Swoboda Research Centre is proud to introduce the Reflections Series: a platform for practitioners – executives, directors and staff of credit unions and their stakeholders – to present their views and ideas. These papers are rooted in the experience of organisational planning and delivery, rather than the study of others’, and provide an insightful complement to traditional research papers.

It is often said that ‘learning through doing’ is the most effective way to learn. Subjecting our own experience to rigorous reflection and analysis, thinking through our actions and approaches, considering what has worked well and what has not worked well and coming to clear conclusions often results in a growth in understanding that is long-lasting and practically relevant. It is the way that many credit union practitioners and activists have learnt and developed personally and professionally over the years.

The Swoboda Reflections Series aims to capture the learning that CEOs, senior managers, and board members have generated through their own experience of credit union governance and management. By encouraging people to reflect upon and analyse their experience of tackling credit union issues and to explore their ideas in an accessible written format, Swoboda aims to assist credit union leaders to share what they have learnt with colleagues and activists throughout the Swoboda membership and the sector more generally.

Reflection Series papers are subject to rigorous peer review, in the same way as the academic papers published by Swoboda. But against different criteria. There is no requirement for academic referencing or for studies based on academic research. Rather the requirement is for a well-presented, self-reflective enquiry, written in clear English, and which contributes to the improvement of organisational or operational practice in managing and developing credit unions.

Through the sharing of ideas and approaches through these papers, the aim is to promote credit union thinking and reflection, and all practitioners are invited to submit ideas for papers based on their own experience and practice. We also invite practitioners to comment on and reply to the papers written by their colleagues in the sector, for it is through collaborative discussion and debate that new ideas and understandings emerge.

All practitioners and activists are invited and encouraged to submit proposals for papers. Contact Swoboda’s Director of Research, Dr Paul A Jones (p.a.jones@ljmu.ac.uk). Through the sharing of our learning and ideas, let us strengthen our credit union movement together.