Operational efficiency award recognizes innovation at SAB

Digital Reinvention
08/11/2023 Interview
profile picture of Iffat ALRowaithy

Iffat ALRowaithy


Innovation Senior Manager

Saudi Awwal Bank (SAB) received the Operational Efficiency gold award at Qorus Reinvention Awards – MEA 2023 for ‘Innovate By SAB’. This program encourages and fosters innovation throughout the organization. It encompasses awareness campaigns, workshops, boot camps, and a hackathon that promotes creativity and entrepreneurial thinking. We discussed it with Iffat Alrowaithy, Innovation Lead at SAB.

Can you introduce yourself and tell us more about your role at SAB?

I’m Iffat Alrowaithy, the Innovation Lead at SAB.

I’m deeply passionate about innovation and fostering a culture of transformation by enabling employees to identify challenges and turn them into opportunities, thereby ensuring SAB's continued competitiveness and commitment to innovation. Throughout my journey, I have initiated various programs aimed at driving cultural change and innovation. Creating an environment where employees can express their creativity and share innovative ideas has significantly contributed to the company's innovation value. My goal is to leverage creativity, innovation and excellence within the company, ultimately enabling our organization to thrive in a constantly evolving market.

What made you most proud of this project? What was your greatest achievement in making it happen?

‘Innovate By SAB’ represents a pioneering initiative from our organization that aims to transform the banking industry through a holistic approach to innovation. This program seamlessly integrates banking into people's lives, focusing on meaningful and efficient customer experiences.

Furthermore, the initiative has generated over 500 innovative ideas and five breakthrough solutions, resulting in significant cost savings and process improvements. It also fosters collaboration among employees, entrepreneurs and the financial ecosystem, leading to digital transformation in the banking sector.

Moreover, ‘Innovate By SAB’ positions our organization as a leader in digital banking, integrating cutting-edge technologies and cultivating collaborations with fintech startups and tech companies. As an industry inspiration, this initiative demonstrates an agile, customer-focused, technologically advanced approach to digital innovation, while upholding an unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation.

Which technologies and innovations do you expect to impact the banking industry powerfully in the next five years?

In today's rapidly evolving financial landscape, a groundbreaking concept is emerging that promises to reshape how we interact with our money. Embedded finance is set to revolutionize how we handle our finances, providing seamless transactions and delightful experiences in the future.

Imagine a world where managing your money is simple, where paying your bills and purchasing items is as easy as using any application you want, and where you have access to financial guidance tailored to your needs.

It's not just about convenience; it's about empowerment. With embedded finance, managing money becomes a breeze, offering security and limitless opportunities. Welcome to a world where financial freedom knows no boundaries!

Some banks tend to take big techs as their model and main competitors. What is your vision? And how do you see the future of banks?

In our vision, the future of banking hinges on embracing technology as an ally, rather than a competitor. Instead of competing with big tech companies, we envision banks evolving into dynamic, customer-centric ecosystems. With the promise of seamless digital experiences, tailored financial solutions and personalized services, we envision a new generation of financial services.

It is important that banking fosters trust through advanced technology, prioritizes financial literacy and reaches the unbanked, in order to ensure inclusivity. It's not just about transactions; it's about meaningful connections and empowering customers to achieve their financial dreams. Embracing innovation while maintaining the essence of trust and reliability, we see banks becoming holistic financial partners, enriching lives and contributing to economic prosperity.

What would you say to companies that might consider entering the 2024 Banking Innovation Awards?

Seize this unique opportunity to showcase your innovation journey and inspire the world with your innovative ideas. More than just recognition, these awards represent a platform where innovation meets recognition, where visionaries come together to influence the future of banking and insurance industries.

By participating, you're not only highlighting your achievements but also contributing to a collective learning experience. Within our vibrant ecosystem, learn from each other and create opportunities that pave the way for a better human future. Through this event, our industry will celebrate innovation, foster collaboration, and become more sustainable.

Together, let's chart a path to a brighter, more innovative tomorrow by sharing our unique stories and inspiring others.

What does this award mean to you and your innovation team?

This award is a testament to the dedication, innovative spirit and continuous commitment of our innovation team. Each team member brings exceptional talent and collaborative effort to the table and has elevated the organization as well as set industry standards with our hard work and creative brilliance. We are proud of what we have accomplished, and a united team can make a significant impact on the world of innovation with our creativity.

It also represents our commitment to pioneering change and adopting innovation as a fundamental value for SAB as an organization. The award demonstrates how well our organization nurtures talent, fosters creativity, and transforms ideas into impactful solutions. The recognition underscores our commitment to shaping a future where innovation is not only successful but also positively impacts our customers and communities. With this recognition, we are inspired to foster an innovation culture that empowers our employees and organization to achieve even greater milestones in the future.

In addition to our innovation team, everyone at SAB resonates with this award. It reflects the culture of innovation and the shared vision that extends to every department. The employees have all contributed ideas, feedback and support to this achievement, which makes it a collective accomplishment. Our innovative journey has been driven by the collaborative spirit that defines our workplace, where everyone's dedication and enthusiasm have inspired us to make it happen.

Qorus members can access a complete feature including a detailed presentation of all the winners here

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