NextUP™ program: MEMBERS Development Company takes innovation and collaborative thinking to new heights

New program prepares future industry leaders to create solutions that instill member loyalty and drive growth

COLUMBUS, OH (December 5, 2018) — MEMBERS Development Company has rebranded its Innovation Council as the NextUP program to better reflect its commitment to usable research and development that increase value for credit unions. NextUP will offer an exclusive,world-class professional training program for current and up-and-coming leaders from among its 60-plus owner credit unions in areas such as product development, strategic-growth coaching and innovative thinking.

“With technology changing at near hyper-speed levels and growing competition from traditional and non-traditional sources, credit unions need help staying competitive and relevant,” said Jeff Kline, Chief Executive Officer, MEMBERS Development Company. “To fill this void, MDC is taking its innovation and R&D efforts to the next level while partnering with premier industry leaders, like future think and Baker Tilly, to provide NextUP participants R&D and ideation training for hand-picked current and future leaders.”

For nearly 20 years, MDC’s owner credit unions have collaborated on new tools and methods to enhance credit unions’ product and service offerings. The CUSO annually recruits talented professionals from owner credit unions to imagine and design new credit union services, products and tools,as well as identify more efficient ways to manage operations. The NextUP program accelerates those efforts.

In addition to online meetings and training, participants spend four days meeting in person to develop actionable ways to advance the credit union industry and help MDC’s owner credit unions compete with other banking players. Participants receive extensive training from future think, a premier innovation training firm,and Baker Tilly, a worldwide accounting and business-advisory firm.The first two days take place during MDC’s August Owner Meeting, followed by two half days in November.The final day is spent before the February Owner Meeting, when NextUP teams present their final concepts to MDC ownership as project pitches.

Kris Kovacs, President/CEO of Constellation Digital Partners, a CUSO delivering a unique platform allowing credit unions and fintech providers to collaborate on mobile and online services, says skills developed working with MDC and its innovation program aided Constellation’s launch.

“The ideas and research coming from the NextUP program are completely unlike any other program in the movement,” Kovacs said. “There is no other group that not only develops the initial idea but then spends the following 12 to 18 months bringing it to reality. Ideas, backed by research, partnerships and execution, can change the world.”

This past February, the program’s team of innovators pitched five ideas to MDC owners, with four of them approved as new projects:Chatbots, Auto Sharing, Member Score and Total Rewards.

“We are proud to partner with MDC on its NextUP program,” said Lisa Bodell, CEO and founder of future think, which empowers people with tools and techniques for accelerating change, driving growth, and inspiring creative problem solving. “The program is a vital tool in creating the credit union industry’s future leaders, giving them the capabilities they need to reach their own potential and drive the fresh thinking that credit unions need to bring new value to their members. From our work providing innovation training across all industries, we see the tremendous benefit that investing in innovation skills can achieve, and the NextUP program is a strong investment in both the current and future C-suite leaders of MDC’s credit union owners, as well as the long-term success and competitiveness of their organizations.”

“NextUP offers a tremendous value to credit unions, both for the trailblazing products and other initiatives that will help the industry and because of the professional development opportunity it affords owners’leadership teams and rising staff members,” said Kent Zimmer, MDC’s Director of Finance and staff liaison to NextUP.

To learn more about MEMBERS Development Company orNextUP, use the links below.

Jeff Kline

Kent Zimmer

About MEMBERS Development Company

MEMBERS Development Company is an interactive network of industry leaders serving as a catalyst for success in the credit union industry by identifying and connecting disruptors in financial services. MDC’s owners pool resources to enable relevant research, develop innovative products and services, create valuable vendor relationships, share knowledge, provide economies of scale and keep a consistent focus on the horizon. Combined, our owners serve 16 million members, hold nearly $226 billion in assets, maintain over 1,900 branch locations across the nation and employ more than 40,000 employees. More information is available at


Jeff Kline
MEMBERS Development Company

Media Contact:
Cheryl Johnson

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