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4 Things Membership Organizations Can Learn From Innovative Companies

Last week, I was looking through Fast Company’s list of The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies. The list is based on organizations “whose innovations are having an impact across their industries and our culture.”

You probably won’t be surprised at their top 6: Apple; Facebook; Google; Amazon; Square; and Twitter.  

But some of the others - such as #7 Occupy Movement;  #36 Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospitals#37 Recyclebank; and #41 Kickstarter -  that are more community-oriented, might surprise you.

Innovate or perish?

As I read through the reasons why these organizations were chosen, I started thinking that many of their attributes could also apply to membership organizations.  And since there's been a lot of talk about whether “it's the end of membership as we know it”, I thought this list offered some food for thought for organizations looking for innovative solutions for retaining existing members and tempting millennials to join in.

For membership groups looking to innovate, the words that Fast Company uses to describe these 50 innovative organizations offer clues as to how to stay relevant:

  • amplifying
  • boosting
  • connecting
  • exploding all the rules
  • fueling
  • infusing
  • recharging
  • reinventing
  • stoking insatiable...demand
  • transforming
  • exploding all the rules

4 things membership organizations can learn from these innovative companies

So after reading about the Top 50 innovators, I've captured 4 things that membership organizations could learn from the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies:
  1. Walk the talk (#1 Apple) 
  2. Play the long game (#4 Amazon) - it’s not just about recruiting more members or even younger members - you need to take a longer view and ensure you offer member value to motivate them to participate in order to retain these members.
  3. Relentlessly reinvent ...programs offering member value? - In the case of #12 Southern New Hampshire University, it is about “reinventing higher ed, online and off.” But membership organizations need to check in with members to ensure their programs, services and even their mission - remains relevant and if not - it can be reinvented.
  4. Make yourself useful - LinkedIn (#30) - the professional social network “transform[ed] itself into a must-visit hub of information sharing” by “letting members curate daily news roundups to showcase their expertise.” Membership organizations also need to find ways to be the hub of two-way information sharing for their members.

For more inspiration, check out the Fast Company article here: The World's 50 Most Innovative Companies.

Image source:  Innovation - green road sign courtesy of Bigstockphoto.com

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]
Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]
Published Monday, 07 January 2013 at 8:30 AM
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