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A Case Study in Financial Innovation

Best Advantage Credit Union

Š 2009. Miron Construction Co., Inc.


What is inside 4

Revolutionary Thinking in the Financial Industry


Methodology for Change


Realities of a Dream


120 Financial Innovations


A Miron Case Study in Financial Innovation

Revolutionary Thinking in the Financial Industry

The Inquiry Before the plans are drawn, the vision begins to emerge. What will define the credit union experience of tomorrow? What will cause people to think differently about your financial institution? More importantly, how will a member’s experience be different from all others? What will cause people to stop, think and think again about the memorable experience they just encountered? What will challenge the future, stimulate innovation, yet preserve the past? Who provides members with experiences of which all team members can be proud? What is essential to ensure social profitability for your community while serving as the financial services provider of choice? How can we capture the possibilities through collaboration and vision?

A “Passionless” Industry In the 1960’s, tellers knew your name; every transaction was face-to-face and an aura of care and compassion surrounded every interaction. Kids looked forward to Saturday mornings with dad or grandpa to visit with Sally, the teller, and receive acknowledgement and a piece of candy. In fact, Sally knew you so well she even asked about the ball game you would be playing in that afternoon. There was no other way of conducting business. Between 1975 and the early 1990’s, advances in technology converted many ‘inmembers’ to ‘outmembers’. Members who would always come ‘in’ for their financial needs now went ‘out’ to a machine. Advances in technology pushed members out of branches, first by ATM’s and voice response systems, then by the Internet. Financial products became commodities that were easy to replicate which drove the consumer to focus on price. The tragic truth is that a once very personalized product has been lost. We now see a computer screen instead of a smile.

© 2009. Miron Construction Co., Inc.

Revolutionary Thinking in the Financial Industry


Today, approximately 64% of consumers are ‘outmembers’. How can a credit union remain high tech yet be high touch? How could Best Advantage Credit Union (BACU) provide a level of service that remains memorable and preserves the core of member respect within each transaction, and still remain efficient? We are convinced that most businesses mimic the competition. Why do all banks have branches, credit cards, ATMs, car loans, checking accounts, etc.? Who makes the rules? Who says there is only one way? Why do we continue to create experiences like all the others, only to become forgettable? BACU decided it was time to mix it up.

Apathy on the Rise Uncertainty in financial institutions is forcing banks, credit unions and lenders to reexamine traditional practices and provide greater concern and responsiveness to member preferences. Conventional service is no longer enough. In fact, the notion of traditional member support has not only caused insecurity, but apathy, boredom, anger and a sense of disrespect in the minds of the American consumer. In a recent study, over 22,000 people were asked to rate their experiences through a closed-gap analysis of 21 questions. The questions were designed to understand if the experiences these consumers recently encountered were memorable. The results were stunning.

Of the individuals surveyed, 70% felt their experience was forgettable; in other words, mediocre, boring, average, vanilla, like the rest, nothing special. Twenty percent of the encounters were horrible: “I will never go there again!”, while only 10% of the experiences captivated the member, compelling them to use the brand again. How does a credit union move from the 70% forgettable to the 10% amazing? Best Advantage Credit Union chose to step out of traditional thinking and build a new facility. They had a purpose: to make significant changes throughout all elements of their culture and enrich their members’ and team members’ experiences.


A Miron Case Study in Financial Innovation

Envisioning the Future What does the future look like for Best Advantage Credit Union? For what do we want to be well-known? How can we be unique? BACU realized through answering these three questions, that their legacy rested within the member experience. ‘Creating truly memorable experiences’ was born. They further concluded that by using the Miron Construction Co., Inc. Experience-Based Design methodologies, the ideal member experience could actually be realized. Experience variability is often accepted as a way of business and it’s been that way for years. But that had to change. How members feel after each transaction can actually be tailor-made and eliminate the inconsistencies often felt (some days are memorable, other days completely forgettable). For any organization, consistent team member behavior is essential for success. A negative experience will cost more than just an opportunity of doing business again with a member.

On average, statistics indicate that every unsatisfied member tells at least eight people about his or her experience. Dissatisfied, detached members share their experiences not only with friends and people they know, but also with the whole world through Internet blogs, message boards, and other streams of social media. BACU ensured member attachment by helping employees understand and deliver on the brand, vision and promise.

© 2009. Miron Construction Co., Inc.

Revolutionary Thinking in the Financial Industry



A Miron Case Study in Financial Innovation

“The process for delivering construction projects is changing. The methods and tools of the past that helped to create the customer experience are no longer enough. Every Miron project must be constructed in a unique way, based on how our customers feel, with outcomes that exceed industry standards.” David G. Voss, Jr., President Miron Construction Co., Inc.

© 2009. Miron Construction Co., Inc.


Defining the

VISION Four components served as ‘guard rails’ for the project and the Best Advantage Credit Union project vision:


Design a facility to minimize stress, support family involvement, and remove physical barriers between BACU team members and members. The needs of the member always come first.


Accentuate the personal relationship between team members and members connecting to member needs and personal preferences. Collaboration is the cornerstone of BACU.


