Is your credit union too busy talking about leaps and forgetting to take steps?
Some of the best inventions and innovations are the things we all look at and say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Sometimes they are so obvious it seems the inventors should feel guilty for making money off the idea. But isn’t that what makes them great?
My favorite little innovation I learned about recently was from Japanese designers that created nameless paints to help kids learn about colors. Instead of the tube saying the word “green” it is a blue circle plus a yellow circle. This helps with the concept of how colors are formed – genius! And, this brought some innovation to a category I would have considered to be basically at the end of its life cycle. I mean, who thought paint tubes were ripe for innovation?
Yes, sometimes innovative ideas are gigantically different than what is already in the marketplace. However, I think small changes are what help our brands, industries, and lives evolve over time. You can either be ahead of that change by taking small steps at your credit union each day – or you can get behind by always looking for the giant leap (and never taking a step).
I was recently at a conference on product management and innovation, where a speaker from an online travel site was going over the benefits of testing everything. And I do mean everything. He talked about how when he started there, the company had been experiencing a 40% decline in sales for the last two years in a row (yikes). He came in, started testing everything (website, emails, digital ads, etc.) and after being there for two years they are up 25% from the level they were at before the decline (wow).
I don’t know about you, but I think that guy has some serious job security.
What made his strategy work?
First – he was testing absolutely everything. And these were small items. For example, what if we change the subject line of an email? Or what if this button is red instead of blue? Or what if the button is 10% bigger? Or what if this is a link and not a button? Regular testing on as much as you can is key.
Second – you need to evaluate the data that comes in. When you send out three versions of an email to see what makes the most sense on a button, you should see which one worked better and implement that in future versions. Don’t wait for perfection and don’t just go with your gut instinct. Dig into the data to see what matters to the end user and what doesn’t.
Third – report on what you find. He and his team have a standard sheet they fill out after every test. And they do thousands of tests a year. When you get it set up as a standard, the one sheet is easy to fill out, and it helps to look back and show the successes of your efforts (within your department and around the organization). The main item here is to determine how much each improved action is worth to your credit union. What is a click worth? How many more clicks did you generate? What value is that creating for the credit union?
The most important thing is to focus on moving forward – even if it is one centimeter at a time. Sure, the giant leaps are great, but sometimes the tortoise really does win the race.