MADISON, Wis. (5/14/09)--Credit union professionals can learn how to take innovation from a buzzword and develop it into a core competency in a new all-CUNA Councils white paper. To be truly innovative, an organization needs to provide innovation at every point of the organizational compass, in all aspects of business, and among every employee. “Innovation as an Industry Focus” discusses what it takes to be innovative, including embracing innovation as a core competency. The paper also addresses looking at innovation as part idea, part state of mind and strategy, or fine-tuning what is already in use. Credit unions have a reputation--deserved or not--for being slow to board the innovation train. Many credit unions are innovative, but that sluggish perception still persists in the marketplace, the paper said. “Regulators and boards of directors often fail to reward risk; they are content to see credit unions overcapitalized and safe as many are today. Being content and overly cautious is an unwise strategy in today’s market. Predictions of 4,000 credit unions remaining in five to 10 years from now are an argument against being overly cautious,” the paper said. In a separate news item, The Conference Board reported Wednesday that innovation is critical to economic recovery and U.S. competitiveness (Lonestar Leaguer May 13). “Going forward, an economy’s competitive edge will depend on its ability to maintain a superior talent pool and knowledge base, along with an environment that encourages and rewards new ideas, products and processes,” said Bart Van Ark, board chief economist. For more information about the councils’ white paper, use the link.