The invention of payment methods started as early as the time of barter trade when people traded goods and services for other commodities. During that era, the main aim of most buyers and sellers was creation and exchange of value. Buyers and sellers played the dual role as they performed each other’s functions to get something different in return for what they traded. However, the introduction of money as a medium for various business exchanges led to the development of diverse organizations. Since then, change and innovation became an integral part of any business. Companies that are capable of making superior changes and innovations have managed to seize a larger market share because consumers tend to adjust their needs and requirements to current technological changes. There are companies that exhibit long-term incremental changes and innovation and the ability to sustain excellent performance.
However, some businesses have implemented historical changes and innovations at some point but later experienced stagnation. Technology has been a crucial innovation-driving force that motivated numerous corporations to adopt new approaches. In addition, customer needs and requirements are constantly changing with time. For this reason, companies are obliged to engage in continuous change and innovation processes to generate strategies that will guarantee the creation of products and services congruent with the prevailing requirements of consumers.
The paper analyzes change and innovation in MasterCard, a renowned global funds transfer corporation based in the United States. Given that MasterCard is one of the few global credit card companies, it has enabled people to make and receive payments electronically across the world better than any other company.
MasterCard Company Background
This achievement is not an accidental event but a result of the company’s tremendous efforts to meet the current technological and market requirements. Initially, it was impossible to securely and conveniently wire money across the world. However, MasterCard’s creativity and innovation strategies have provided the world with the best service ever. The research has established that the company focuses on its consumers striving to offer superior services. MasterCard has been using the latest technology to achieve its goals. The organization has embraced an innovative and creative culture in the individual and team settings, which has encouraged the continuous improvement of products and services. The company focuses its change and innovation strategy on the core objectives – efficiency, security, and convenience. MasterCard has incorporated the five elements of the Pentathlon Framework, ranging from the creation of an innovation strategy to the involvement of all stakeholders. Interestingly, the nature of the innovations varied from incremental to radical.
The four innovation drivers such as the ever-changing customer needs, business environment, stiff competition, and advancements in technology have bound MasterCard to innovate on a regular basis. It should also be noted that the company underpins innovation and value creation in all its doings. Therefore, MasterCard has appropriately applied technology, fostered team and individual creativity through the supportive programs, and found ways to efficiently manage the available knowledge. It is recommended that MasterCard creates effective strategies for its loyal customers, which enable the company to meet all the customers’ requirements. It is also imperative that the company introduces up-to-date products and services to address the modern customer needs and market trends. MasterCard should uphold its core goals of convenience, efficiency, and security regarding its payment methods. Given the current high rates of cybercrime, MasterCard should design debit and credit cards with the concealed personal details. Such cards will reveal personal information only when the rightful owners run their fingers through them or perform other owner identification procedures. Wearable technologies can be a perfect solution to satisfy the demands of the company’s clients.
MasterCard Company Description
Originally named Interbank Card Association, MasterCard was founded in 1966 in the United States of America. The California Bank Association bought Master Charge and introduced MasterCard brand in 1979 (MasterCard, n.d.a). MasterCard is one of the few global credit card companies. The organization engages in funds transfer activities, which have made electronic payments across the world accessible to all customers. With a MasterCard, people from various parts of the world enjoy greater convenience as they do not have to travel around with different currency notes and coins. In addition, itinerant workers do not have to hustle at the currency exchange bureaus to convert their money into their host nation’s currency whenever they want to spend it.
Although MasterCard does not make or issue credit cards as it is simply a method of payment, it liaises with banks in various countries that issue credit cards using MasterCard payment method. Therefore, the credit-issuing banks gain rewards, levy annual fee and other charges, as well as set interest rates to be earned or paid by clients with the aforementioned credit cards.
Since its inception, MasterCard has been committed to establishing global acceptance and settlement of transactions requested by its members or cardholders and creating a global electronic transfer of funds among its clients. The company has also been expanding the members’ business by developing marketing programs to building a greater awareness of the brand, which also enhances and supports the clients’ marketing activities and operational functions. MasterCard does not set the annual fees for the cardholders, issue cards, force merchants to accept cards or adjust discount rates, or determine annual percentage rates. It is the role of various banks that accept the company’s payment method to manage the relationships with cardholders and merchants (MasterCard, n.d.a). MasterCard earns a profit by charging its clients for using its payment method and banks for foreign currency conversion.
