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Living Labs


Written by Christian Saublens

 

The concept

How to implement it?

Step in the RIS process

What can be expected?

A quote

References

 

The concept


Living labs is a user-centred open innovation system based on a partnership between research/enterprises/citizens and public administrations. The system is based on the co-creation of a product/service/process, often at geographical level (city, community, region, …°.

The European Association of Living Labs makes the distinction between research living labs, corporate living labs, organizational living labs, intermediary living labs and time-limited living labs.

Some living labs are also used by policy makers to associate citizens to the design or reshaping of policies and regulations before their implementation.

 

How to implement it?


  • To plan the process in order to mix the different knowledge needed to solve the problem and to involve the right type of stakeholders.
  • To integrate in any project the 5 following steps: (1) planning, (2) concept design, (3) prototype design, (4) innovation design and (5) commercialization.
  • To define the value that needs to be created for the users, the users ‘ influences search, the sustainability of the proposed solution, as well as the realism of the implementation system. In other words to provide an answer to questions such as what is the goal of the project submitted to the living lab, who are the end-users’ target groups/customers and what key principles will be addresses by the project?
  • To assess the funding needs for each project or for a permanent living lab infrastructure.

 

Step in the RIS process


  •  Step 1: Analysis of the regional context and potential for innovation
  • Step 5: Definition of a coherent policy mix, roadmaps and action plan

 

What can be expected?


Living labs can provide solutions to:

  • The involvement of end-users, they can become active consumers in being involved early in the creative process of designing new products/services/processes/solutions.
  • The acceleration of the time to market of innovation.
  • The stimulation of new forms of partnerships between local and regional stakeholders.
  • The early assessment of the “fit for purpose” of new ideas.
  • Living labs are providing insights from a large number of potential users, early stage prototyping and testing experiences as well as evaluations of the prototypes.

 

A quote


“A living lab represents a user-centric research methodology for servicing, prototyping, validating and refining complex solutions in a multiple and evolving real life context.” from W.J. Mitchell, K. Larsson and A. Pentland, MIT’s first explorers of the living lab concept

 

References


  • Wikipedia
  • Living labs for user-driven open innovation – An overview of the living labs (methodology, activities and achievements), January 2009 DG Information Society and Media
  • The living lab methodology handbook, SmartIES
  • European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL)
  • Everything you always wanted to know about living labs – www.livinglabproject.org/wp-content/uploads/brochure.pdf

 

Mr Christian Saublens


 

Christian Saublens has more than 30 years of working experience in European trade organizations. Since 1992 he is the Executive Manager of EURADA, the European Association of Development Agencies, a network of 145 organisations. Christian has been involved in the organization of numerous conferences and meetings dealing with all matters related to regional development. He wrote several papers and working documents on business support schemes for SMEs. He played an important role for the dissemination in European regions of concepts such as benchmarking, business angels, investment readiness, proof of concept, clusters, open innovation, financial engineering, crowdfunding, … Several times Christian has been appointed as an expert by the European Commission and the Committee of the Regions.

christian.saublens@eurada.org

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