Eliminate the misuse of members’ time. Increase quick, flexible, responsive, personal service that communicates care and respect. Be as efficient as possible and make it easier for members to do business with our team.


Move beyond the traditional model of a credit union to encourage and enhance social profit in the communities served. Show care and respect, give back and have fun.

The Vision This case study presents the numerous lessons, barriers, innovations and tools used to create the credit union of the future. This team venture illustrates how integrating “high-tech” and “high-touch” service is possible in a credit union environment. You will discover the strategies put in place, the barriers faced, the tools used to move past roadblocks, the keys to success and the outcomes team members created. Leaders from this pioneering organization share how they tackled various implementation and operational issues with experience ecology and uncovered the physical elements of a new facility. They reveal the informational essentials and more importantly, the often-overlooked behavioral integration of each team member.

Breaking Tradition If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got. Those words began the adventure for Best Advantage Credit Union. Under the direction of President Tammy Williams, a team was assembled unlike any other. The challenge… to build the credit union of the future - physically, informationally, and behaviorally. The team wanted to create a credit union that cannot be visited and replicated. A credit union that has not been commoditized like others in the past, one that does not exist. Envision a credit union focused on the needs of members, a facility that conveys sincere emotion, with surroundings that keep members coming back and team members never wanting to leave. There were three questions Best Advantage Credit Union, Miron Construction and Gries Architectural needed to answer first. 1. Is the current BACU member experience the best it can be? 2. Is BACU the primary financial service provider in the communities it serves? 3. Are the current practices at BACU innovative and better than the rest? In this emerging evolution of financial services, change within the credit union industry was essential. BACU realized their community was ready. Traditional practices in the member experience would have to be reexamined. Building a facility that doesn’t exist was Miron Construction’s charge. Making lives better for the communities BACU serves was our passion.


A Miron Case Study in Financial Innovation

Š 2009. Miron Construction Co., Inc.



A Miron Case Study in Financial Innovation

Methodology for Change

Experience-Based Design (EBD) Best Advantage Credit Union began the experience-based design process through its relationship with Miron Construction on a number of different fronts: First, multifunctional innovation teams were established throughout the organization. Each team had a designated leader who was responsible for facilitating the team’s effectiveness and business outcomes (as measured by member feelings and loyalty, problem solving, team collaboration, process effectiveness, queue times, metrics unique to the credit union such as closing percentage, access time, staff movements and member attachment). The key was to design a facility around ideal member outcomes and team member behaviors, not the traditional, stagnant model. Organizational impression areas and attach points (the moment of intersection between a member and the brand) were outlined. To win the buy-in of experts, innovation team leaders reported their ongoing findings to the team at morning huddles and company-wide forums. Over the course of the next 90 days, innovations were detailed through mind mapping. All current member transactions were mapped, as well as ideal conditions, before the design process could begin. The vision for this project continually served as a filter for its progression. Design-build partner, Gries Architectural, began drawing BACU’s dream facility once all member and team member interactions were mapped, and all innovations were developed.

“Together, as a unified team, we started with the desired outcomes – understanding how a member feels every step of the way. We then used Building Information Modeling (BIM) to visualize the design elements for the BACU staff. This eliminated non-value activities and shortened the building process by 32 days.” Paul Auer, Project Manager Miron Construction Co., Inc.

© 2009. Miron Construction Co., Inc.

Methodology for Change


Once the team detailed innovations, they were brought to life through Building Information Modeling (BIM). This state of-the-art architectural design process visualizes a complete representation of the building with which all users can interact. Rather than attempting to make sense of a 2-D blueprint, members and BACU team members were able to envision the new facility, foresee innovations and predict outcomes. BIM (Building Information Modeling) is a workflow that allows all the stakeholders involved in the design and construction process the ability to interact, add, and extract information as necessary to achieve the end goal which is the built environment. We can achieve this end goal successfully through the use of BIM by minimizing or eliminating errors and omissions through constructability reviews, collision detection, time laps construction sequencing, and accurate material take off. By having each of the stakeholders integrated into the project from project conception through construction and building ownership, each member has a vested interest in the success of the project. Experience-based design tools were used to assist in the facilitation of the innovation design process. Numerous tools assisted in focusing the innovation teams on the evolution of BACU. The credit union kept the innovation process alive through a combination of clear goals and deadlines, as well as the experience-based design methodology.


A Miron Case Study in Financial Innovation

“Best Advantage is an excellent example of an integrated team approach between building owner, designer and builder where we each achieved our end goals through the reliability of the information both placed and extracted from the information model. By communicating and collaborating continuously as the design evolved, together we were able to make well thought out decisions that ultimately affected the size, shape and look of the new building.” DAN BAYER, BIM Specialist Miron Construction Co., Inc.

© 2009. Miron Construction Co., Inc.


