Screenshots and white papers aren't enough to sell most credit union decision-makers on an innovation - no matter how promising it may be. Instead, the sheep among us wait until another financial institution is brave enough to implement said innovation before it is truly considered as a viable option. This mentality creates a network of precious few innovators, and a glut of late majority slackers or, worse, laggards.
What if there were an easier, more timely, way to prove an innovation's worth? I realize that not everyone has innovation in their blood...the risk is too high, and the potential reward simply isn't worth it to them. I get that. But what if we could speed up the time it takes for this group to kick an innovation's tires? What if we could allow them to experience a financial services innovation risk free?
Could we set up a Credit Union Employees Credit Union (CUECU) that could adopt innovations FOR credit unions? I picture it like this. Credit union employees across the nation deposit money into the credit union (call it dues, deposits, investments...I don't care). The credit union, then, negotiates with vendors to get free use of their newest innovations. Better yet, the credit union can also create their own. Member owners can choose a la carte which innovations they want to kick the tires of, and test them out for themselves in a real-time environment. Members could choose any core processor and any associated interfacing products they like from a menu of available innovations...and change their account settings any time they wish.
Vendors will want to be involved because it gets their product in front of their target market. It would also give them an opportunity to find bugs in their plans before launching to the "public". Operations would be extremely inexpensive, with very few staff positions or physical office space needed.
This won't turn laggards into innovators, but it may shorten the time it takes for the former group to come aboard. For a cooperative movement of cooperatives, this improves us all.