The company has to ensure that it competes aggressively to win more clients and increase its wallet share. For instance, MasterCard offers platinum cards, which provide exclusive service offering cardholders support and access to most financial services worldwide. The company’s global technology, operations headquarters, and data facility is located in St. Louis (MasterCard, n.d.a). It is from this center that MasterCard controls and oversees all the processing of its global transactions including the development of software that manages the company’s technical infrastructure and systems.
MasterCard performs various finance transfer-related functions. For instance, it monitors debit and credit transactions (MasterCard, n.d.a). The company has ensured global commerce advancement as it connects financial institutions, cardholders, businesses, and merchants across the world. MasterCard plays the roles of funds processor, transaction franchisor, and financial advisor. It also develops marketing programs that create awareness for its brand, as well as, increases business for MasterCard cards-issuing financial institutions. There are more than one billion cards issued by MasterCard through its brands such as Maestro, Cirrus, and MasterCard (MasterCard, n.d.b). In addition, more than 16 billion payments are annually made through MasterCard. The company partners include more than 25,000 financial institutions that offer services in more than 200 countries (MasterCard, n.d.b). MasterCard is the most widely accepted payment card, with more than thirty million acceptance locations. The paper analyzes the efficacy of MasterCard Corporation in managing change and innovation and suggests technologies that should be adopted by the company to ensure successful management of the innovative and creative processes.
Innovation Trends at MasterCard
The company seeks to utilize its technology and expertise to make payments safe, simple, and smart. Particularly, MasterCard has taken safety and security measures that reduced the sum of money lost to fraud for every $100 spent to 5 cents, as compared to 6 cents that were lost on major global cards (MasterCard, 2014). MasterCard has taken a leading position in the world payments industry as all of the company’s transactions were initially conducted via larger electronic devices such as computers and ATMs. However, with the advancements in technology, mobile phones, especially smartphones, have the greatest potential of being used for making payments. For instance, Google, Apple, and Samsung have been trying to engage in the global funds transfer business by using mobile devices. In response to this threat, MasterCard has engaged in various innovations in mobile payments. It seeks to introduce services that will make it possible for people to enjoy faster, safer, and easier payments through mobile devices access available in smartphones, watches, and other wearables. Therefore, the companies will find a safe way to provide the digitized card information.
It should be noted that MasterCard innovates and makes relevant changes in pace with technological advancement. For instance, the company is pursuing migration to the Europay MasterCard Visa Standard (EMV) because the standard embraces global acceptance and interoperability of the chip-based smart cards (MasterCard, n.d.c). The only impediment to this shift is that a majority of merchants have not upgraded their systems according to the standards. The efforts of MasterCard to adapt to the technological changes indicate that the company pursues various innovation trends meant to gain customer satisfaction and create a competitive advantage for the company. MasterCard has implemented the mobile point of sale that allows small businesses to provide their clients with electronic payment options. Therefore, as technology advances and new gadgets are introduced, MasterCard strives to find ways, in which its clients will be able to utilize such devices in making, receiving, or transferring payments and funds globally at their convenience.
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MasterCard performs its core business efficiently with the help of technology. For instance, the company owns a network system called Blanket (MasterCard, n.d.a). The system is a telecommunications network, through which MasterCard clients and data processing centers are connected into a single financial network. Therefore, this system covers every aspect of information or data transfer between clients, the organization, and other people. It also allows the company to route and authorize transactions anywhere. The network enables very fast transaction authorization. In addition, MasterCard possesses VPN, which is the company’s virtual private network. It updates Blanket and allows its linkage and new areas to the global payments infrastructure (MasterCard, n.d.a). The two systems are complementary and have been enhancing the company’s innovation trends to match with the changing technological environment that has led to the alterations in the consumer requirements.
Change and Innovation Management Situation Facing MasterCard
The company is obliged to ensure that it offers customer tailored marketing programs by utilizing actual behavioral data to win new customers and increase profitability. It requires effective targeted marketing that will entail the identification of the right cardholders (MasterCard Advisors, n.d.). Therefore, segmentation strategies ought to be devised by utilizing the cardholders’ behavior. MasterCard can determine the right cardholders and devise the strategies to retain them. Propensity models help ascertain the profitable cardholders. For this reason, the company should conduct a thorough analysis to establish specific card usage and spending behaviors among cardholders.
