Frequently asked questions

Who can take part in the lab of tomorrow process?

The lab of tomorrow is looking for ambitious entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and experts with strong entrepreneurial spirit, open minds and interdisciplinary expertise. Whether you are from a multinational company, a social business, a start-up or a non-profit organisation, what matters is that you are open to innovation and eager to capture new market opportunities that can make a positive difference in developing countries.

How can I take part in the lab of tomorrow process?

Once we have selected a challenge, we open the application process. To participate in the innovation workshop, you need to apply on the according challenge page on our website. We will thoroughly evaluate the applications, select the most suitable candidates and send the successful applicants a binding registration form.

Is my application to participate in a lab of tomorrow process binding?

No. With your application, you simply express your interest in participating in a specific lab. If your application is confirmed, we will send you a binding registration form. Once you have submitted this second form to us, your registration will be binding. If you have to cancel your participation at short notice, we kindly ask you to nominate a substitute from within your company who will be able to participate in the innovation workshop.

I cannot be present at all days of the workshop. Can I still participate in the lab of tomorrow process?

The concept of the workshop requires that all participants are present throughout all workshop days. An absence for even a couple of hours would interfere with the design thinking process and negatively affect your working group. It is therefore essential for attendees to participate in all workshop days and sessions.

What criteria are used to select participants?

To select the most suitable participants, we review the applications received to see whether the candidates:
- have the expertise required to solve the challenge
- are willing to commit to the co-creation process
- have an entrepreneurial mindset
- demonstrate a convincing business interest that will ensure sustainable project implementation.

How can I prepare for the lab of tomorrow process?

Prior to the innovation workshop, we undertake user-centred research, including on-site interviews in the target country, to ensure a thorough understanding of the challenge and its underlying causes. We share the research insights on our webpage where you can access and discuss the material and enrich it with your own ideas. By reviewing and exchanging information in this way, you can dive deeper into the topic and prepare yourself for the workshop.

How are the teams composed?

Each team comprises approximately six participants and is guided by a professional design thinking coach. When putting together the teams, we aim to combine participants from different sectors with diverse backgrounds and expertise in order to stimulate synergies and the creation of innovative business solutions. For example, a team may consist of representatives from a multinational company, start-up, NGO, research institute, GIZ and government institutions from both Europe and the target country.

How long does the lab of tomorrow process take?

The entire process, from idea generation to first business operations in the target country, takes approximately one year. However, the duration strongly depends on the commitment and initiative of your team. After the initial innovation workshop, only those teams wishing to proceed to and qualifying for the next stage enter the three- to six-month test phase. If the business solutions prove to be feasible, the teams get the chance to take part in a six- to nine-month pilot phase. Click here to read more about the process.

Do I have to participate in the entire lab of tomorrow process?

No. Once you submit the binding registration form for a specific lab, you are only committed to participating in the initial innovation workshop. After the workshop, each participant can decide whether he or she wants to drop out or continue the innovation process with the team. However, if you apply for the three to six-month test phase, you must be committed to advancing your business solution together with your team. After the test phase, each participant once again has the option to decide whether to leave the process or continue by applying for the six- to nine-month pilot phase..

I did not take part in the innovation workshop. Can I still join a running process?

Generally, it is not possible to join a running innovation process as the teams are already established and roles and responsibilities will have already been assigned for the further development of the project. However, if you have a strong interest in the business solutions of an ongoing process, please contact us and we will see if it is feasible to integrate you into one of the teams.

Who owns the solutions that are generated in the innovation workshop?

The lab of tomorrow is an open, collaborative innovation process that aims at developing solutions for a specific developmental challenge. However, we are aware that intellectual property rights are an important concern of our participants. Therefore, prior to the innovation workshop, each participant has to consent to the lab of tomorrow participation agreement, which covers relevant aspects regarding the rights of use and competition law. GIZ and the lab of tomorrow team do not reserve any rights to the developed business ideas. To enter the test and pilot phases, each team may additionally compile its own memorandum of understanding to clarify the rights and obligations of the team members.

Who will finance the further development of the business models?

We search for participants who have a strong business interest in the development and implementation of new business models in the target country. Therefore, the teams should be willing to invest the resources necessary to take their business models forward in the field. However, you are not alone in this endeavor. Together with our global network, we will help you to conduct a local trial of your business solution and then to pilot it in the target country. Our support depends on the individual needs of each team and may include coaching, conducting a feasibility study, connecting you with the right partners and facilitating access to funding.

What is a sub-challenge and how can I lead a sub-challenge?

To reduce the complexity of the developmental challenge, we break it down into various sub-challenges. For example, the challenge to improve access to affordable and reliable energy may entail the sub-challenge of improving the productivity of agricultural value chains through solar power. We define the sub-challenges together with our participants prior to the innovation workshop. If you want to tackle a specific aspect, feel free to contact us and propose a sub-challenge. Together we will discuss your idea, and if it is deemed feasible, you may take on a leading role for this sub-challenge. In the innovation workshop, each team will develop a business solution for one of the sub-challenges.

How do I become a partner of the lab of tomorrow?

We are always on the lookout for companies and organisations that are keen to join forces with the lab of tomorrow and tackle challenges in developing and emerging countries. Click here to find out how to become a partner.