Lately it seems like Hollywood and television have run out of good, new ideas for entertainment. Many movies and programs coming out are sequels, reboots and “reimaginings” (whatever that is). For a recent example, look no further than the re-whatever of The X-Files on Fox.

Admittedly, some of these sequels and reboots are a lot of fun. For example, I think some of the updated Star Trek franchise films are at least as good, if not better, than the originals. On the flipside, for every good sequel or remake you get, there’s always going to be a Jaws: The Revenge or Godzilla (1998).

I receive a number of credit union newsletters and can say with certainty that too many of them have the same information (i.e.: the same promotion every spring, the same information listed every fall). Is your bank or credit union out of good ideas? This applies to a number of areas, including consumer service, marketing, the brand and operations.

If your financial institution finds itself in an idea rut, consider the following kickstarters to find new inspiration.

  • Break out of the financial institution silo. We are all guilty of focusing solely on the task at hand, daily operations, etc. Over time, this limits our vision and blunts focus. Look outside the world of banks and credit unions. Scan blogs, financial news websites and periodicals. Banks and credit unions must learn to think of themselves as retailers, so it makes sense that we look to the retail world for inspiration and new blood.
  • Jot down every idea that comes to you. Oddly enough, some of my better ideas pop into my head during my morning run. For you, it might be during the shower, prayer, meditation or even when you’re focusing on absolutely nothing. The point is, capture those ideas to see if they may work later. If you pause and say “oh, I’ll write it down later,” guess what? You won’t. And the idea is likely lost forever. I use a tool like Evernote to capture random ideas and thoughts,
  • Try to notice how others tackle business. For example grocery stores are masters of the “impulse buy” by placing all those tempting candy bars and periodicals right next to the checkout line. does a terrific job suggesting other things you might want to buy based on past purchases. Point being – you don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel every day. You can just take a look at how others have reshaped that wheel and find a way to make it work for your bank or credit union.

Rocky V should never have happened. Nobody was waiting for somebody to do better than Alfred Hitchcock with Psycho and Clash of the Titans was terrific as an original. Is your bank or credit union simply slapping a new name and color scheme on old ideas and hoping consumers buy it? If so, it’s time to consider looking for a more original and innovative approach.