ways that can empower us to
Become valuable, contributing members of society
A stronger financial foundation can re-establish the middle class
It will create jobs
Banks can be used as tools to improve society
Further strengthening of middle class
Life is hectic; life is wonderful
Better financial decision-making can lead to having less poverty
Eliminate poverty cycles—improve economy
Don’t repeat mistakes
Reduce poverty for families
Social problems associated with poverty will get better
“Act local, think global”
Less waste (time and material)
We are reliant on future generations to care for the planet and sustain
Greater inter-generational wealth/asset pass-through
Provides life-long knowledge
Life is not static and future generations will need new and different ideas to move the world forward
To help foster a fiscally responsible generation with little wasteful spending
Establishes generational wealth
The learned financial lessons will get passed down to future generations—better habits!
Children replicate the actions of parents
Allows for more investments into future generations
Financially secure families are able to access healthcare and healthy food
Because first generation students create hope and possibility for
New generations need to trust financial institutions and partner with them
Future generations can invent, grow, and imagine better and never before seen ideas
Students bring fresh and diverse ideas
Children are the future
Education is the first step for new immigrants to move up
Foster an understanding of things like interest, savings, and increase overall financial literacy at a young age
Responsible teens = responsible adults
Saving habits are taught unconsciously to kids
First generation college loan
College loans can get repaid and students can afford to help the
Selecting the emerging solutions that might make the biggest difference required that we
A useful tool for the team was to be able to classify the work that the Avant Garde team was proposing, planning or doing fell into one of two buckets—this sorting will enable the team to question whether they should really be doing it, and if they were that it was known what bucket the work was in, and if necessary this could be communicated.
(Benefits us and others)
We sorted our highest impact solutions based on the time horizons:
The “Now/Next” drill is a quick way to prioritize strategic action without getting bogged down in execution complexities.
The “Depressed/Excited” drill demonstrated the value of the mix of personality types to a team. Some members of Avant Garde are energized by initiatives that are vague and conceptual—requiring significant exploration, design, and experimentation. Other members are energized by initiatives that involve direct member engagement. This drill is a useful tool for determining responsibilities and assignments for each team member.
Moonshot: A global, meta co-op of community centered small business co-ops authentic to the areas they serve.
Challenge Challenge: What might the local financial node of the future—created to engage and empower people of all means be?
Moonshot: Create transitional boot camps for veterans.
Challenge Challenge: How do we create a financial home where everyone is welcome?
Moonshot: What if companies paid tuition for future employees?
Challenge Challenge: How might we meet the future needs of students?
Moonshot: Create an ecosystem for life for networks.
Challenge Challenge: What might banking of the future—built with and to include people of modestmeans—be?
Moonshot: Multi-level marketing approach: create the UPS/Avon of financial services.
Challenge Challenge: What might be the best face-to-face financial interactions of the future, and where do they occur? Built with and to include people of modest means?
Moonshot: Create a 12-step program for people with financial problems.
Challenge Challenge: What must the branch of the future do?
Moonshot: What if we created a new credit score (with industry)?
Challenge Challenge: What might the branch of the future—with a new credit score system to better meet needs of people of modest means—be?
We found moments that matter for people of modest means. We observed the significance of each moment and explored how SACU might improve the interactions.
“We could create products that help students handle expenses until they receive financial aid disbursements.”
“This interaction shows the strong familial bonds people in a gentrified area can have in the face of adversity.”
“Take away the fear and worry about finances from this day, so that parents and kids can enjoy the moment.”
“Creating a product or information that will consider all the expenses required when buying a new house.”
“People are coming together to celebrate and find out about a new business that opened up in their community.”
“Knowing that there are kids who are NOT here because they could not organize around how to pay, missed deadlines, or did not believe it could work out for them.”
“SACU’s ability to financially aid members in times of a medical crisis could have a profound impact. Many families of modest means do not plan for the unexpected. If SACU had more education and products geared toward this group of people that allowed members to prepare for unforeseen financial emergencies it could help our members in some of their most critical moments.”