MasterCard is also required to offer numerous conversions and upgrade programs to ensure that the various organizations allow for the use of MasterCard’s payment method. Consequently, the clients of such organizations are expected to be satisfied, engaged, and loyal because they will always have the right products within their reach. MasterCard has been carrying out various conversions to enable partnering organizations to adopt new products that offer exclusive services by migrating and merging card portfolios to offer clients products that are suitable for their behaviors and lifestyles (MasterCard, n.d.c). Therefore, product improvement is one of the innovation trends that the company should embrace. MasterCard has been ensuring that clients have been shifted to the most appropriate products that are in line with their needs and current trends. In addition, MasterCard has been ensuring that its partner organizations have improved their portfolio to follow the latest standards and customers’ requirements.
MasterCard has innovated new credit and debit cards that are more secure than the traditional ones. The company introduced the adoption of microchips into credit and debit cards so that it could strengthen defense against cyber theft. MasterCard had to meet the requirements of the card-processing companies and add a black magnetic strip to the backs of the credit or debit cards to prevent credit card fraud. However, the company noted that a more advanced microchip technology is set to prevent fraud by protecting against fraudulent activities (MasterCard, n.d.c). The reason for this is that microchips have a complex protective element that prevents criminals from replicating it. Initially, cyber criminals could easily create the exact copy of the magnetic strip of a credit or debit card. However, complex microchips have proved it difficult and impossible to replicate. Most importantly, the chip technology utilizes a code that transacts between the chip and the retailer’s register on a one-time basis. Such data becomes useless to other parties as it only works for the two parties involved and expires after the completion of the transaction. Therefore, it is impossible for cyber criminals to copy microchips.
It is imperative to note that MasterCard has innovated to utilize biometric technology. The whole world is currently utilizing biometric identification and recognition, with almost every industry adopting the use of biometrics, which is appropriate for recognition, identification, and authentication purposes. MasterCard adopted this approach by forming an alliance with Zwipe (“MasterCard and Zwipe bring biometrics to cards,” 2014). The union between the two companies enhanced the integration of the fingerprint sensors into contactless cards. The biometric sensor allows the card holder to make a contactless payment. The transaction is completed by a user holding their thumb over the fingerprint reader to authorize purchase or payment (“MasterCard and Zwipe bring biometrics to cards,” 2014). MasterCard should produce or oblige its partner organizations to manufacture self-authenticating credit cards with an on-card processor that compares the captured fingerprint information with the stored fingerprint data of the user or cardholder. The cardholder’s fingerprint data is stored in an embedded memory. Thus, whenever the wrong person tries to use a MasterCard card, access to the system or transactions is denied because the fingerprints do not match. This approach will prevent MasterCard abuse, especially in cases of loss or theft as the card will be useless to a different person.
The innovation processes adopted by MasterCard have integrated all the elements of the Pentathlon Framework. Firstly, the company has created an innovative strategy (Zalan, 2016a). As it seeks to enhance and sustain its innovation strategy and compete favorably in the market, all the elements of the Pentathlon Framework have been appropriately factored. For instance, generation of ideas, prioritization and selection, implementation, and involvement of relevant people in the business have been utilized equally in a way that no single element has been overemphasized by MasterCard.
Creation of an innovation strategy.
Innovation gives firms a competitive advantage because it keeps them ahead of their rivals helping to meet the clients’ needs since they can offer services and products that correspond to the consumers’ current lifestyle. Innovation does not only entail the creation of new products or services but also involves the refinement the existing ones. It should also be noted that it is not only product innovation that makes various businesses competitive but also production methods, markets, suppliers, and processes (Zalan, 2016a). The reason for this is that product innovation alone can be easily replicated by other competing firms, but it creates a competitive advantage when combined with other factors such as service processes and convenience. Thus, rival companies often fail to imitate an organization’s product or service innovation as it is combined with other aspects that make it complex. For instance, MasterCard has not only been increasing its service product but also its service scope. Therefore, the company has been improving its service product and augmentation by ensuring that the service environment correlates with the attitude and approach of its clients. MasterCard matches or exceeds the ideal quality of its services to ensure the customers’ satisfaction.
