In 1993 Bank Muscat was among the smallest banks in the Sultanate of Oman but over the last decade has grown to be the largest with a 40% market share in 2013. This increase in terms of market relevance has been driven by both organic growth and external factors. In 2014 Franco Álvarez a foreign consultant is trying to help Bank Muscat build a comprehensive innovation model. His first step is focused on understanding the current state of innovation within the bank. The ´Ibda (Innovation) competition organized by the bank offers him a first glance of how internal innovation could be fostered in the bank.
The case provides insight into the innovation process in the Middle Eastern financial sector, focusing on Bank Muscat in Oman. It describes how an international consultant tries to help create an innovative model for the bank by asking top management questions and delving into the bank’s strategy. Through the questions he asks, readers learn about the history of the bank, the business culture and banking industry in Oman and Islamic banking. They also hear about an Ibda competition that ends up being a big inspiration for innovation at the bank.