Why Co-ops Must Embrace Innovation

You’re probably used to driving up to an ATM, but not everyone has the time. In Poland, that led one bank to an ingenious idea: The ATM comes to its customers.

“They modified an electric vehicle with a built-in ATM. Customers can now order it with an Uber-like app. The car drives up, you transact your business, the car takes off,” said Josh Linkner, a New York Times best-selling author and founder of several tech firms.

“I don’t know if that’s the future of banking or not, but if you live in that town in Poland, which bank are you going to?”

Source: Cooperative.com

Linkner told that story at Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives’ recent NET 2018 conference to make a point. He advocates looking ahead and being “on the forefront of change, the forefront of innovation—as opposed to becoming complacent and resting on our laurels.”

Today, pizza is delivered by drones and fuel tankers come to your car to fill it up. “What that tells us is for sure we can no longer simply rely on the models of the past and expect the same results,” said Linkner.

“We need an entirely new and fresh approach,” he said, and it requires what he called “the hottest technology of all: “human creativity. “That truly is our source of sustainable growth and success.”

Your co-op doesn’t need a Thomas Edison or Elon Musk to achieve that. “All of us can be innovative on a daily basis,” said Linkner, stressing there’s no reason to be afraid.

“Too often we tend to overestimate the risk of trying something new, while we underestimate the risk of standing still.”

Standing still didn’t help one-time map giant Rand McNally, which Linkner said failed to innovate and adapt to changing times and is no longer even in the top 10 map companies.

Lynn Moore, Touchstone Energy’s executive director, said innovation and adaptation is what the NET conference is all about.

“The ideas and interaction they receive help co-ops stay on the forefront and meet member-owners where they are, and helps us to build thriving businesses and communities,” said Moore.

“Integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community are the core values that keep Touchstone Energy Cooperatives fresh and connected to their members in the most challenging times.”


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