In 2000, Blockbuster Video was approached by a much smaller company offering to sell their business for $50 million. The CEO dismissed the offer, saying the company was too tiny, too niche and losing too much money at the time — and so the company passed up the chance to purchase Netflix.

Kodak dominated the market for films and photographs for most of the twentieth century. An engineer working for the company designed the first digital camera in 1975 — but Kodak executives brushed it off, prioritizing its then-successful film business instead. 

In 2005, MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe met with Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg reportedly offered to sell DeWolfe his year-old company. DeWolfe declined.

The world of business can be a ruthless one, and the tides of change are not forgiving. Brands and systems that once dominated the market can collapse in the blink of an eye as the world changes and new ideas take over.

The key to building a lasting organization lies in not only the capability to build success now, but in the willingness to keep pace with change and prepare for what lies ahead. Innovation is the lifeblood of any long-lasting institution.

Credit unions and other financial institutions are designed a little differently from Fortune 500 companies like Kodak or Blockbuster, but it doesn’t make the need for innovation any less critical. 

Younger consumers grow up and they bring their habits and preferences with them, dominating the market. They replace cameras with the iPhones they use to document their social lives. They choose Facebook over MySpace, casting the latter into irrelevancy. They choose Netflix subscription over traditional TV and movies and turn the entire entertainment market on its head. 

Stay in touch with young people – their needs, desires concerns and habits — and you’ll stay ahead. It’s not enough to be content with the way things are now.

What is your institution doing to prepare for the wave of change that is almost certainly still ahead?