’Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.’ Leave it to a genius like Steve Jobs to find such an eloquently simple way to express a complex but core truth about our industry.
We’ve learned a lot about what it really means to be an innovator in the 15+ years we’ve been around as a company, first as Webtech (1999), then CUMarketing (2008) and at last, thirdstream (2011). What we know for sure is that it’s not easy. We also know that this is what we are fully committed to being for our clients and partners in the financial services industry.
As our buddy Steve says, being an innovator requires leading. Leading requires constant analysis and introspection about what’s working, what needs to be fixed and what needs to be tossed in the dustbin. It’s also about really understanding who we’re building things for (your members and customers) and staying vigilant about meeting their needs. Living as we do in this digital groundswell era, those needs are constantly evolving. Which requires that we evolve as well.
Last year, we took a long, hard look at where we were and how we’d arrived there. While we were very proud of the work that we’d been doing as a full-service software development and marketing agency, it seemed pretty clear that we were at a crossroads. It led us deep into a rebranding process that inspired a very introspective analysis of who we were and what we wanted to create. Most importantly, it gave us pause to rediscover the why of our company. As introspection often does, it’s changed everything for us.
What we (re)learned about ourselves in this process is that the time and opportunity had come to focus solely on online account opening. It revealed our clear purpose, passion and drive as a company. And that is to build the very best, most compliant, user-friendly, results-generating and constantly evolving online account opening platform in the financial services industry.
As we move forward, here’s what will guide us:
what we really want to do (our mission)
To make it incredibly easy for people to open accounts online.
what inspires us to do it (our vision)
Meeting the needs of the user is the highest goal for our team. Exploring and discovering new ways to do this feeds our curiosity. Using the best of technology and beautiful design to help us achieve that goal feeds our collective passion as professionals and as a company.
what drives us to innovate (our why)
While we leverage digital technology to bring our vision to life, it’s not what drives us. It’s the gas, but it’s not our engine. It’s the paint brush, not our art. It’s the software, but it’s not the experience we create for users. It’s one of our most powerful tools, but it’s not what pushes us to new discoveries. It shimmers at every corner of our vision, but it isn’t our core.
What is behind our passion to innovate? What motivates our desire to achieve excellence? What makes us come to work everyday? Why do we smile when we power up our computers every morning and feel satisfied when we walk to our cars at the end of each day?
It’s the thrill of creating something that has no end where user experience and technology are concerned. Every failure teaches us to do it better. Every success inspires the next discovery.
There is no finish line for innovators like us. There is only doing it better. We never say we’re done. We prefer to say, ’What’s next.’
So ‘what’s next’ for us? With cumulus™ as our innovation platform, there’s plenty. We’re constantly innovating this powerful little engine to help banks, credit unions and FIs attract new business and keep their clients, customers and members deeply engaged in a financial relationship that’s mutually beneficial, meaningful and infinitely fun. Yes. We said fun. Let’s do this thing.
P.S. As of April 2nd, 2015, we’ve started doing all this great stuff from our new office headquarters.