In its efforts to sustain innovation strategy, MasterCard has collaborated with the Dubai Innovation Strategy (MasterCard, n.d.d). The alliance was meant to support the innovation of new technology and widening of the service platforms of both organizations, whereby MasterCard is expected to initiate numerous innovative and lifestyle-changing programs. Successful improvement entails the emphasis on all elements of the Pentathlon Model. Therefore, there has to be a good performance in the five disciplines of the model as they are complementary. The principal factor that should be prioritized in the creation of an innovation strategy is the stakeholder’s satisfaction, especially the client’s (Zalan, 2016a). Considering the abovementioned, MasterCard managed to establish the kind of improvement or change that is required to meet future consumer needs such as the introduction of mobile payments.
Management of creativity and knowledge.
MasterCard has ensured that creativity is embedded in the knowledge management of its organization. The company possesses effective ways of recognizing the clients’ requirements. It has also suggested and implemented ideas with the commercial value. For instance, MasterCard has identified new opportunities by liaising with other organizations such as The Dubai Innovation Strategy. The two organizations are set to introduce and support initiatives that foster creativity and innovation that can improve the quality of life in Dubai (MasterCard, n.d.d). It should be noted that to ensure that creativity culture is embraced by MasterCard, the company has assigned expert workers to the projects, provided appropriate and timely management and support from the whole organization, discussions, and relevant resources.
Prioritization and selection of ideas.
There are numerous ideas how to ensure a proper change but not all of them are valuable to the organization. Therefore, the company’s management should decide which ideas will be given priority and which are going to be discarded. MasterCard has been giving precedence to the ideas most pressing for implementation. For instance, in cases where security was the immediate need to satisfy the consumers’ requirements, MasterCard prioritized innovation that would enable secure transactions (MasterCard, n.d.a). Similarly, where convenience and efficiency were at stake, MasterCard prioritized ideas that would lead to successful innovation and implementation. The company’s mission focuses on the customer. Thus, customer satisfaction-enhancing ideas are prioritized in every innovation that MasterCard makes.
MasterCard developed its innovation strategy by prioritizing the best ideas that can ensure competitive advantage. For instance, the company has created alliances with Coin, Zwipe, and WiseKey to make innovations that can enhance bring success to the company by providing customer satisfaction. It is essential to note that the development of innovation ideas entails the creation of strategic partnerships, among other aspects such as research programs (Zalan, 2016b). The process of idea generation is followed by prioritization, which entails strategic allocation. The reason that led MasterCard to create strategic alliances with Zwipe, Coin, and WiseKey is its high priority on efficiency, convenience, and security for clients. The company aims at offering great satisfaction to its clients. It is the responsibility of firms to deliver increasing satisfaction to its most important stakeholders, the customers (Zalan, 2016b). Therefore, MasterCard is obliged to ensure that its consumers enjoy convenience, security, and efficiency. It should be noted that innovation has contributed significantly to the success of MasterCard. This aspect is essential to the company’s wellbeing and functioning. The introduction of a convenient global payment method by MasterCard was a disruptive innovation. After its inception, the innovation has only been undergoing improvements to enhance its sustainability. In the case of MasterCard, open innovation has been prioritized.
MasterCard has been implementing various innovation strategies while focusing on customer requirements. It should be noted that few companies with a sustained superior performance are able to create new advantages on a continuous basis (Zalan, 2016a). MasterCard fits in this category because it has been exhibiting a sustainable competitive advantage, superior performance, and continuous creation of new advantages. Innovation at MasterCard is influenced by the four innovation drivers. Specifically, customer needs that have been changing, ever-changing business environment, stiff competition, and advancements in technology have forced MasterCard to continuously innovate. Innovation is a complex concept that has no universal equivalent. Therefore, each company seeks to adapt ideas that are specific to the situations it faces as best practices are impossible to adopt (Zalan, 2016a). As for MasterCard, the company has been innovating in accordance with various circumstances, to which it had to adjust.
The revenue and net income earned, as well as the percentage of transactions processed by MasterCard indicate superior performance and successful management of idea implementation. Since 2013, the company’s revenue and net income have been increasing while the percentage of transactions processed is rather constant. For instance, MasterCard earned $9,667 million, as compared to $8,812 million in 2013 (MasterCard, n.d.c). An increase was also exhibited in the net income earned section (Appendix D). It should be noted that the company should have provided effective management of change and innovation to record a continuous growth in revenue and income and maintain the percentage of annual transactions.
