Group photo of session from the design thinking training
Screenshot of an ITC Shares web meeting
Podcast recording session

Innovation Lab


    Founded in 2015, the ITC Innovation Lab is a grassroots collaborative hub for experimentation, learning and change at ITC.

    More than owners of Innovation, the Lab provides a space and resources for ITC colleagues to create more inclusive and effective ways of working, ultimately impacting the MSMEs we work for.

    The Lab works through the development of needs-based pilots, using user-centered approaches that will be handed over to respective owners.

    Participating in the Lab is an opportunity to enrich skills in facilitation techniques, collaborate with colleagues across teams, and grow leadership skills, all while having fun.

    Facts and figures for 2022

    800+ participants
    joined Lab events to increase awareness on innovation
    4 new engagements
    through our partnership building efforts, including with EPFL, UNFPA, UNAIDS, WTO
    90+ participants
    joined the Lab's capacity-building activities
    9 new components
    integrated into ITC initiatives thanks to the Lab

    Our services

    The Innovation Lab's primary duty is to increase capacity building and awareness about how people can learn, experiment, and implement new ideas within ITC and other organizations. One way to do this is through our expert-facilitated workshops.

    The Lab has developed an offering for internal and inter-agency workshops, as well as workshops delivered for projects. All content and material is designed to meet the needs of both the facilitators and the participants. Cost is determined case-by-case.

    In this programme, peers collaborate to create a pilot to solve a problem or to create an opportunity using an innovative, user-centred methodology.

    With both methodological and financial support, as well as guidance from the Innovation Lab, participants embark on a short challenge to understand a problem deeply, come up with a creative solution, and develop an action plan to test and pilot an idea.

    The Innovation Lab team offers office hours to increase awareness of Lab activities and to answer questions about innovation and related topics.

    During these free sessions, Lab team members offer advice on designing more innovative projects, using tools for more productive meetings, or strategizing with a more user-centred approach.

    The Innovation Lab celebrates practices, projects and people at ITC who are excited about learning, experimenting, and taking risks. This is why every year colleagues nominate and select the most innovative projects and people in the organization.

    These may include project or programme components, partnerships with non-traditional stakeholders or testing new initiatives to enhance inclusive cultural transformation.

    Since 2020, the Coffee Roulette has helped colleagues meet virtually while working from home. With the return to the office, colleagues can now meet for a coffee in person as well, or virtually meet colleagues in other locations to strengthen the connections between Geneva and the field.

    Every week, after a confirmation e-mail, participants are matched randomly in groups of three for a chat over coffee.

    ITC staff are passionate about offering solutions to the trade world’s problems and improving people’s lives. Collectively, colleagues at ITC have years of experience and knowledge. But that knowledge can be hard to tap into.

    Helpeer is a new platform where everyone at ITC can have a forum to share announcements, ask questions, and give advice to each other about the challenges they are facing at work. Whether working at HQ or in the field, or as an intern, a consultant or staff, staff can use this space to connect with colleagues and help each other navigate life at ITC.


    ITC contact

    innovation [at]