“We are all from this area, it’s a family experience. We wanted to out-think the big financials, while preserving our small, family environment.” Tammy Williams, President/CEO Best Advantage Credit Union

“Versatile, flexible spaces will allow for the evolution of change” commented Tammy Williams, president of Best Advantage Credit Union. “The thoughts and notions that brought us this far must be preserved. We wanted to stimulate innovation so it is relevant for our members.” The challenge of choreographing the activities of every member transaction can be a daunting task, but with careful pre-planning it doesn’t have to be. The key for any credit union is to focus not only on the operational manifestations of the problem (the processes and ineffective systems that create frustrations among members) but also the organizational shortcomings that inhibit collaboration, accountability, and the sense of a common vision among team members.

Over 170 unique financial innovations were created through the Miron Construction Experience-Based Design process. While some examples are captured within the context of this case study, a complete listing can be viewed on our website within our Experience-Based Design section.


A Miron Case Study in Financial Innovation

Experience Ecology Defined physical Physical elements include all aspects of spatial integration. These include furnishings with an understanding of fabric, pattern, color, illumination, texture, scent, temperature, flora, sound, taste and apparel worn by participants. behavioral

The Experience Ecology To design and build a credit union for the future, an unprecedented planning process was vital. Three critical elements of the experience were examined and incorporated to help transform the member experience: physical, behavioral and informational. Each area communicates independently, yet join strongly together to understand and create the ideal member experience. These main elements are often forgotten or executed erroneously. At best, their uniqueness remains unappreciated and segregated. Experience Element Ecology requires that all aspects be designed together based on the desired outcomes of team members and member. This forms greater balance consistent with the financial activities taking place. More importantly, this balance must enhance, not fragment, members, families, employees, and communities’ varying self-identities. Ideal member experiences must trigger, not restrain, creative innovations and identify the highest form of member feelings.

Š 2009. Miron Construction Co., Inc.

Behavioral elements include all movement sequence interactions between team members and members. This determines how individuals advance through the space and the time required to do so. Are the behavioral elements aligned to the outcomes desired? Is there transparency throughout the setting, between departments, and from one day to the next?


Informational elements include all forms, documents, communication collateral, spoken word gestures, postures, impressions, signage, technology, or other forms of media exchange. Is there integration between the informational elements and the behavioral? Are the informational elements based on BACU team members or member needs?

Methodology for Change


Eliminating Barriers Many large corporate institutions routinely apply the management principles of lean manufacturing to create consistency within business procedures. The advantages of standardization include speedier operations, lower costs, and improved products. However, an organization’s most valuable member activities involve dozens of steps that require sophisticated customization and expert judgment from numerous stakeholders. All of these steps involve people and are therefore resistant to change. The silo mentality of credit union functional areas represents a barrier that few institutions try to overcome. Inadvertently, the high degree of independent decision-making required to ensure decisions are sound makes the challenge even more difficult. While specialists provide important inputs at various stages of the process, none have a direct stake in the outcome, much less the enthusiasm to examine the effectiveness of the overall process.

E3 is Born Although credit unions are part of the same segment of the financial services industry, their individual core beliefs, how they began, what is important, how they operate and how they grew are completely different. At the core, however, is a desire to present an authentic, compelling, and differentiating story about the organization, its products and people. Internal story-telling or branding is not a logo, a program, or a tag line. It is about applying the organization’s external brand to internal vehicles allowing for the consistent delivery of the promise. It is the merger of informational elements (what we say about the brand), the physical facilities (do they represent who we are?) and human resources (what employees do, their behaviors). An internal story is the glue that binds culture and organization so the company can make good on the promises they are attempting to deliver. The perception of the organization is then created. BACU understood this and at the intersection of all three elements of the ecology, E3 was formulated. Created to harness the energy of every Best Advantage Credit Union team member, E3 is a simple philosophy.

Everyone, Everything, and Every time matters. It is the BACU purpose and promise. The most captivating experience is created at the moment it occurs. BACU team members understand the importance of this promise and work hard to live this belief. E3 standards and operating philosophies are discussed in daily huddles, team meetings, and through internal communications to facilitate internal coalition of all 29 team members.


A Miron Case Study in Financial Innovation

Š 2009. Miron Construction Co., Inc.


Shaping the BACU Design Process thru… Object Simulation To challenge the status quo one of the first activities was an object simulation event. It was designed to ask the question ‘what if?’ Member Service Representatives (teller), and Financial Services Representatives (lenders) were shown a spinning toy and then asked to describe it. Tactile adjectives like bright, dizzy, round, smooth, colorful, cheap, crazy, small, simple and others described the toy. Based on those adjectives, BACU situations and workplace spaces were connected back to the toy. Innovation team members then described the positive and negative aspects of their individual workspaces with those words.

“From the beginning of the BACU project, this facility was designed in a completely unique way - from the inside out. Early project integration with all stakeholders was absolutely critical for success. Every project should be designed and constructed with this process.” Steve Gries, President Gries Architectural Group, Inc.



Dizzy – What is dizzying about BACU?

Colorful - Do we have enough color? Is it the right color?

Simple - What is simple about BACU? What is difficult?

Round - What shapes should be felt in the new facility?