2.2.5 Involvement of people.
MasterCard involves all stakeholders in its innovation strategies. The company works with clever people within its reach, as well as creative minds from other companies because it realizes MasterCard does not employ all the brightest workers on the planet (MasterCard, n.d.c). The company involves business people or units, partners, communities, universities, clients, and employees because as it is impossible for a company to innovate alone. For instance, teams of developers, business people, and designers participate in a program designed to create prototypes, business plans, and video demonstrations (Watt, 2015). Consequently, research and development are enhanced through the collaboration of the company and all stakeholders. For MasterCard, the determinant of the profit to be earned is not the company that initializes and performs research and development, but the precision, with which it is implemented regardless the number of companies involved. Therefore, MasterCard has been utilizing both internal and external ideas for the development of its innovations.
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MasterCard’s change and innovation management have been successful. The reason for this is the company’s remarkable performance, even in the stock market. For instance, the common stock price has been increasing, which indicates that its innovations yielded. It has been noted that MasterCard’s common stock price soared from $93 in the first quarter to $101.76 in the fourth quarter of 2015 (MasterCard, n.d.c). Since 2014, the common stock price has been exhibiting a growing trend (Appendix B). The same trend has been witnessed in the declared and paid dividend per share (Appendix C). Only the companies that demonstrated outstanding performance would have their common stock prices and paid dividends grow.
Types of Innovations at MasterCard and Related Issues
Most of MasterCard’s innovations have been radical. Sen and Ghandforoush (2011) define radical innovation as the introduction of new functionality or technology that has not been identified prior to its inception. The introduction a global financial transfer technology was a new technology for MasterCard that has not existed before. The company has been making system innovations by utilizing various existing technologies to devise new approaches that have not been used before. For instance, the introduction of contactless and fingerprint reader-embedded credit cards entailed the utilization of a combination of existing and new technologies, which enable the company to introduce new products. MasterCard has also been making incremental innovation by improving efficiency and convenience of its payment method (Zalan, 2016a). As indicated by Engen and Holen (2014), innovations in services are normally incremental. Thus, MasterCard has been engaging in incremental innovation as it has been trying to improve service delivery.
MasterCard was founded on the basis of normative creativity, whereby the founders utilized their original thinking to solve an existing problem, which had been clearly defined. There was a long-standing problem of free-flow transfer of funds across the world. Therefore, the company’s founders suggested the best possible solution and introduced the MasterCard payment method. It should be noted that there are creative people who can utilize their wit when presented with a well-defined issue that requires resolution (Zalan, 2016c). The founders of MasterCard exhibited normative creativity as they strove to find the most appropriate solution. Since its inception, MasterCard has been utilizing exploratory creativity. The identification of new opportunities is referred to as exploratory creativity (Zalan, 2016c). As various employees and research teams of MasterCard have been seeking new opportunities of improving the payment method through innovation, they have been utilizing their exploratory creativity. Experience, hard work, and access to relevant experts and information have led the company to success by utilizing its creativity to enable strategic innovation.
In its bid to improve strategic innovation, MasterCard has been taking the five factors that are correlated with success or failure. Such factors include strategic leverage, probability of commercial success, business strategy fit, probability of technical success, and project profitability (Zalan, 2016d). MasterCard has ensured balance among the aforementioned factors during its strategic innovation processes. However, the most important aspect that the company has integrated into its product offering is client needs. Zalan (2016e) notes that quality function deployment entails the linking of customer needs to product features. Therefore, it can be asserted that MasterCard has understood the “true” customer needs from its customers’ perspectives. Consequently, the company has been connecting client needs to the design, development, and service functions. It is also imperative that a firm ensures to satisfy, inform, involve, and consult its key stakeholders such as clients.
Experimentation is crucial for identifying the best option to adopt when faced with uncertainty because it is conducted in real time. The major purpose of experimentation is to determine whether the market will accept the proposed service, product or technology (Zalan, 2016f). Based on the response, an organization decides whether it will invest in the proposed technology or abandon it. In the case of MasterCard, the company undertook experimental studies in Norway to establish before launching the innovation whether biometric technology could be used to improve credit card security. Experimentation also offers management a chance to measure the customer satisfaction levels showing their attitude to the new products or services (Zalan, 2016f). In such a way, MasterCard determined how the integration of biometric technology could enhance customer satisfaction.
