Jeddah- Today, The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, organized, at its headquarters a workshop on “Innovation in Trade Finance and Trade Development”, in collaboration with the Institute for Trade and Innovation (IfTI) at Offenburg University in Germany. During this event, ITFC launched its new initiative on innovation called ‘Innov@ITFC’ and published its Innovation Roadmap.
This one-day research and practice driven workshop covered both external and internal innovation perspectives. Its main objectives are to understand foundations and develop drivers for innovation. It also aimed to trigger and to foster innovation processes at the level of ITFC Management Team, as it enabled it to learn how to develop and implement innovative solutions.
After welcoming attendees at the opening session, H.E. Dr. Bandar M. H. Hajjar, IsDB Group President, said that this workshop is the continuity of various initiatives undertaken by the IsDB Group to cultivate and nurture innovation efforts within its organizational set-up, as well as to motivate member countries to deepen their commitments in harnessing innovation to attain sustainable development.
He emphasized on the importance of Innovation: “People living in developing communities need long-term sustainable solutions. Science, technology and innovation (STI) can provide these solutions and have profound, positive implications for increasing productivity and economic growth. So, it is vital that we introduce innovation in our strategies, products and services.”
He added: “The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has also started to use innovative solutions towards transforming IDB from a development Bank to a Bank of Development and Developers by establishing global platforms for crowd sourcing, disseminating knowledge, facilitating coordination in the development process and mobilizing financial resources.”
Underlining the importance of this workshop, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, ITFC Chief Executive Officer, noted in his speech that this workshop is a manifestation of the commitment towards embedding innovation culture and practice in ITFC.
He declared: “Innovation is not an option for ITFC if we want our organization to stay relevant in advancing trade and improving lives. Our efforts to foster innovation begin with a cultural shift that we are contributing to achieve with today’s workshop. Innovation in ITFC is not only about developing new Islamic trade finance products, like “ITFC Sovereign Energy Fund”, “Islamic Discounting” and other products. It is also about the way we do business and the partnerships we build to achieve our mandate. We also view innovation in ITFC as an organizational imperative and leverage to empower our staff”.
He announced that ITFC developed its Innovation Roadmap, and elaborated: “Our focus will be to implement this Roadmap in order to ensure that we spread innovation culture within ITFC to increase our competitiveness. This will be done in alignment with IDB Group Innovation Strategy and taking part in our Group’s initiatives and programs for innovation.”
The workshop moderator, Professor Dr. Andreas Klasen, Head of IfTI, at Offenburg University praised IDB Innovation Strategy and particularly its new flagship initiatives: an STI Fund called “Transform” and an STI digital platform called “Engage”. He also highlighted the relevance for ITFC to publish its Innovation Roadmap and invited all the participants to think on new innovative ideas in just a few minutes.
Then, Dr. Klasen delivered the workshop for ITFC Top Management in five sessions: after an introduction to the theory and the practice of innovation, a focus was given to innovation business model and then to the process of innovation. The two last sessions were dedicated to how innovation can drive and support ITFC’s business activities. It covered innovation, trade and competitive performance, and how to finance trade and innovation.