Whitewater As a real life representation of the evolution BACU was going through, a whitewater rafting event was created to assist team members in working through the progression. Like the Survivor reality television program, participants banded together with colored bandanas and team names. The event helped find focus. When the waters get really rough, what should happen? How do we get life jackets from a fellow team member to pull us out of trouble? Team members were asked to describe challenges and changes they experienced throughout the event. They were then asked how they could use this transformation to sustain and positively impact BACU for the future. Change is never easy, however, the whitewater rafting activity assisted the team during the transition. Don’t Drop the Ball Exercise What happens when the ball is dropped between the employee and a member? BACU wanted to illustrate this with their team members. To create the feeling of ‘being dropped’, all member transactions were mapped and roleplayed. Right versus wrong ‘hand-offs’ were illustrated so all stakeholders involved could feel the difference. How would you feel if you were sitting for 5 minutes? If you were left wondering what would happen to you next? If a team member left the office ‘processing’ information and abandoned you for 10 minutes? If you were left on hold for 90 seconds? What does it feel like if the ball gets dropped? Every time we leave the member, we drop the ball, the key is to never drop the ball.

A Miron Case Study in Financial Innovation

Innovation Team Ideation

Defined Walk

Identify Customer Attach Points List desired outcomes for each CAP Prioritize desired outcomes for each CAP

Talk Discuss what is needed to create desired outcomes Analyze experience opportunities and ask “Why do they exist?” Identify ‘the flow’ and ask “Why do I do this?” Napkin Exercise – “Spoken or Written” This application was intended to illustrate the difference between telling a story with words versus showing it with a picture. Team members were asked to sketch instructions for carving a pumpkin. Written instructions for carving a pumpkin proved to be significantly more difficult than conveying it through pictures. The interesting pumpkins, to put it nicely, did not come out how they were intended through words. They were carved exactly as intended through drawn visualization. However, whether your communication is spoken or written, the information must be clear and concise.

Create Prioritize options for CAP solutions Create action plans Plan the action to gain support

Act Review quarterly progress & revise

EBD Tools Utilized… Innovation Team Ideation At Best Advantage Credit Union, innovation is everyone’s responsibility. It is at the heart of all they do. Who knows better about system inefficiencies than the people in the middle of it everyday? This crucial step allows team members to assist in designing their own spaces and procedures. This input generates excitement and commitment throughout the entire workforce – team members are vested in the project and transfer enthusiasm to their members. Input is a crucial tenant for project success.

Implement Customer Attach Point (CAP) action item Apply the solutions

Innovation team members included stakeholders from member services, consumer lending, administration, financial services, concierge services, IT, marketing and accounting. Once the team was formed, the Miron ExperienceBased Design methodologies were used to facilitate the process. At the core of the process is the walk, talk, create and act cycle (see illustration).

© 2009. Miron Construction Co., Inc.

Methodology for Change


Mind Mapping Relationships are built on trust, truth and feelings, not transactions. These interactions lead to member loyalty. Member commitment leads to repeat business, and repeat business pays the bills. Like any great machine, the integral pieces must always be fine-tuned and well-oiled to attain and maintain peak performance. Understanding outcomes will illustrate the vision to team members and assist in holding them accountable for the attachment levels within an organization. This demonstration avoids a breakdown of the established processes. Best Advantage Credit Union began with the end in mind. The team outlined the expected outcomes of each impression area creating the ‘ideal experience’ state. As an example, the outcomes for a parking area included: happy, “I’m here”, comfortable, safe, welcome, relaxed, clean, secure, and easy to navigate. Without understanding the ideal outcome desired for the impression area, innovation team members find it difficult to understand the vision for the impression area. After the impression area has been identified, attach points outlined and ideal outcomes understood, the innovation process begins to unfold quickly.

Mind maps then help to visualize this process for the innovation teams, team members and senior leaders. Through this visual representation, every process is understood before design actually occurs. Altogether over 160 visual images were brought to life and illustrated to evaluate efficiencies and effectiveness (see illustration). Reverse Outcome Modeling Business processes must be designed around the experience to sustain themselves. The new metric for success in today’s global economy is attachment. Attachment leads to deeper, more meaningful connections between


A Miron Case Study in Financial Innovation

companies, members, and stakeholders, which results in lasting, profitable relationships. Financial institutions are finding that the winning differentiator is no longer product or price, but the level of attachment. The degree to which a company succeeds in developing attached stakeholders is a valuable asset for any credit union. Reverse Outcome Modeling begins by designing outcomes first – how people will feel, that personal connection with your brand. Those outcomes are then compared back to the current state to determine if the outcomes are being created. By understanding outcomes first, the member interaction vision can be designed. Process Maps Significant opportunities exist within each identified attach point. Miron set in motion the BACU interchange necessary to withdraw this information. Miron believes that every current member process must be understood and mapped before the actual design process can begin. High level components are categorized (see illustration for registration), queue times understood, and value stream maps created to display the alternatives for expanded and continuous improvement. Digital Connection All member transactions are videotaped in the current and ideal state. The videos are then played back to understand attach points and the desired outcomes to be created. Visual representation of every process is essential to the success of any project.

