Debrief - Raghu Malhotra
Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East|16 November, 2018
Debrief - Raghu Malhotra

Raghu Malhotra tells Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East about the importance of innovation and creativity, and why leadership is all about empowering employees and partners.

What are your views on innovation, especially around encouraging staff to share ideas? How does Mastercard foster a culture of innovation?

Companies are increasingly starting to realise the importance of innovation throughout the different levels of an organisation and I have seen this first hand at Mastercard. A lot of companies understand that many potentially lucrative ideas can come from the bottom up rather than always from the top down. The best companies understand how to empower their staff to generate and share ideas and select the best ideas for further development. It’s also important to be able to spot ideas that are not going anywhere and move on from them quickly.

Where do most of the ideas stem from?

Innovation really comes from trends that are shaped by the needs of people around the world; it is driven by the needs of different countries, different segments and different industries. That’s why innovation is about much more than what happens in Silicon Valley; when innovation takes place in areas where there is great diversity, it ultimately results in solutions that are tailored to the local market. Some of those solutions can be adapted for global markets and others not, but it provides us with a far broader base of solutions.

Our ideas around innovation also stem from having boots on the ground across the region and having strong working relationships with financial institutions, merchants and governments. We have a really solid understanding of local challenges and customer and consumer pain points. By putting them at the center of our innovation, we are able to focus on solving real problems and having a real impact. We aren’t just innovating for the sake of innovating.

Our mix of global scale and ability to develop from the ground up in a market is a great advantage. It enables us to develop some really powerful ideas and bring them to life.

How do you go about encouraging staff to come up with new ideas?

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16 November, 2018