We searched for systems that have been invented by the community to serve people of modest means. We generated ways in which SACU might improve these systems and the financial health of the community.
“We can provide funding opportunities for programs designed to help people transition out of poverty.”
“We could partner with them to provide financial education to members.”
“A referral process to agencies in our community who can help citizens of modest means in San Antonio find programs that can help them find stability and inclusion.”
We traveled to places that are important to us and noted how we might bring what is special about them into SACU.
“It’s the openness, friendliness, and sharing that I feel we need to import into SACU. It is the advice giving and willingness to help each other without expectation, that would be useful in SACU.”
“We can create an environment where people feel welcome and safe (not judged); employees are knowledgeable, caring and authentic; the messages/information we provide our members are meaningful; and truthful (even if it means having a difficult conversation). The physical space should support who we are internally by being welcoming, engaging, intimate, enlightening and secure.”
“Although it’s large, it’s peaceful, spirit-filled and strangely intimate. There are people of various ages, ethnicity and life stages everywhere. Some people sit alone, some people bring spouses, some people are alone with children—everyone looks nice, but they’re broken—like me. We’re there to recharge, connect, confess, ask for help, express gratitude, rejoice, and grow our faith.”
“The connection could be SACU remembering its’ own history. It could be SACU creating more of a conversation around both the shared history it has with specific groups within San Antonio and a focus on the opportunities that lie ahead. San Antonio culture is steeped in loyalty. How does SACU position itself in the historical and community identity of San Antonio?”
“If we can express to members that they are part of something bigger than their individual financial situation, it seems they would respond very positively to that. This will require that we work on getting that message across in a manner that is commonly understood and that we live up being an active part of the community.”
“This place is important to me truthfully because it allows me to reconnect with myself.”
“The idea of a special gathering spot has appeal and would be unlike the transactional feel you get at most financial institutions.”
“It challenges me to think about the next great innovation–what is the thing that, in five years,will be absolutely indispensable, but that we don’t really know we need right now? I marvel at the technological leaps and bounds we’vemade in the last 30 years and dream about the next 30 and what they will bring.”
Need clothes for growing children
New clothes for job
Understanding financial terms
Lack of motivation
Lack of financial literacy
Returning from deployment
Car breaks down
Opening a business
Small business makes money for the first time
Recieved a degree
Lost a job
Life style vs. life stage
Bill pay on rotation
Figuring it out on their own
Word of mouth
Family and friends
Borrow from friends
Bury cash in backyard
Trial and error
Access to education
Easy website navigation
Accounts for unseen circumstances
Higher interest rates
Cash back rewards
Low interest credit cards
Credit and finance analysis
Customer access and costs
Mobile kiosk ATM ITM
Not jumping to solutions
Provide trusted advice
Set up portfolio
Interest free loans
Easy application loans
Skip a payment
Safe place to save money
We have the desire to make a connection
We love what we do
We strive to make a difference
We want to make life better
Bursting with knowledge
Happy to help
The power of saving and starting young.
Breaking barriers and building community.
SACUXSW and beyond.
Hyperlocality meets biometrics.
Financial health: natural, personal, and relaxing.
The affinity program and family resilience.
SACU on wheels and in the classroom.
Where community builds capital.
Redefining home economics.
From our toolbox to yours.
How you do.
A successful future.
Spin. Win. Save.
It’s your financial hook-up!
Career Launching and Wealth Accumulation
Your home here.
Life. Love. Fun.
Because you earned a second Chance.
Change your financial institution.
Learning, insights, time savings.
Give it time.
Put Your Head Here.
Financial planning where you are.
Click on any image to view our Think Wrong Gang and their names.
St. Mary’s University
Jody “The Multi-Tool” Newman
The Friendly Spot
University of Technology Sydney
Todd “The Phillips Head” Widell
View and download all the images and videos from the Blitz that are stored on DropBox
Download the guide for the blitz which includes all the drills that were used.