Originally published on CUInsight.com

In case you didn’t hear, we found water on Mars. No, not those waters. Liquid, flowing water! You’re allowed to be amazed. It isn’t mountain stream fresh, nor is it warm beach salty, rather, it’s a combination of salts and other dissolved molecules which reduces its freezing temperature.

Basically, Mars is cold, and water as we recognize it would be ice. The lesson from the Doctor stands: Don’t drink Martian water.

So how did we find the evidence? It’s not like there was a giant ocean which we all happened to miss for decades…right? (No, we didn’t miss an ocean) We just had to know where and how to look. And time.

You may not have a Curiosity rover or Mars Global Surveyor at your credit union branch (I’m looking at you, NASA FCU), but you do have something even more valuable for your institution…staff! And they’re always on the front lines: observing, learning, engaging.

The water on Mars has been there since far before we ever started looking. We only found it after years of observations from a fleet of rovers and spacecraft. It’s that way with your credit union opportunities as well.

Joe’s speaking space geek again and it doesn’t make any sense.

Alright, let me explain. Your credit union runs day to day much as it always has. Small improvements here and there, but the basic idea remains consistent. Perhaps your credit union has been looking for opportunities and never realized how many existed. Maybe your older members are looking for help with online banking. Only problem, you run sessions as web meetings, which they’re uncomfortable with also. Perhaps this, alongside the regular education you perform, can be run as an off-site class. Did anyone notice that one of your new members owns a favorite restaurant in town with great private rooms? Your research will uncover more opportunities, just as looking deeper turned up water which has been there for millions of years.

It was only through super high resolution observations over a long period of time that NASA scientists came to the present conclusion. It’s time to look at your credit union, its members, and services offered with the same detail.

A fellow writer for the credit union industry brought up an important point about exposing opportunities. Bo McDonald (@yourmarketingco) wrote on CU Insight (yes, the same publication where this content ends up) about asking CU staff if they are active members. It seems obvious. Your staff use your services. Duh, one could say. Except, they often don’t. And the reasons why could expose many more opportunities for improvement! The largest being…no one asked!

Our space probes conduct research all over the universe. But it takes scientists pouring over the data to come to any conclusions. You’re the scientists for your credit union. Talk to your members, chat with your staff. Anytime a discrepancy comes up, ask why! And find your Martian waters!

Image credit: http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/15-195_perspective_2.jpg