From Bahrain: The 24th World Islamic Banking Conference

Banking and design don't ordinarily appear together, but design is relevant to the world of banking perhaps now more than ever.

I recently shared a presentation at the 24th World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) in Bahrain, where I entered a whole new world of finance-related and banking things that I don’t ordinarily spend too much time thinking about.

So how does branding and our work at Zileej relate to financial institutions?

Well, we believe that every institution, bank, and company can benefit from branding as well as design thinking. I spoke about using design thinking & branding to address disruptions in banking, and to stand out - in a positive way - from one’s competitors.

Attending talks by leaders in the field such as Mohammed Kateeb from Path Solutions, Dr Imran Lum from National Australia Bank, and Dr Saeeda Jaffar from Alvarez & Marsal ME, I learnt about the amount of change happening in the banking world; for example the amount of digitally savvy customers who have the same needs as traditional banking customers, but with a preference for interacting with banks on digital platforms. Particularly, their phones. 

And then there’s blockchain technology which has the potential to make thousands of jobs redundant and could potentially revolutionise banking as we know it.

That disruption can be scary but there is also opportunity in it, and through the process of design thinking and embracing an innovation mindset, it is a great opportunity for potentially positive change. 

This approach has been adopted by major banks such as Deutsche Bank which has an innovation lab. This creates a culture of innovation right across the bank. 

Islamic banks and financial service providers are competing with these mainstream banks who have embraced innovative thinking as well as providing Islamic finance solutions, alongside their powerful brand recognition and trust.

In order to stand out, your brand needs to be on par - or better - than your competitors, and this is increasingly relevant in the world of Islamic banking.

After the WIBC, we were invited to attend the exclusive Islamica500 dinner and award ceremony where Zileej was recognised as a leader in strategic design and innovation. 

Sunset in Bahrain, the final night of the 24th WIBC.

Sunset in Bahrain, the final night of the 24th WIBC.

— By Subhi Bora, Communications Director