February 18, 2022

Buy The Railroads – How to win at digital transformation


Over the holidays I played the board game Candyland with my nieces. Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Candyland was designed by a schoolteacher who taught children in a polio quarantine ward in the 1940s. She designed it so that children would not have to read or use any strategy at all to play. In the game, all players start at the beginning and follow a single colorful path toward a Candy Castle. Along the way, this path winds through the Peppermint Forest and the Chocolate Swamp, and players never deviate from the predetermined path provided by the game maker. Taking turns, each player draws from a face-down stack of cards that show one- or two-colored blocks and advances to the next block along the path with that color. The player who reaches the Candy Castle first wins the game.

Like Candyland, the path for digital system management is always the same. A credit union reaches the end of the useful life of its existing solution, either by choice or because the provider will no longer support it, then embarks on an all-out effort to draft an RFP that reflects the frustrations and limitations it has suffered with the solution that is being retired. In the end, three or four providers are considered, and another system is chosen that has the same limitations as the old one, accompanied by a boatload of promises about how the vendor’s roadmap for the solution leads to the goal of Digital Transformation. Is “Digital Transformation” any less mythical than a Candy Castle?

As I considered this paradox, I wondered if there was another game that credit unions should consider as a more modern and effective path to digital transformation success? And embedded in my question was a hint: the word “success.” What game is more synonymous with traditional concepts of success than Monopoly?

Monopoly includes the ability to apply a strategy as you play. Your strategy can be different than the strategies employed by the other players and does not have to be sanctioned, or even anticipated by the game maker. Maybe you want to hold out, build up cash reserves and buy only a particular set of properties. Or perhaps you buy every property you land on until your cash reserves are low. Each time you go around the board you can make incremental moves that improve your strategy, or change it entirely based on the conditions of the game.  There is no single path; there is no one way to play.  You can even make your own house rules (do you put money in Free Parking or not?).

Read the full article on CU Insight.