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Inspiration at the Ballpark: My Technology Lesson

Last summer, at a St. Louis Cardinals game, I got an important lesson in technology from some of my newest and youngest co-workers.

Barely a week into my new role at MasterCard Technologies, I was excited to be spending time with many of our college hires. Not only would we get to experience some magic from All-Star slugger Albert Pujols, I thought, but I would also have the opportunity to inspire these bright young minds with my technological experience and vision.

I wasn’t expecting to be the one to be inspired.

During the game, several of my new colleagues shared with me an issue that was on their minds: why they couldn’t access their MasterCard e-mails, calendar and contact lists from their personal smartphones.

My immediate response was to rationalize why that just wasn’t possible, given the information security and regulatory issues to consider.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that we must find a way to adapt our technology infrastructure to better support productivity, stimulate innovation, and expand opportunities for employees to connect with each other.

I returned from the game and challenged my team to find a way to make it work. They researched other early-adopter companies and developed our new “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) program, a simple, elegant, low-cost solution to an issue that matters to our people.

In the first two days, more than 600 of our employees have signed up to participate, and the general buzz it has created is wonderful.

This is an important reminder of the powerful role of technology in enabling innovation, collaboration, convenience and community. Ultimately, it’s all about empowering and connecting people.

That lesson more than made up for the painful Cardinals loss that evening.