© 2009. Miron Construction Co., Inc.

“We were given a difficult challenge: design and build the credit union of the future. Members, staff and design partners worked collaboratively to reimagine and design the ideal member experience based on the Best Advantage culture, not ours. Together, we understood their values and beliefs to create over 120 financial innovations.” Steve Tyink, VP, Business Innovation Miron Construction Co., Inc.

Methodology for Change


Miron ROAD Trip BACU innovation teams toured various facilities both inside and outside of the financial industry to understand best practices. A few of these facilities included:

Authors of Change Activity Photos are taken of workspaces to redefine what they are and what they should be. By involving team members in understanding their current space, ownership of the new processes can take place. This guided effort dissects, evaluates and embraces the complexity of physical workspace as it relates to the design of a new facility. Discrepancies as well as strong, tangible practices are revealed within the organization. Travel Tool Benchmark companies and organizations accurately bring their vision to life. Touring these facilities reveals the elements, dimensions and fundamental characteristics that surpass the status quo and cause member attachment. BACU innovation teams toured various facilities both inside and outside of the financial industry to understand best practices and answer the question‌What is “ITâ€??


A Miron Case Study in Financial Innovation

Š 2009. Miron Construction Co., Inc.



A Miron Case Study in Financial Innovation

Realities of a Dream

Spatially Shaping the BACU Process thru…

Living Rooms

Are typical offices effective in making people feel comfortable? Research confirms what most of us assume: no. The living room concept evolved from emotions that happened in those rooms, emotions we wanted to elicit, outcomes we wanted to create. Internal innovation teams and discussions with members brought forth words such as “caring, comfort, respect, ease, fun, personal, and flexible” to describe the future space. Once the outcomes were understood, member interactions and ideal flows could be detailed. “Service Blueprints” were designed to understand that a couch was more comfortable than a chair. An easy chair was selected over a desk and an end table created a sense of ease over a filing cabinet. When members are more comfortable, sharing information is less complicated because the pressure is eliminated. Members tend to go to areas that are more comfortable, ones that resemble home.

© 2009. Miron Construction Co., Inc.

Realities of a Dream



An environment has the ability to strengthen or impair member and team member attachment to an organization. This occurs by reducing or encouraging existing conditions and feelings. Since 1910, one environment that has existed within the financial service industry has been the ‘teller line’.

Typically, when designing a facility, very little thought or experience design energy is focused on issues related to the integration of the teller line as it relates to the experience. The “ line” has been designed into 98% of the financial facilities in America and has served the industry for over 100 years. However, it is clear that many barriers exist within this setting when creating ideal outcomes for the member. By understanding the flow and barriers within the current system, 5 experience barriers were uncovered. The Miron Barrier Observation Tool is used to uncover possibilities. Five questions are asked and modeled to begin the process of breaking down the ideal member interaction: What are the physical barriers to the ideal outcomes? What are the communication barriers to the ideal outcomes? What are the sight barriers to the ideal outcomes? What are the spatial considerations for the ideal outcomes? What is the movement sequence that is created? After reviewing the existing barriers, BACU knew it was time for a change. Leading thought processes indicated that pods should be used to eliminate the barriers between team members and members. But not just any pod would do. A unique pod design based on the BACU culture and operating philosophy would need to be constructed. Enter Rapid Access Prototyping. This is a unique Miron Experience-Based Design Tool that replicates the existing design into a life-size foam model. This enabled users to understand the integration of human elements into the design and determine if ideal outcomes were being created.

After modeling and interacting, 54 design changes were made to the original design. Without this tool, BACU may have designed a pod with little understanding of expected outcomes, thus creating forgettable experience.


A Miron Case Study in Financial Innovation

Dream Rooms /Interview Rooms

These rooms are designed to elicit different emotions than those of the traditional office environment. Miron’s Experience-Based Design methodologies break down the barriers that stand in the way of communication. New member dream rooms help bring ideas to life and allow for a free exchange of information.

Kids’ Pods

Small children want to feel grown up. Therefore, smaller representations of the large pods were designed for our smaller members. Why should child transactions take place at a larger, intimidating pod they can’t see over? This enables children to begin the process of financial ownership and accountability at a space designed specifically for them. Kids are then able to feel comfortable when starting to understand the financial experience. Imagine how a mother will feel watching her child learn this new and important lesson.

Student Area

Students will now come to the BACU facility for their financial lessons instead of BACU team members going into the schools. Dedication to youth and the importance of early education is a core value for the credit union. Space has been set aside for student class activities. BACU recognizes that youth, at any age, are the future and that their needs must be recognized early.

Welcome to Our Neighborhood

Research has shown that the more connected people feel to an environment, the happier they are. Happier team members create happier members. Traditional offices create barriers to interaction. They stifle creativity, lock people out of conversation, eliminate brainstorming opportunities and block creative thinking. Great communication and growth happens in neighborhoods. Small, interactive spaces that allow for true collaboration based on understanding the people within. A flexible environment can change over time. Rigid walls illicit rigid thinking and confined ideas.

