How it works


To participate in a lab of tomorrow, choose a challenge that is relevant to your business, dive deep into the topic and take part in the innovation workshop where you will co-create your business solution. Do you want to take the idea to the field? Then apply for support to test your solution and run a pilot version in the target country. The goal is to get your business up and running and then scale it up to maximise its impact and solve the development challenge.

The lab process


Each lab starts with a challenge. Through an open sourcing process, GIZ’s global network of projects identifies specific challenges in a developing or emerging country that present business opportunities. Using the lab’s online platform, you then vote for the challenges you are interested in. When a challenge attracts enough business interest, we initiate the lab process and invite people to apply to participate.


First we conduct user-centred research, including on-site interviews, to build the fullest picture of the challenge to be worked on and to deepen our understanding of your future customers’ problems and their underlying causes. The information is then shared on our platform where you can access and discuss the material and enrich it with your own ideas.

Innovation workshop

The innovation process kicks off with a three-day design-thinking workshop in Germany. Each day, you work in small interdisciplinary teams made up of you and other relevant company representatives, experts from Europe and the partner country and, where possible, some of your future customers. Each group is guided by a professional coach to ensure a smooth and efficient working process.

On days one and two, you not only work through a complete and fast-paced design-thinking process that includes ideation and rapid prototyping, you also get to test your business solution with representatives of the country affected by the problem you are working on. On day three each group draws up a roadmap for realising its individual business solutions.

To participate in the innovation workshop, send us an application that includes a short statement telling us why you want to take part. When selecting the most suitable participants, we will look at whether the candidate:

  • has the expertise required to solve the challenge

  • is willing to commit to the co-creation process

  • has an industry focus

  • demonstrates a convincing business interest that will ensure sustainable project implementation


After the innovation workshop, there are different ways how promising business solutions may move to the next stage. For example, one of the participating companies may have such a strong business interest in a specific solution that it decides to lead and finance the test and pilot phase by itself. Likewise, one of our GIZ partner projects may enable the next stage by establishing a cooperation with the team that has developed the business solution.

In any case, the next step in the innovation process is usually the test phase.

Test phase

The test phase takes about 3 months where you will receive support to trial your business idea in the partner country. This may involve elaborating a feasibility study, making field visits or conducting first user tests.

Pilot phase

During the pilot phase, the aim is to implement your solution at small scale in the partner country in order to reach a proof of concept and thus financeability of your business solution.


Get your business successfully up and running to solve the development challenge.

Key benefits of the lab of tomorrow


new business opportunities through in-depth analyses


a new market and develop a promising business case


further support when testing your ideas in the partner country


local and international experts, relevant decision makers and potential customers


with other entrepreneurs and find new business partners