Market systems development for decent work - 'the lab'

The Lab: Better Markets, Better Jobs

The Lab is a global initiative funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) that generates knowledge on how a market systems approach can lead to sustainable decent work outcomes, at scale. The Lab works alongside partner field projects, businesses, and multilaterals to generate knowledge in five key areas: sector selection and rapid market assessments, market systems analysis, implementation and results measurement.


The Lab’s Areas of Work

Whether you are new to the market systems approach or just new to how the approach can be applied to decent work, the Lab has generated an extensive portfolio of practitioner-focused content, which can help you navigate common on-the-ground challenges.
  • Sector Selection Reports: One of the first questions any project team needs to answer is: Where do we start? The Lab has co-developed a tool to select sectors and value chains, which are positioned to deliver better employment outcomes. Check out our concrete examples for inspiration.
  • Rapid Market Assessments: help us get an evidence-based ‘first look’ into a set of market systems, which are under-performing, and to see quickly why they are not functioning properly. 
  • Market Systems Analyses: try to understand what is causing markets to under-perform and why they are not more inclusive for workers. The Lab has examples from agriculture, construction, tourism and garment markets, which identify underlying systemic constraints and strategies for more and better jobs.
  • Implementation: Finding sustainable solutions to challenges on the market can sometimes be very challenging. This section supports practitioners to implement better interventions leading to systemic change. 
  • Monitoring and Results Measurement: is a means for projects to learn from, adapt and improve implementation. However, understanding and measuring employment and systemic change can be tricky. The Lab has developed a number of tools, briefs and case studies to help practitioners in complexity-aware monitoring and results measurement. 
  • Value chain development explained