06 August 2010

What If We Used Paint?

Sometimes it feels like we're drawing with chalk. You can draw with chalk, don't get me wrong. It's a fine medium for certain applications. But make no mistake, that's definitely what we're doing.

We're drawing with chalk.






It's certainly not the most likely tool a professional artist would use to create her life's crowning artistic achievement.

We try, nonetheless. Sometimes successfully. Sometimes not. Sometimes criticizing each other for holding the chalk incorrectly. For using the wrong colors. For not sharing.

Even when we create amazing works of art, deep down inside we know all too well that the sidewalk is only so big. That rain clouds could come any minute. That our co-creators may have a different, or competing, vision. That our success is fleeting.

We draw with chalk because that's what we know. Because it's from the earth. Because it feels right. Because of the dinosaur bones that made it all possible. Because it's the way we've always done it.

What if we used paint?

Bottle caps?

Rubber bands?

Would our art be less artistic?


Christopher said...

Great post, but let's not limit what we can do with chalk. http://www.moillusions.com/2010/07/julian-beever-is-back-again.html

Add a little of this: http://amzn.to/aCm4Vw and you've got a winner.

Part of what makes us unique is our approach to member service. There are many times when we may get discouraged that things aren't moving in the right direction or fast enough, but a deep cultural identity can go a long way toward building a successful business model.

That said, I love the idea of creating with rubber bands. http://www.smattworks.com/rubborigami.shtml

James Robert Lay said...

Or... what if we had a wall. Blank. Empty. Has not been touched. And then we applied some paint. But not any paint, a special paint. That allowed for innovation, communication and collaboration (www.ideapaint.com).

And then, we were given dry erase markers but were no longer confined to a 4x3 white board but an entire wall giving now 200 sq ft of creative freedom and madness.

And we started to draw, write, doodle, scribble and others joined in to create together. Something that has never been created before.

Then the plain white wall has become a wall full of thoughts, ideas, color, life.

Something special. Something different. Something organic.

Like this blog post.

Matt, the Credit Union Warrior said...

@Christopher 1) Julian Beever is amazing. 2) Workable Fixatif Spray is brilliant. 3) Problem solved.

The point I tried to make here is that we've chained ourselves to the tools, methods, and business models of the past. Entertaining the idea that there are alternatives to the way credit unions do things is a great start. If the world is your credit union's canvas, why use the same style, media, and artistic approach as everyone else? That's boring...and doesn't do anything to address the evolving needs of consumers.

@James Robert Thanks for the ideapaint link. I love that! One thing about a dry erase board is that once your masterpiece is created, it begs you to erase it and start drawing your next one. Credit unions painted a masterpiece decades ago. Instead of recreating it, we've resigned ourselves to admiring and pointing people to our past.

Mark Arnold said...

Whether it's chalk, paint, colors or anything else we need an eraser of some type as well. Not to stiffle our creativity, but rather to enhance and perfect it. Sometimes we need "do-overs."

Matt Monge said...

And I might take it even a step further. Or perhaps I'm just zooming in. In either case, I think we see this same dynamic at play within the CU world.

I'm new to the CU world, having only been a part of it for one year, but I already see this almost strange obsession on the part of credit unions. There's this incessant, unrelenting desire to be just like every other credit union. "What is that you say? Credit unions of our asset size have an average staff size of 120? Then we must cut our staff to 120 with great haste. What is that you say? The average credit union has a trainer to employee ratio of 1 to 100? Then we shall do the same." And on and on it goes...

I know I've alluded to Godin's Purple Cow idea already in another comment on this blog, but it could certainly be applied again here. Why, oh why, would we strive to be just like every other credit union out there? That squelches creativity, innovation, and to a degree, excellence. It seems that at least a good number of the successful credit unions with which I'm acquainted have adopted a "who cares?" attitude toward what other credit unions are doing. They're quite content to define themselves their own way as opposed to trying to mimic every other credit union out there.