Living Labs a powerful, multidimensional innovation tool … and, sometimes, something else?
Some of the readers of this article may think that there are not that many and that they will probably do not interact with a Living Live in their lives. However, that would probably be a wrong conclusion, especially if the reader lives in Europe. Figure 2 is a map with actual Living Labs in Europe that are part of The European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL). And not all Living Labs are in the network!
Living Labs are compelling tools for open innovation and, in particular for citizen-driven innovation in cities. ENoLL has published a guide for cities: “Citizen-Driven Innovation A guidebook for city mayors and public administrators” (co-authored by Jarmo Eskelinen, Ana García Robles, Ilari Lindy, Jesse Marsh, Arturo Muente-Kunigami) which is of keen interest and includes some examples like the one at Cornella.
Living Labs are defined as user-centered, open innovation ecosystems based on a systematic user co-creation approach integrating research and innovation processes in real life communities and settings. In practice, Living Labs place the citizen at the centre of innovation, and have thus shown the ability to better mould the opportunities offered by new ICT concepts and solutions to the specific needs and aspirations of local contexts, cultures, and creativity potentials.
Living Labs are as varied as the examples below:
- One of the largest banks in the world, Banco Santander, has established a Living Lab in its headquarters with more than 12.000 sensors
- A School in Helsinki oriented to analyze children, teachers, parents and environment interactions to work towards a more energy efficient school
- Milan effort to regenerate the drug and organized crime district of Quarto Oggiaro
- The Habitat Living Lab out in Sao Paulo State to implement friendly technologies to improve the conditions of urban and rural housing in low-income areas
The European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL) is the international federation of benchmarked Living Labs in Europe and worldwide. Founded in November 2006 under the auspices of the Finnish European Presidency, the network has grown in ‘waves’ up to this day. You cand find the members of this association (and the ones near you) at http://www.openlivinglabs.eu/livinglabs