We stared at them warily. We exchanged nervous glances.
“I can’t do it!” Michelle barely uttered.
“Yes, we can.” I hollowly reassured. “People eat raw oysters all the time.”
“What if we don’t like it?”
“What if we do? We won’t know until we try. Maybe we’ve been missing out…”
|Lora Bray is research librarian at CUNA.|
Our mission? Try something new! Raw oysters appeared for the exploration. It took 45 minutes and significant consultation with the patient waiter to work up our courage. To chew, or not to chew?
Michelle’s look was of grim determination. Suddenly—down the hatch! I followed suit. We again exchanged glances, this time calculating.
Innovation involves risk. What if the audience is reluctant? What if the idea flops? Suppose return on investment is not realized…What if “something bad” happens?
Conversely, what if “something new” is fabulously successful? What if you have found a lucrative opportunity?
Suppose an elusive target market is served up an irresistible delicacy with flourish and flair? What unexpected positive outcomes might be realized with your willingness to take a chance on an idea?
Remember as you taste test this week’s research that “the world is your oyster!”
Whet their appetites
Anticipating member needs requires knowledge of their circumstances, preferences, opportunities, and experiences. Research this week presents revealing consumer behaviors for your consideration.
In “The Shifting Nature of U.S. Housing Demand” by the Demand Institute, we learn that rentals have a big influence on the housing market. It will take two to three years for a large supply of homes for sale to be cleared.
“At that point home ownership rates will rise and return to historical levels.” And further, “More than 70% of those planning to move three to five years from now say they intend to purchase their home.”
Also of note: new homes in the near future will be smaller in size as Americans make housing budget adjustments.
Any quirky financial habits? “More than one in four Americans revealed that they put their “mad money” in the freezer,” according to survey results reported in Boston College’s Squared Away Blog. And, “More people with college degrees chose the freezer than did noncollege graduates.”
The second most popular hiding place at home is the sock drawer.
Can you provide new services for single women? Explore Boston College’s observations on the “Financial Perils of the Single Woman” to fully appreciate their household finances and challenges in comparison to other demographics. “Single women are far more at risk…If we make 77 cents on every dollar [men earn], men have 23% more discretionary income,” according to former financial advisor Wendy Weiss.
Meanwhile, note financial challenges for senior members in “Unemployed Older Workers: Many Experience Challenges Regaining Employment and Face Reduced Retirement Security” by the Government Accountability Office. Retirement income for this group is affected as follows:
* The unemployed cannot save for retirement;
* Lengthy unemployment may require early personal retirement account withdrawals; and
* Social Security benefits may be claimed earlier than intended.
More bad news for seniors is uncovered in “Senior Hunger Report Card from Meals on Wheels Research Foundation Finds America Failing Nation’s Seniors.” It finds that “8.3 million seniors faced the threat of hunger in 2010, a 78% increase since 2001.”
And, hearkening back to the Boston College research, “The effects of food insecurity are disproportionately borne by women, who make up over 60% of seniors facing the threat of hunger.”
Are your members hungry for services that can help to meet various immediate needs? Are you creative in offering assistance to families needing money for not only food and housing necessities? Are your members “freezing” their funds or depositing them in the sock drawer? Can you provide a better solution?
Pearls of wisdom
The job scene oyster beds are rich with news yet again. In Columbia University’s “Job Displacement and Mortality” report we learn that “for high-seniority male workers, mortality rates in the year after displacement are 50-100% higher than would otherwise have been expected.”
Another career angle is that on the job, “external hires will initially perform worse than workers entering the job from inside the firm and have higher exit rates. Yet they will be paid more and have stronger observable indicators of ability as measured by experience and education,” says Administrative Science Quarterly in “Paying More to Get Less: The Effects of External Hiring Versus Internal Mobility.”
Do you hire from within and experience these phenomena?
Ultimately, Michelle and I decided we are not “raw oyster people,” but that’s fine. We learned a lot not only about seafood, but one another after our dining exploits.
West Coast oysters have a different flavor than East Coast oysters. Oysters are somewhat expensive. Consumption of raw oysters revealed hidden fortitude. Spilling one’s water glass as distraction is not an effective way to avoid culinary challenges. Ongoing camaraderie is a happy result.
“Try something new” can be a grand success. Alternatively, nothing ventured, nothing gained.