We are currently seeking a Research & Insights Manager who will lead and manage ideation, research, and insights development for CU Direct’s Innovation Lab. Primary responsibilities include (1) Conducting extensive research in the exploration of new markets and innovative solutions on core lending and digital delivery functions, as well as the exploration of future opportunities consistent with CU Direct’s long-term strategy. (2) Designing and employing expert facilitation techniques for customer engagements, internal cross-functional initiatives, and as a third-party service. (3) Organizing and delivering insights that shape innovation for CU Direct and the credit union industry.
The principal responsibilities will be as follows:
Direct quantitative and qualitative research projects, both within the organization and with external partners, to better understand client needs, identify emerging trends, and provide perspective on industry impacts in coming decade.
Develop and employ a user-centered design process to ensure that CU Direct has the deep understanding of relevant users, tasks, and environments required for iterative and breakthrough innovation.
Facilitate and directly conduct primary research initiatives internally and externally with a variety of industry participants across all organizational levels (executive, management, and functional roles).
Consistently monitor a wide range of relevant media and industry reports. Scan the competitive landscape for emerging trends, opportunities, and threats.
Actively reach out to credit unions and related industry participants to identify opportunities for CU Direct to enhance or develop innovative solution sets that support their vision and achieve their strategic objectives.
Facilitation and Promotion
Coordinate, conduct, and actively participate in ideation sessions with internal cross-functional teams, clients, and external resources as applicable.
Facilitate the development of personas, journey-maps, and user experience deliverables associated with innovation initiatives.
Lead concept testing efforts internally, and with external stakeholders, to qualify the value of innovation proposals.
Provide subject matter expertise and best practices to internal teams and clients regarding research objectives, design, implementation, and analysis methods.
Planning & Reporting
Synthesize and bring strategic insights to CU Direct based on trends and innovation that are integral to the industry.
Present research and insights findings in a compelling way that paints a meaningful picture for all stakeholders, and results in actionable intelligence.
Scope, plan and organize multi-phase projects taking innovation concepts from ideation to product development.
Drive the planning aspects for innovation by gathering stakeholder insights and developing initiation documents, strategic positioning, and creative briefs based on stakeholder needs and development platforms.
Maintains pipeline reports, and a consistent system of documented reporting and metrics on behalf of the Innovation team.
At a minimum, each candidate should possess the following skills, experience and background:
- Bachelor’s degree required. Advanced degree, MBA, and relevant certifications (PMP, Six Sigma, UX, etc.) preferred.
- A minimum of seven years of experience in a related discipline required, preferably within the financial lending and/or technology industries.
- Deep experience of the automobile and credit union industries, lending, and software development, as well as familiarity with CU Direct’s products, including an understanding of the challenges and opportunities that currently exist.
- Research, product development, and advanced facilitation skills required.
- Technology architecture and some software development experience preferred.
- Project management experience, from initiation and planning, to implementation and ongoing management, to completion.
- Demonstrated comfort and proven success navigating in an environment of continuous uncertainty.
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills that contribute to overall organizational performance and to a positive, creative work environment.
- Demonstrated ability and comfort using various software programs, internet sites, databases, and other cloud computing solutions. Must be able to self-teach, problem solve, and trouble shoot independently using available resources.
- Demonstrated desire and ability to ‘push the envelope’ of current thinking by actively and independently researching and learning from all industries.
- Intermediate business and financial forecasting and modeling skills.
- Linear and non-linear thinking and communicating skills.
- Strong relationship building skills, with the ability to work with people from many disciplines and backgrounds at all levels of various organizations.
- Ability to sell ideas, products, and services to a sometimes-reluctant audience.
- Able to maintain flexibility, openness, and positive attitude when balancing multiple projects, assignments, and tasks and shifting priorities based on team member, customer, market, or member needs. ?
- Ability to operate with limited direction/supervision using effective planning, time management, organization, prioritization, and attention to detail skills.
- Willing to be empowered and held accountable for results. Ability to manage up.
- Demonstrate ability to clearly and effectively communicate information, from executives to front-line staff, to both internal and external audiences, via telephone, email, various online posts, in person, and in writing. ?
- Demonstrated analytical skills, sound judgment, problem identification, problem resolution and decision- making skills. Effective demonstration of determining options and selecting appropriate strategies or methods.
- High degree of professionalism, tact and sensitivity to strengthen CU Direct’s image in the marketplace.
- Must be able to operate in a very fast paced small office environment.
- Demonstrated ability to drive measurable results, even in the face of opposition.