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Strategy workshop & report for ITC, the joint UN and WTO agency

Workshop: Strategy Workshop, Division of Country Programmes (DCP) of International Trade Centre (ITC), 3 hours, 70 participants, in English

Method: tailored methods including a Future Map

 


The agency in brief


The International Trade Centre (ITC) is the joint agency of the United Nations (UN) and  World Trade Organisation (WTO). The ITC aims to bring prosperity, inclusiveness and sustainability to developing countries through trade-related development assistance to micro and small businesses.


Among its five divisions, the Division of Country Programmes (DCP) is responsible for country intelligence, country needs assessments, in-country resource mobilization, partnerships, coordination, and project management of large multi-disciplinary projects.



Objectives and deliverables


The Division of Country Programmes (DCP) was looking for a short workshop to evaluate its performance and identify necessary changes, focusing on both vision and organizational dimensions. We enhanced the workshop with a future-oriented approach, focusing on opportunities through 2026 to better evaluate the current direction and inspire bold proposals for improvement.


By leveraging the collective wisdom of the DCP's 70 Geneva-based executives and operatives, we were able to take stock of their current performance and assess the strategic and organizational changes needed to drive success.


The workshop was supplemented by a short 9-page long report on the main results, including recommendations for further work.



Building on ITC background


Our workshop was built upon the ITC's assessment of its global landscape for the next 4 years, as outlined in their 2022-2025 strategy plan (see illustration, p.13, click to enlarge).




The workshop also incorporated insights from earlier evaluation reports and interviews with key team members. We also focused on the DCP's three pillars of work: strategy, needs assessment & program design, and program implementation across the ITC's 175 partner countries.




Workshop process


Using innovative techniques like our future mapping exercise, we encouraged participants to reflect on their own opinions about the future and consider opportunities and challenges beyond the obvious. This approach revealed diverse perspectives and fostered openness to nuanced opinions about future possibilities.


Through a series of interactive exercises and collaborative work in 9 small groups, participants identified the main opportunities for each pillar of work through 2026 and mapped core tasks over the DCP's internal and external environments. The aim was to avoid abstract, unuseful talks and think both the pillar's future and its effects on the future DCP organisation in context.


Groups then pinpointed gaps between the present and the future. The aim here was to make visible the gaps between the present and future possibilities in order to encourage bold improvement proposals.



Workshop results


This process culminated in the development of 35 concrete suggestions for improvement and the corresponding first steps to be taken (which we are not able to detail here for reasons of commercial confidentiality).


Sharing the results according to clusters identified during group work allowed the entire DCP team to have an immediate overview of the areas most in need of improvement. The results of the 9 groups showed similarities beyond the three pillars, which confirmed the directions of work.


The workshop concluded with a summary of key takeaways and a conclusion from the DCP's Director. He praised the work done by the groups and took a first concrete step toward follow-up by identifying thematic areas for further group work.


Participants left the workshop with a clear understanding of the areas most in need of improvement and motivated to participate in follow-up thematic work sessions.



Reporting


The main findings of the workshop were then distilled and analysed in a short 9-page report. This report also drew on the findings of a previous external evaluation report, highlighting recurrent findings. Finally, it made two main recommendations for further work.


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