Why Moments of Impact Matter

Little moments make a big difference

By: Elizabeth Vivirito, Managing Director, CFSI

This month we’re introducing a series called “Moments of Impact.” At CFSI we work hard to design our events, content, and experiences with impact at the center of our work. While we have seen notable strides from our members and in the marketplace, we recognize that impact often happens in small ways, too.

These moments matter. They may be small; they may be quiet. They may pass unnoticed by others.

They may not come with a flashy marketing campaign; they may not constitute a major media moment. Your colleagues may not have noticed them, much less your organization, or the marketplace. Yet whether now or years later, you’ll look back and remember them as important. Like that moment you met your spouse in a convenience store, the moment you landed in a new city, the moment you returned home after some years.

As we’ve reviewed dozens of moments that matter to our community, we’re noticing a few trends in the ways that these small moments add up.

Breakthrough Moments allow new ideas, new frameworks, new language to be born. This year we’ve seen breakthrough moments around how we understand and articulate global financial challenges with some key partners. We’ve also witnessed a breakthrough moment at EMERGE, when almost 800 of us realized that “all children are our children,” as Professor Bob Putnam spoke.

Moments that are Inflection Points influence how we approach common problems and create solutions anew. Eric Ries’ “lean startup” method calls it a “pivot” — a course-correction designed to test a new hypothesis. As an example, we’ve seen many organizations adopt our “financial health indicators” as they think differently about how they’re measuring their impact, and we’ll be highlighting some of these stories.

“Tipping Point” Moments happen when ideas, messages, or behaviors start to spread wildly. Malcolm Gladwell first coined this term, and we’ve seen examples of this in the widespread awareness around Americans’ cash flow challenges, as originally authored by CFSI and NYU’s US Financial Diaries work. This year we’ve also authored another tipping point moment in the takeup of #FinHealthMatters as a hashtag — but far more importantly, as a core idea driving financial service strategy.

Whatever the type, these moments influence us to change what questions we’re asking or what solutions we’re proposing — and they can have big effect: a mind is changed, a new idea takes hold, a determination sets in.

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Join us in recognizing some of these moments over the next few weeks and months. Reflect on the moments you’ve had which have impacted you. Share them with us: marketing@cfsinnovation.com. And share our stories with others.

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