Big Time Thursday: Creating Magic at The ACUC in Texas! (Contest)

This entry was posted by Thursday, 31 March, 2011
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ACUC Keynoter Doug Hall

From Ashley Fenrick:

A few months ago, when I began working on the marketing for America’s Credit Union Conference (ACUC), I glanced through the keynote speaker biographies and one in particular stood out to me, Doug Hall. That’s because I remembered learning about him way back in college…ok I only graduated two years ago but still the fact that I remember him must mean something, right? He was discussed in my entrepreneurship class because well, Doug is pretty much an innovation and idea-generating genius!

He began his inventing career at the age of 12, inventing and selling a line of magic and juggling kits. After earning a chemical engineering degree, he joined Procter & Gamble where he quickly rose to the rank of Master Marketing Inventor. It doesn’t stop there – Doug is the founder and CEO of Eureka! Ranch, located in Cincinnati with offices in London, UK and Monterrey, Mexico.

Eureka! Ranch is a place where you can relax, reenergize and really take the time to think about your business and where it’s going. The eighty acre ranch includes a walking track, bicycles, a sand volleyball court, basketball hoops, a street hockey rink and even a lake for fishing, water skiing and tubing. Guests are encouraged to engage in all the activities they can bear and in between participate in various brainstorming and team sessions, where the ideas start flowing!

Want to learn more? Join us at ACUC, June 19-22, in San Antonio, TX, to hear Doug present his keynote session, Innovative Engineering: How to Innovate & Grow Your Credit Union.

In the meantime, here is a helpful guide for turning off filters and finding ideas from past ACUC speaker, Scott Berkun’s book The Myths of Innovation:
Four idea-finding (brainstorming) rules:
  1. Produce as many ideas as possible
    At this point you should focus on quantity, not quality. You won’t know which ideas have value until you really dig into them, so get as many ideas on the table as possible.
  2. Produce ideas as wild as possible
    Encourage participants to say whatever pops into their minds. Without this rule, we naturally constrain what we say for fear of embarrassment. Scott explains that if you set outrageousness as a goal and reward it, you’ll help turn that filter off.
  3. Build upon each other’s ideas
    No ideas are 100% new, they’re all combinations of other ideas. Making this clear prevents people from holding back for the fear of stepping on someone else’s toes.
  4. Avoid passing judgment
    Evaluation isn’t necessary during exploration. It’s too early in the game to understand the possibilities of new ideas, so why would you reject or accept any of them?

BIG TIME Thursday CONTEST: We want to know:  What are some of the things your credit union does to generate BIG ideas? Do you set aside time to discuss how to improve your products and processes? Answer one of those questions in a comment below and we’ll do a random drawing on April 7th (just in time to kick off our next Big Time Thursday contest) of all commenters to give away a copy of Doug Hall’s book Jump Start Your Brain and a magic kit to help spark your team’s next BIG idea.

Read more about BIG TIME Thursday Contests (there will be lots of great prizes through May 2011).

Ashley Fenrick is a Marketing Communications Specialist for the Credit Union National Association.

UPDATE (04/07): This contest has ended – congratulations to our winner, Amy Ackerman! Amy won a copy of Doug Hall’s book Jump Start Your Brain and a magic kit to help ignite her credit union’s next BIG idea. THANKS TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED!

CONTEST DETAILS: Contest begins today and ends on Wed., April 6th at 11:59PM (ct). No purchase necessary to win.  Make sure you leave an email address where you can be contacted.  The winner will be notified via e-mail and will also be announced on the blog.  Multiple comments are allowed as long as you have a valid idea in each comment. (No duplicate comments) The odds of winning depend on the number of entrants received.  Void where prohibited.

This competition is offered by Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and is open to anyone who comments on this post and is at least 18 years of age. Employees of CUNA and family members of such employees are not eligible to enter.

CUNA shall not have any liability for any malfunction of or damage to the prize. The award winner may be responsible for applicable state or federal taxes on the value of the contest prize.

3 Responses to “Big Time Thursday: Creating Magic at The ACUC in Texas! (Contest)”

  1. Amy Ackerman

    We did an oranization wide training on FISH! philosophy and used those sessions to receive input from everyone in the entire credit union to brainstorm ideas in the following categories:
    Choose Your Attitude – ideas to help people get the right mindset and a positive attitude for their day.
    Make Their Day – ideas that would really WOW our members (customers).
    Be There – ideas to help employees focus and really be present in member interactions.
    Play – ideas that we could liven up and have fun with our members.

    We received many great ideas and I think employees definitely like having input in what gets implemented.

  2. Hi Amy – thanks so much for your comment. I LOVE the FISH philosophy and think it’s great that you’ve asked for input from the entire credit union regarding what gets implemented. I hope the fun continues as you start turning all of those great ideas in to action!

  3. Lake Michigan Credit Union implemented an employee suggestion box program on January 1st of last year. In fact, this topic was the subject of my Next Top Credit Union Exec entry last summer: http://bit.ly/ntcue1

    In the last 15 months, we’ve received 604 submissions! The momentum for the program has remained strong for several reasons including:

    1. Executive Management support – all implemented ideas are rewarded with a certificate of achievement signed by our CEO and a Visa gift card

    2. Credibility in the program via timely feedback on idea submissions and involvement of the employees submitting an idea in the implementation process (once approved).


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