“You take care of you and your family first. Then you go to your neighborhood, and then you spread it on out within the community.” ~ Al Gore


A Miron Case Study in Financial Innovation


A Miron Case Study in Financial Innovation


A coffee shop setting allows for a relaxing and comfortable connection area. Members can enjoy BACU’s serene surroundings while enjoying their favorite beverage.

Lending Library

Educational materials are available in an environmentally-friendly location. Instead of providing everyone with a copy of an informational brochure, members are able to read or check-out current credit union information while they’re relaxing. Sustainability and reuse is key.

Work Kiosks

Members can come in and browse the web, work on personal projects or connect with family and friends. WiFi access is available if members bring in their own computer. Kiosks are private and relaxed.

The “Bored”room

Why are we put to sleep in a boardroom? Imagine a room built around the functions it serves rather than vice versa. A typical “bored”room is inflexible and static. The BACU boardroom now allows for creative freedom.

Express Lane

Like the express line at your local grocery store, checks can be cashed in less than 3 minutes allowing for greater ease and flexibility. This fun area is for members with a specific transaction request. On average, transaction time was lowered by 3 minutes.

© 2009. Miron Construction Co., Inc.

Realities of a Dream


Think Tank

A Think Tank environment offers the latest evolution of physical space aimed at drawing out ideas and innovations that don’t currently exist. This unique area is the basis for progress through a structured process of collaboration that supports continuous growth within the organization. The Think Tank can be used for brainstorming, organizing, prioritizing, evaluating, identifying and documenting the innovation process. This space allows for the creation of a clear, custom output of the content created during the innovation process and is used for alignment of actions and future reference. This room elevates BACU’s group intelligence and is the latest collaborative group setting based on the credit unions culture of fun and desire for dynamic growth.

New Titles

Innovation demands new positions and titles. Recognition of talent and effort in the credit union industry is paramount for success. If people feel respected and appreciated, it will be reflected in their performance. Below are examples of title changes: Behavorial Matra’s: describe what people do and who they are. Financial Architect Designing your loan solutions. Vice President of First Impressions Creating a captivating experience. Member Service Representatives Member specialist making a difference Spatial Matras follow through to other items and bring ideas to life. Possibility Room - Imagine the possibilities. Skybox - The sky is the limit (members only).


A Miron Case Study in Financial Innovation

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The Best Experience!

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Everyone • Everything • Every Time - Matters


Owner’s Manual

When a new member joins a credit union, they usually get a standard packet of communication detailing what they can expect. Most of the information is forgotten, discarded and never thought about again.

BACU is not just any ordinary financial institution. You are an owner and a member of our family. For this reason, BACU elected to provide ‘The Owner’s Manual’ to all members. The manual guides new owners through all BACU processes. New and existing members alike will know exactly how to navigate the facility, through descriptive photos, and with contact lists , ATM locations, frequently asked questions, staff member contacts and other relevant information.

Napkin Sketch Book - Team Member Training Manual

Napkin sketching is a new, inventive way of looking at business. It solves problems and communicates ideas with pictures. People understand concepts better through pictures than written words. With the explosion of YouTube, Hulu, and Fancast, among others, communication has become more visual. All people, adults and kids alike, learn easier and more quickly through pictures (see illustration).

Rooftop Patio Garden (aka The Escape)

“E3 is what we believe at BACU. Every moment counts, every moment is important, our members needs always come first.” Jill Greve, Member Experience Leader Best Advantage Credit Union

An often-overlooked area sits immediately above the drive-thru service area. By integrating sustainability in all elements of the facility, a unique space was created for member and team member interaction. Now nature, in the form of an old English garden, fills an existing, and unused, area without additional cost implications.

© 2009. Miron Construction Co., Inc.

Realities of a Dream


The Credit Union of Tomorrow - Through The Eyes of Our Youth

To assist in the development of the next generation of credit unions, BACU has embraced leading-edge thinking, including younger members in strategy sessions. CU Tomorrow is a program that publishes research and opensource business plans to help attract younger members, promising young professionals, and younger board members. The initiative will help guide the organization to meet the needs of younger members while becoming more youth-focused. To begin, we asked pointed questions to a number of younger representatives. Examples include: What is your favorite place to hang out? Who has the coolest place to hang out? Why is it cool? What are you looking for when you come to a Credit Union? How does it make you feel? What do you think when? How do different colors make you feel? How does our website and other CU’s websites make you feel? When you think of BACU, is it a man or woman? What kind of music do they listen to? What kind of car do they drive? Responses were captured and served as fundamental elements of our design process.

