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SAN DIEGO – After seeing the success with the Filene Research Institute’s new i3 group, North Island Credit Union has launched its own. The $1.5 billion credit union has formed ni- i3, which stands for North Island Credit Union-ideas, innovation, implementation and is modeled after Filene’s i3, a group of 26 CU leaders formed in 2004 to come up with the development of new ideas and innovations for the industry. Meanwhile the 48 members of ni- i3 had their first workshops on March 10 and on April 6, and will meet again on May 24, according to Geri Dillingham executive vice president/COO. The workshop assignments were to create something unique about a product or service for the May 24 meeting by using one of the three member promises of the North Island CU brand-ease of use, worry free, and fun. At that meeting, each of the four groups will act as a creative agency and “sell” their product. Filene’s innovation group can be easily replicated in other credit unions, Dillingham said. “I think a lot of credit unions could embrace this. It provides energy and creative thought. The structure can be customized to fit your credit union.” Instead of brainstorming, which often results in an unwieldy number of ideas, according to the credit union, the participants used “edge crafting,” a creative process described in the book, Free Prize Inside! by Seth Godin, published by the Penguin Group. Edge crafting is a methodical and measurable process that allows individuals and teams to identify product innovations. “The goal of the workshops is to allow employees to bring the energy and creativity generated in the workshops to their daily jobs, which will benefit our members,” Dillingham said. “We hope to come up with 12 ideas and one or two of them will actually work for us. Employees learn how to sell ideas in a large organization.” Mark Meyer, Filene’s director of innovation, applauded North Island CU’s newest venture. “It is great to hear from participants like Geri Dillingham who are implementing the i3 model to evaluate member needs and find creative solutions to meet those needs,” Meyer said. “It would be great to see innovation groups emerge at credit unions and leagues around the country, as creating an innovation culture within each credit union is going to become increasingly important in today’s competitive financial services environment.” Filene’s group, which was co-founded by the Center for Credit Union Innovation, will welcome 13 more members at its April 20 meeting in Austin, Texas. The group is partially underwritten by a grant from the Corporate Network. -

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