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  • Joel Morehouse

Wabi-Sabi And Why Partnership Is More Critical Than Product

Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously said, “One cannot step in the same river twice.” One might say the same about the financial industry, given the pace of technological development and growth in the past few years -- change is the constant.

In the West, permanence and perfection are not just design aesthetics, but expectations for a quality product. Mercedes, for example, has two slogans: “Stronger than Time” and “The Best or Nothing,” as if their product can be superlative once and for all. But what happens when times change, and a quality product becomes irrelevant or outdated? What about items that are constantly in service, but have no means to evolve and adapt? Clearly another design aesthetic is needed, one that can evolve and grow after the product is released to market.

In the East, particularly in Japan, the design aesthetic and philosophy of “Wabi-sabi” provides a counterpart to the permanence and perfection in the West. Rooted in the Buddhist observation of impermanence, imperfection, and incompleteness in the natural world, wabi-sabi is a design aesthetic that embraces change and flexibility and “becoming.” Programmers may know this concept, as it is a significant element in the AGILE method.

What does wabi-sabi look like in terms of product and partnership? Daland CUSO has been emphasizing just this with our CODE Council members and CU partners. It’s the idea that the success of a product is borne out by continued partnership, ongoing evolution and growth, and conversation. It’s the idea that the oak tree is contained in the acorn, but greater than it. It’s the opportunity to take risks and even be wrong, and then learn, change and evolve to success. A relevant product can start simple, but it can grow and evolve through continued partnership. In fact, a big part of what makes a product relevant is its ability to evolve in the years to come.

Many CUs balk at the idea of incompleteness or impermanence. Isn’t stability something to be valued, and a complete, superlative product at the outset? Well, yes! But to the extent that a product is static, it becomes stagnant. Seeing how rapidly change is taking place in the economy, the financial sector, and the tech sector, a CU cannot afford to be held hostage to an outdated solution.

Daland CUSO’s made no secret that we see the future of money going entirely digital. Is your FI stuck thinking of itself as a “dollars and cents” organization, when cryptocurrencies are increasingly claiming a place in the world of finance? What tools does your CU have to handle digital wallets and cryptocurrencies? Will your existing architecture and partners be able to evolve and support relevance, or will you be stuck running out contracts for outdated solutions that were the “best” of yesteryear?

We at Daland CUSO aren’t just talking about money going entirely digital, we’ve already built and deployed technologies for your relevant CU to participate in that revolution. Our STI, Community Ecosphere, and Coin-to-Core solutions lead the market in allowing your CU’s members to access and manage their crypto via Online/Mobile Self Service or in branches at kiosks. When your CU is ready to move from the “best” of yesteryear, to a living and evolving relevance for today and tomorrow, we’re ready to chat.

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