“By altering traditional processes and utilizing lean building systems on the project, Education Everywhere 19% of waste was eliminated. There’s the Little ATM, lending games and even play magnetic money for This created additional children to become familiar with financial terminology. Lessons are taught right in the lobby by the BACU café and can be observed by anyone and evopportunities for Best Advantage eryone. Continuous financial education is a fundamental key to the success as funds were freed up to add of BACU. innovations to the building not commonly found. A rooftop Yes Ideas Say ‘yes’, not ‘no’. Say ‘yes’, not ‘maybe’. This concept is about going that patio garden for members and extra step to answer questions and make sure members are supremely satisthe staff to enjoy is one example fied. It is essential to always be able to say ‘yes’ to members. Do whatever it of what non-traditional takes to make members happy. Never say ‘no’, or ‘I can’t help you with that’. Rather ask, did I do everything I could for you and do you feel taken care of? thinking can generate. In the If you can answer “yes’ to these questions, you will secure a happy and atpast BACU could have only tached member. dreamed of such an addition to their facility.” Retreat Room vs. Break Room Craig Uhlenbrauck, VP, Marketing Miron Construction Co., Inc.


A Miron Case Study in Financial Innovation

Where do team members re-charge, take a breath and restore energy? To alleviate challenges, stress and anxiety, a customized space was created for their relaxation. Unique to the credit union industry, this spa-inspired, revitalization area provides a get-away, even if only for a few brief moments.

Š 2009. Miron Construction Co., Inc.



A Miron Case Study in Financial Innovation


Remember your anticipation as a child while opening the kit that would allow you to release your kite high in the air? You didn’t have a worry or a care in the world. Kites serve as a foundational element of the BACU culture. As you enter the lobby area you will notice kites flying overhead. Those kites symbolize the dreams and imagination of childhood. Flying high among blue skies – it feels as though anything is possible.

Eliminate Notices

Why are notices that members could care less about sent to them on a continual basis? Throughout the design and construction process, BACU innovation teams worked to understand, lean, improve and increase the efficiency of their processes. By modeling and detailing value stream maps of member transactions, non-value added activities were eliminated. At BACU, members are partners, and their comfort and satisfaction are vital. By cutting out extra steps for members, the process becomes more convenient for them.

Concierge Efforts

This BACU initiative focuses solely on the member and not the transaction. Walking into a facility as a potential member can be an uncomfortable and intimidating situation. This innovative idea takes newcomers through the process with ease. From the moment they enter the facility, new and existing members feel taken care of and respected. Conversation and the process itself are made easy. This is vision in action.

Š 2009. Miron Construction Co., Inc.

Realities of a Dream


Best Advantage Fortune Fortune Cookies

This is a fun and exciting experience when new members enter in the facility for the first time. Before opening an account, they get to open a BACU fortune cookie. Some of the fortunes include: It’s your lucky day! Your pot of gold will overflow!

Break Down The Wall

Current workspaces are cubicles with little chance for interaction. This promotes a lack of communication and maintenance of the status quo. Spaces become compartmentalized and separate and so does the thought process (i. e. this is my space, not yours. Your problem is not my problem). At BACU the walls have come tumbling down. Collaboration, partnership, open communication and building relationships are now central to BACU process.

Your future is so bright you have to wear shades! Chances to win the lottery are? Chance for a bright future with BACU? 100% For some, financial security means yelling Bingo! For you it means yelling BACU!

Technology Integration

How do you connect with your community and add value without creating more noise? At BACU, plasma televisions provide information at the touch of a button. Information is being transmitted in an alternative way. Via plasmas in front of pods, members can view fun BACU events, as well as receive an overview of available products and services, but in a “not in your face” way. Visually interesting pieces transmit information in a completely new way.

Your decisions today help your money tree bloom tomorrow!

Whether it’s watching Brillion’s Friday night football game, or using the touch screen info center in the café area to learn more about financing, this technology can be used at the members’ leisure to locate information that is important to them. BACU’s mission is to give back to the community in which they are located. Transmitting information in a new way further cements BACU as a fun part of the community.

Drive-Thru Experience

Throughout the course of a year, over 25,000 drive-thru envelopes are used for member transactions. When members were asked, they indicated that they could care less about the envelopes, in fact, why not save a few trees? The elimination of 25,000 envelopes saves 300 trees per year. These rescued trees are now being donated to the city of Brillion. Rather than envelopes, reuseable fabric pouches are now used for the convenience of the members and to protect the environment.


A Miron Case Study in Financial Innovation

Š 2009. Miron Construction Co., Inc.


New Ideas for an Old Industry It is a radical notion that new ideas for an old industry can be summed up at will, with a process not unlike a scientific method. “We had, as the designers, the tools and systems that allowed us to come up with solutions when given the challenge of re-thinking the credit union of the future,” commented Steve Tyink, VP of Business Innovation for Miron Construction. Every member of the BACU team was involved in the creation of the new facility.

“We shaped the facility from the inside out. We didn’t follow the lead of other financials and attempt to replicate what they were doing. We asked ourselves, Why do we exist? Why we do what we do? Most importantly, how would our members feel if we didn’t exist. Once we began to find our cause, our belief, our truth, the entire process began to unfold.”

