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Innovation in business: what companies can learn from MasterCard

Wallet_full_with_money_and_cardsInnocentrix and Digital Bridges, conducted a study to see how South African companies addressed innovation.  What they found was that while companies knew innovation led to competitive advantage, innovation wasn’t as prized strategically as it should be. Innocentrix and Digital Bridges’ research found that:


  • Innovation is not managed or driven adequately
  • Innovation management has to really put a lot of emphasis on the softer issues around employees
  • Innovation needs to be part of an organisation’s strategy for it to be effective


Companies that succeed have a deliberate innovation process.

What the research emphasises is that companies should have a deliberate innovation process – one with links to corporate strategy and customer needs. Having a process is more important than spending millions on innovation. Companies with a process achieved up to 40% higher growth in their operating income than those who didn’t.


MasterCard’s process includes fostering a culture of innovation among staff.

MasterCard created an idea incubator – MasterCard Labs – to create an environment where “disruptive and breakthrough solutions” could be borne. The company encouraged and fostered a culture of innovation in business for all its employees. Their “intrapreneurship” strategy harnesses the diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives of all its employees. One of MasterCard’s programmes brings together teams of developers, designers and business people to create a prototype, business plan and video demo, all in 48 hours.


Staff ideas result in rich products for the market.

MasterCard’s global head of innovation, Kim Purcell, told Women2 that one of the staff collaboration projects that focused on meeting the needs of merchants yielded two products. ShopThis and Simplify Commerce. The former is a platform than enables consumers to instantly purchase goods from a digital publication and the latter, is a developer-friendly platform that makes it easy for merchants to accept payments.


Want to buy something featured in a movie – you can with MasterCard’s mobile wallet.

MasterCard developed its PayPass mobile wallet, and while it hasn’t been introduced in South Africa, it has been hailed as revolutionary in the US and shows innovation in business. It allows you to purchase items seen in a digital magazine you are reading or buy something in a movie that takes your fancy. While MasterCard competes with other major players in the mobile wallet game, it is making strides towards new payment solutions.


Innovation in business means an agile approach to payment solutions.

As MasterCard has proven, adapting products to the needs of an ever-changing, technologically adept market, means significant business success. Paycorp is an example of an innovative South African company that is the only provider of end-to-end payments solutions. Paycorp’s approach to delivering payment solutions has always been driven by an entrepreneurial spirit and an ongoing culture of innovation in business.