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We bring the spirit of Design Thinking to locations around the globe.

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Innovation in Economic Development

The Location Lab is a boutique consultancy, serving economic development and place branding organizations.

We guide cities, regions and nations by providing insights, interactive learning experiences for your teams, and tool kits specifically for the business challenges of IPAs and EDOs. Our mission is to provide an iterative and human-centered idea development approach to locations around the world. We use design thinking /service design methodologies by drawing upon the community’s knowledge and on global research to translate insights into actionable location strategies.


Our workshop programs and consulting projects can be applied to solve daily and strategic challenges. We look at the problem from a customer perspective, guide and align the entire team through the process with our engaging, fast-paced workshops. 



  • Develop a comprehensive FDI strategy

  • Improve your online communications and marketing offering

  • Community and stakeholder mapping

  • Finding the truly unique selling points for your location

  • Redefine an actionable aftercare and retention program

  • Draw an "attack map" for targeted business development activities


Curious to learn more about how we help EDOs and IPAs to be more innovative and to provide service offerings to investors and the community that matter? Contact us.



Let’s Work Together



Zurich, Switzerland

Sirpa Tsimal is an economic development and foreign direct investment (FDI) strategist with solid practice in developing marketing programs and partnerships between the public and private sector. Sirpa initiated The Location Lab project with the aim to bring innovation skills to the FDI profession.

Sirpa is a frequent speaker at industry events and a workshop facilitator for innovation learning programs.

She currently works as the Director Investment Promotion at Switzerland Global Enterprise, the Swiss federal IPA where she focuses her work on emerging tech. Sirpa lived in NYC for 15 years, where she run and scaled the mentorship program at two health tech accelerators, and developed a workshop and innovation tool kit for IPAs.

Prior, Sirpa was the managing partner and co-founder of TSIMANN LLC, a  communications agency serving global  EDOs and corporate clients. Clients included NYCEDC, Greater Zurich Area, City of Basel, State of Connecticut, South Australia, among others.

Sirpa graduated from University of Zurich with a Master of Arts in Communication Sciences.



Washington DC, USA

Michelle Abboud is an Export Promotion and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) professional with 25+ years’ experience in economic development. Michelle is customer-oriented in all her endeavors. Current and prior clients have included European, Middle East and APAC regional government institutions, as well as individual companies.  Michelle has advised both Fortune 1000 companies as well as fast growing SME’s on their location decisions. She has supported firms like Pratt & Whitney, The Hershey Co., Corning Inc., Novocure, and Aurora Flight Sciences (Boeing). Her project scope has included: FDI promotion, market studies, distributor and licensing partner searches, trade missions, and economic development training. Michelle is an industry generalist with years of experience in the key sectors of Life Sciences, Medtech, and all things IT-related, including Fintech & Blockchain. 

Michelle is based in Washington DC and a long-time associate of American World Services, a boutique consulting firm in Washington DC in the Export Marketing and FDI Promotion field. Michelle graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, DC with a Master of Science in Foreign Service and International Business Diplomacy in 1996 and holds a BS in Physics and Mathematics.


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Coach & Innovation Facilitator

Marianne is a coach and facilitator for innovation.  Marianne coaches and facilitates her clients to solve real world problems for their customers.  She has experience coaching agile transformation programs, has built human centered design programs and run strategy and culture change programs for clients in the beauty, pharma and finance sector.  Marianne has worked with fortune 500, startups and government agencies.  She is also the former Co-Director of Google’s 30 Weeks Program.



National Investment Promotion Agency / Customer Journey Map (Europe)

For a European investment promotion agency, Marianne was commissioned to lead an innovation project to develop a customer journey to understand the needs of life sciences investors. She facilitated a series of virtual workshops with the team across the US and Europe, and conducted interviews with investors. Outcome was an illustrated investor journey map for the team to visualize the journey, new marketing ideas and current pain points were identified.


Designed an Innovation Workshop at Economic Development Conference (Savannah, USA)

The Location Lab designed and faciliated a workshop program for the attendees of an annual Economic Development conference in Savannah, Georgia. Aim of the workshop was to introduce the attendees to the innovation methodology "Design Thinking" with tangible applications in economic development in a fast-paced workshop format (2h). 


Consulting Project for a US Region's Marketing Team / Website Re-Design

The Location Lab helped a US region in their re-design of their website. We guided the marketing team in virtual sessions and an in-person workshop through a series of innovation exercises to identify current pain points and developed solutions / ideas in their re-design and re-branding efforts, bringing clarity and alignment to the team.

Contact us for more client testimonials - We'd love to talk about how we can help your region!


Thank you for visiting The Location Lab. We cultivate a community approach and we'd love to hear from you. Share your thoughts with a blog post or find other like-minded people through The Location Lab network for your next innovation project.


To inquire about our customized innovation programs or to book us for a speaking engagement / workshop at your upcoming event, please get in touch. Let's innovate together!

The Location Lab LLC is incorporated in VA, USA

Michelle Abboud

Phone: +1 (202) 316 2163

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