Tammy Williams, President/CEO Best Advantage Credit Union

With the basis of reverse outcome modeling, a methodology created by the Miron Experience-Based Design team, member and staff outcomes were understood before informational, physical or behavioral integration was produced. “It is critical to understand how people feel as they enter a space, at every attach point. Without this true perception, ideal experiences will never be met,” added Jill Greve. “We want our members to feel they are home, ever time they connect with BACU.” With hundreds of hours spent in ideation, four months of planning before a line was drawn by the architect and over 120 financial innovations never before uncovered, Best Advantage Credit Union is a special place. Special in the sense that the moment you enter the building, you know that the experience is different, unique. You have a difficult time placing your finger on the ‘IT’, but you realize how you feel… a feeling unlike any other encountered at a financial institution.


A Miron Case Study in Financial Innovation

Š 2009. Miron Construction Co., Inc.


120 Financial Innovations

15 BACU Experience Zones

Don’t Drop the Ball

206 Member Attach Points

Dream Rooms

Advantage Club

Dream Wall

At Home Greeting

Drive Thru Money Pouch

Attach Points

E3 Service

Authors of Change

Education Everywhere

Barrier Observation

Eight Tough Question Cascade

‘Bored’ Room

Eliminate Notices

Caffeine for your Thoughts

Eliminate the Wait Campaign

‘Call Girl’ Director

ETQ Cascade

Child Center

Everyone, Everything, Everytime Matters

Cluster Spaces Collaboration Spaces Communication Connection Points


Evolution to Revolution Activity Exit Expectations

Community Social Profit

Expect the Unexpected Services Area

Concierge Service

Experience Tour

Connected Pod Display

Express Lane

Connection Diagraming

Financial Architects

Contoured Member Pods

Financial Life Simplification Process

Credit Union Café

Financial Outcome Expressions

Credit Union Experience Standards

Financial Pathway

Credit Union of 2020

First Impressions Reception

Credit Union Soundscapes

Fortune Cookies

CU Mind Maps

Gold Coin Receipt

Digital Connection

Green Checking

A Miron Case Study in Financial Innovation

Happy Member Connection

Mortgage Closing Experience

High School Sports Station

Mortgage Dream Room

High Touch & High Tech Integration

Napkin Sketch Book

Homeowners Gift Basket

Neighborhood Collaboration Spaces

Hospitality Services

New Account Welcome Center

Imagine The Possibilities Plasma

New Heights Drive-thru

Impression Areas

No-Wait Express Service

Innovation Events

Node-Based Pod Design

Innovation Team Ideation

Object Simulation

Inside/Out Planning Process

On Us Checking

Instant Savings Bonds

Outcome-Based Team Training

Kids’ Pods

Owners Manual

Kids Comfort Area

Personal Development Planning

Kids Financial Education Center

Personalize Display Screen Connection

Learning Library Services Lending Library Living Rooms Member Message Verification Member Mind Mapping of All Transactions

Picture Frame Personalization Pod Plasmas Possibilities Room Rapid Access Prototyping Recycled Wall Art

Member Outcomes

Recycled Walls

Member Services Station

Retreat Center

Member Specialist

Retreat From It All

Member Vital Pulse

Reverse Outcome Modeling


Rooftop Garden

Š 2009. Miron Construction Co., Inc.

120 Financial Innovations


120 Financial Innovations

Save a Tree by Driving Thru Service Blueprinting Sky Kites Student Areas Studio Seating Switch & Find Board Team Daily Huddle Process Team Neighborhoods Think Tank Environment Think Tank Flexible Seating Think Tank Writing Walls Through The Eyes of Our Youth Event Thought of the Day Touch Screen Personalization Travel Tour Exercise Virtual Space Modeling VP of First Impressions VP of Member Experiences Welcome Center Atrium What ‘IF’ Role Playing Work Kisoks Yes Ideas Youth Advisory Group Youth Connection Blogs


A Miron Case Study in Financial Innovation

Acknowledgments We would like to thank the following people and firms who shared their passion and dedicated their expertise to the successful creation of Best Advantage Credit Union. Miron Construction Co., Inc. Project Manager

Paul Auer, LEED® AP

Project Superintendent

Kris O’ Connor

Project Coordinator

Leann Erbrecht


Mark Johnson

Building Information Modeling (BIM) Specialist

Dan Bayer

Business Innovation & Experience-Based Design

Steve Tyink

Business Development

Craig Uhlenbrauck

Gries Architectural Group, Inc. Project Architect

Steve Gries, A.I.A.

Project Manager

Sam Tijan

Systems Furniture Inc. Project Interior Designer

Stacey Prodoeht

Project Interior Designer

Stacy Eastman

Romes Design, Inc. | HVAC & Plumbing, Electrical McMahon Associates, Inc. | Civil Engineering Larson Engineering of Wisconsin | Structural Engineering

All Content © 2009 Miron Construction Co., Inc.

Professional Photography Weston Imaging Group, LLC

Phil Weston

Graphic Design Sarah Parker

Miron Construction Co., Inc. 1471 McMahon Drive Neenah, WI 54956


US $14.99

Best Advantage Credit Union Case Study  

This case study presents the numerous lessons, barriers, innovations and tools used to create the credit union of the future. This team vent...