CU Water Cooler

On Collaboration... (and Bacon)

Matt DavisComment
Photo by 52 Kitchen Adventures

Bacon’s never been so popular, and folks are lined up to capitalize on it. There’s a bar in Madison that gives out free bacon to patrons every Tuesday. allows you to add a side of bacon to any website. Microsoft’s recent publicity campaign for Kinect featured a bacon cart. There’s a bacon Ustream channel, a bacon love storybacon lunchboxesbacon lip balmbacon air freshener, bacon t-shirts, bacon chocolate bars, and even bacon-flavored gumballs.

The basic mindset seems to be: take something great (bacon) and pair it with something cool and unexpected to create something even better. At their best, these combinations become greater than the sum of their parts. At their worst, they seem forced, awkward, and meaningless.

Collaboration amongst credit unions feels this way sometimes. We all know that collaboration allows us the scale, collective wisdom, and associated efficiencies to accomplish and create amazing things. We also know that bringing certain parties together, or collaborating on various types of initiatives, can be like pulling teeth.

This is frustrating, but it shouldn’t be.

What if we spent more time encouraging parties that are already working together to do more of it? What if we forgot about mixing bacon and bubble gum, and focused on putting more bacon together with more eggs, more filets mignons, and more cheeseburgers? If experimentation with other combinations happens…awesome, I hope it does. We spend way too much time and energy, however, worrying about credit unions and system partners who don’t work together. Instead, let’s celebrate those who already get it…and encourage them to collaborate even more.


Matt Davis lives in Madison, Wisconsin. He is the Innovation Director of the Filene Research Institute specializing in implementation. Matt presents, advises and completes project work with credit unions based on Filene's i3 ideas and innovative processes. The thoughts posted here are his own, and do not reflect those of his employer.