It is possible to do more – and better – with less

Wednesday’s final keynote speaker Navi Radjou promotes frugal innovation

DENVER, CO (July 16, 2015) — Navi Radjou, author of Frugal Innovation: How to Do More with Less, presented a golden opportunity for credit unions to uniquely position themselves as more than a financier within the world’s emerging frugal economy during the final general session of the 2015 World Credit Union Conference and America’s Credit Union Conference.

Navi Radjou left the audience a departing message,

Navi Radjou left the audience a departing message, “It’s time to humanize innovation and show that [it] is done by people for people.”

“This is an economy empowered by inventors and entrepreneurs around the world,” said Radjou with examples of people who are innovating faster, better and cheaper to provide both economic and social value within developed and developing nations. “You have to be creative to do more with less.”

Radjou suggested credit unions learn to play a transformer role to help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into products quicker and scale them up to value. By offering a ‘maker space’ environment for entrepreneurs to prototype their new solutions, credit unions can co-create value that, in turn, values citizens. He said maker spaces are a way to enhance relevance of branches.

Radjou also explained the role for credit unions as connectors to build communities of entrepreneurs to share best practices on a local and global scale. “Share your assets, resources and data with each other,” said Radjou. “This could be extended to sharing “next” practices globally.”

As citizens become more frugal, value conscious and aware of social inequality and growing resource scarcity, they will push the innovation process forward. “The citizens are going to build the frugal economy by erecting two pillars. The first is sharing and the second is making,” Radjou shared.

Young adults in particular are driving the frugal economy. “Millennials will be 70 percent of the work force in the next decade,” said Radjou. Millennials are cost conscious and are more interested in sharing products than owning. Two thirds of Millennials want to be their own boss. The credit union industry should consider these traits when looking to grow youth membership around the world.


2015 WYCUP winners were congratulated by World Council President & CEO Brian Branch (left), Chair Anne Cochran (fourth from right) and Secretary Brian McCrory (right).

During Wednesday’s general session, the following six young credit union professionals received the 2015 World Council Young Credit Union People (WYCUP) scholarship for an all-expenses-paid trip to the next year’s World Credit Union Conference:

  • Henrique D’Azevedo Canal, SICREDI, Brazil
  • Stephanie Sievers, ANECA Federal Credit Union, USA
  • Tanya Brown, Jamaica Cooperative Credit Union League, Jamaica
  • Jae Kim, Servus Credit Union, Canada
  • Lisa Totaro, Sunmark Federal Credit Union, USA
  • Leandro Hendges, SICREDI, Brazil

Wednesday afternoon, several attendees visited World Council and CUNA member credit unions in the Denver area. The tours included visits to Bellco Credit Union, Denver Community Credit Union, Elevations Credit Union, Fitzsimons Credit Union, Public Service Credit Union, Security Service Federal Credit Union, Westerra Credit Union and White Crown Federal Credit Union.

The 2015 World Credit Union Conference and America’s Credit Union Conference concluded 15 July with a closing reception in downtown Denver’s Sculpture Park. Guests enjoyed live music and activities replicated from various festivals across the state of Colorado.

Review conference activities, including daily event photos, on Facebook and Twitter using #CUinDenver2015. Learn about World Council’s 2016 World Credit Union Conference in Belfast, Ireland, 17–20 July at

World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions’ financial performance and increase their outreach.

World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions in 105 countries serve 217 million people. Learn more about World Council’s impact around the world at

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