Regarding technology, MasterCard offers credit, prepaid, debit, contactless, chip, and commercial payment types that guarantee seasoned security and convenience. The company serves in various markets with different needs. Additionally, the company has responded well to the recent changes in the clients’ lifestyles by implementing innovative payment solutions that cater for those needs. For instance, the company introduced its MasterPass, a digital payment platform. The payment option allows customers to make secured payments by just clicking, tapping, or touching their devices from any part of the world (MasterCard, n.d.c). The technology allows users to store information about all the other brands that they are affiliated with and other details such as health, ID, shipping information, and loyalty card information. The method prioritizes the needs of end-users, which the company should customize.
MasterCard operates under the influence of various innovation drivers. For instance, customer needs have been changing. Therefore, MasterCard has always been pursuing innovation strategies to meet the customers’ requirements by providing services and products that match their current needs. Additionally, the business environment has been changing too as it is characterized by stiff competition and constant advancements in technology, which forces the company to continuous innovation. For instance, MasterCard has partnered with startups since 2014 through its Start Path program (PYMNTS, 2015). The company offers operational assistance and virtual support to startup companies that are outside the United States. Additionally, MasterCard connects startups to its network so that they can serve their clients on a global level. The company also utilizes the innovation ideas presented by these startup companies. MasterCard focuses on innovation and value creation in all its ventures (MasterCard, n.d.a). The company extensively use technology, foster team and individual creativity through supportive programs, and efficiently manage the available knowledge.
It is recommended that MasterCard should appropriately manage its existing customers. Therefore, the company should ensure that the cardholders’ needs are met at all times. In addition, MasterCard has to ensure that it introduces new products that suit the current trends and needs of the clients. The company should create rewarding innovative strategies that will improve convenience, efficiency, and security of payment methods. It is also recommended that in future, MasterCard and its partners collaborate to find a way to design a card with the concealed details. The credit cards will only reveal their invisible details when the legitimate users run their fingers through them or perform other owner identification procedures (“MasterCard and Zwipe bring biometrics to cards,” 2014). The company should have to invent payment technologies that utilize wearables, given that they follow the current trends. Finally, MasterCard has to use advanced modeling techniques and its issuer network to help businesses that accept its payment method.
MasterCard is a company that was established on the foundation of creativity. It is the most widely accepted payment card, with more than thirty million acceptance locations. As much as MasterCard does not make or issue credit cards, it has been a convenient method of payment that exhibits high levels of innovation. Consequently, the company has enhanced global acceptance and settlement of transactions. Though MasterCard does not charge clients directly, it earns its revenue in the form of commission from its partner organizations. The innovation has met the global commerce advancement by connecting merchants, businesses, and clients, who play the roles of a funds processor, financial advisor, and franchisor. The innovation has been incremental having adopted advancements in technology such as mobile phones and other recent gadgets. Currently, wearable technology has been introduced to improve and simplify payment methods.
The company has been affected by all the innovation drivers in its bid to make strategic innovations to meet the latest standards and clients’ requirements. As a result, MasterCard has innovated new credit and debit cards that are more secure than the traditional ones. For instance, the adoption of microchips in the cards has intensified defense against cyber theft. In addition, the chip technology utilizes a code that is transmitted to the retailer’s register once, which has deprived cyber criminals from the possibility to replicate microchips. It has also been noted that as MasterCard strives to sustain and improve its innovation strategy to remain competitive in the market, it has properly integrated all the elements of the Pentathlon Framework. Companies should ensure that they offer actual services that match the required customer’s quality. MasterCard does much to guarantee that its innovation strategy prioritizes stakeholder satisfaction. Finally, the company’s innovation strategy has led to the resolution of its problems and utilized the available knowledge to identify new opportunities. Appropriate management of existing customers should be MasterCard’s priority. In addition, the introduction of new products and the creation of innovative strategies will encourage better performance. The company should consider introducing cards with the concealed details and utilize wearables, as well as advanced modeling techniques in its service portfolio.