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Innovation is on the Rise

By: Tracie Loudermilk, Manager, Professional & Consulting Services


As the saying goes, “It Takes a Village,” and the same is true with Innovation.

In 2018, MDT began looking at ways to create an innovative culture within our organization.  Our Executive team knew that there were many talented people at MDT, but finding a way to not only get people to think about innovation, but also to create a platform where ideas could be planted and harvested, was something that needed to be put in place.

The process of creating an innovative culture started when we partnered with David Peterson, from i7strategies, to facilitate a voluntary workshop.  The goal of the workshop was to get a group of MDT leaders from across the organization together to talk about what we see our industry, clients, and services looking like over the next 5 – 7 years and, more importantly, to learn to think innovatively about that future view.  A tremendous amount of brainstorming occurred during those 2 days!

Following the workshop, our first innovation challenge was set in motion.  This challenge was specific to process improvement, and all ideas had to be able to be implemented within 90 days and with a cost of less than $2,500.  Seven teams behind seven submissions made up this first challenge, and all of the ideas were formally presented in front of a 3-judge panel and the entire MDT executive team.  While there was only one winner of the challenge, 5 of the innovative ideas were approved for implementation and are actively in play today at MDT.

Out of the first innovation challenge, the MDT Innovation Marketplace was created.  The Innovation Marketplace is governed by a team of managers that oversees the innovation process and keeps innovation in the forefront of our employees.  We chose Viima to manage our marketplace – a software package that allows staff to submit their innovative ideas and the executive team to review them.  Viima creates visibility of the ideas from submission to fruition.

In September, 2020, MDT hosted its 3rd innovation challenge and, yes, it was conducted virtually! We’re excited for the staff that submit ideas, as well as the team members that work on the presentations and rollout.  We’re even more excited to see where all this innovation will take MDT in years to come.

MDT was founded on innovation – a group of credit unions were looking for a more cost-effective data processing solution that, in the spirit of people helping people, would well serve their members and could also be shared with other credit unions.  There have been many innovations over the years that have helped to keep MDT viable and growing. There’s no better time than now to remind ourselves of the importance of innovation and consciously put it to work for MDT.