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Design thinking the focus of first crash the ACUC
MADISON, Wis. (4/25/12)--For the first time, attendees of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) America's Credit Union Conference (ACUC) will be joined by a select group of 15 young credit union leaders, known across the industry as the Crashers, according to the Filene Research Institute.

The Crash trend was born from a 2010 Filene Research Institute project in which a group of young credit union professionals crashed the Credit Union National Association (CUNA)s Governmental Affairs Conference and the CUNA/World Council of Credit Unions The 1 Credit Union Conference. Three crashers of those events helped create the Washington, D.C., event. This Crash builds on the original program.

This Crash, like previous events will coincide with the basic conference agenda established by CUNA--including scholarships for registration--but the projects, as a result of the experience, will be different.

The 2012 Crash the ACUC will be taking on a unique approach when it comes to problem-solving. Starting June 17th, the selected Crashers for Crash the ACUC will be partake in a day-long Design Thinking Workshop led by Julie Norvaisas, design researcher and strategist.

The team of 15 will initially focus on learning the concepts of design thinking and its applications to solving real-world problems.  During the week, the selected 15 will apply design thinking methods and theory to spark innovation. The result will be a viable business concept for credit unions. Pre-conference assignments will be required to engage the topic and to feed intense research and discovery sessions. In the end, the group will create something wholly new and applicable in the credit union system.

Sparking the conversations on Sunday will be a focus on community development.

"The time is ripe for credit unions to be bold," Norvaisas said. "The unbanked and under-banked are a dreadfully underserved market; they commonly fall prey to predatory business practices and struggle to deal with financial transactions that most of us take for granted. Together the group will understand their needs and motivations and discuss the constraints that make it difficult to serve them in traditional financial services businesses, such as credit unions, so we can rise to the challenge."

There is increased commitment this time around, both from extended on-site time and required homework in advance. With this added investment, Crashers can guarantee their time out of the office will be valuable, as they return home with a real-world solution for their credit union and their community, Filene said.

In addition to Crash the ACUC, The Cooperative Trust has three national and four regional events planned alongside new opportunities, including year two of The Collider innovation tournament.

The Cooperative Trust is a grassroots organization hosted by the Filene Research Institute and supported by CUNA Mutual Group. The Cooperative Trust connects and enables young people fighting for the future of socially responsible finance through meet-ups, mentorships, and collective action. For more information, use the link.
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