As part of Learnovate’s Meet the Patrons series, we speak to James Carroll, Senior Vice President, Innovation and Digital Services at Mastercard. James also heads-up Mastercard Labs as a Service team – a specialist advisory services arm at Mastercard focused on product innovation and digital transformation.
James joined Mastercard in 2014 and has led the Labs as a Service unit from a ground zero start-up, in 2015, to a global business unit with teams in 13 cities around the world, over 1,000 customer engagements and a reputation for excellence in digital product innovation and delivery.
Over his 30-year career, James has acquired deep experience and practical understanding of the drivers which underpin successful digital transformation and corporate innovation, from start-ups to multi-national corporations.
How should we prepare for the future of work?
The future of work is changing at a faster pace than ever before. In order to stay ahead of the curve, we have to embrace life-long learning and support employees as they upskill and continuously add to their expertise. E-learning is a critical component to this and an essential ingredient in any company retention strategy.
What have you or your organisation learned from the Covid-19 experience?
In the post-Covid world, digital first is no longer an optional extra – It’s increasingly part of essential product and service offerings across the world. The innovation and digital transformation space is still in its infancy, with many opportunities for growth, which means the demand for the solutions that Labs as a Service provides is unabated and continuing to scale all across the globe.
People will look back on this time and see that the pandemic accelerated the pace of digital transformation by at least 10 years, according to some reports from organisations such as McKinsey. Like the advent of the smart phone, this digital transformation has hugely impacted how people learn and brought an immediacy to the need for blended learning solutions – there is no way that genie is going back in the bottle!
Why is membership of Learnovate important to you and to other companies in Ireland?
Mastercard has a long history of working with customers in education with the Mastercard Academy, helping customers and partners gain the knowledge, skills and insights needed to succeed. At Labs as a Service, we are in the process of establishing a new blended e-learning venture focused on jobs of the future and the best practice skills and tools in the area of digital and innovation mastery.
Learnovate’s deep expertise and networks in e-learning and R&D make them a partner of choice for us, helping us reduce risk as we journey in the e-learning space. It will be hugely beneficial to tap into the resources and experts within Learnovate as we grow and develop this new venture.
Ireland’s provenance in education and in e-learning is undisputed, a reputation that’s perpetuated by strong academic institutions and international success stories such as Riverdeep (now HMH) and LearnUpon and many others. Having access to the expertise of Learnovate and its international network, along with their position at the forefront of innovative e-learning trends, makes them a key part of our extended team. The industry experience of their management team and their ability to push the envelope around e-learning is a huge benefit to members.
What book would you recommend on learning, technology, business or understanding people?
I’m currently reading Cognitive Psychology & Technology of Learning by David Kerrigan. It has not been published yet but will be in shops soon so I’d recommend you check it out.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Always remember, you have two ears and one mouth…. Always be listening more than you’re talking!