Living lab

Scale level :

Synonym(s) : open innovation laboratory

Definition :

The living lab is an innovative participative approach (participatory approach) which involves the user. Its purpose is to solve complex and multidisciplinary problems on a territorial scale.

In a living lab, all parties are involved in the process of co-creation and the user (individuals, businesses, communities) is placed in a central position. The dialogue between the different participants is encouraged by a collaborative and democratic governance. Thanks to this multi-stakeholder and multidisciplinary ecosystem, a complex problem can be studied in all its aspects. Joint reflection opens new perspectives in order to fully and comprehensively answer the initial problematic. The co-creation space is an accelerator of creativity and collective intelligence.

The living lab is applicable to various areas and scales, particularly in the context of agricultural matters. The “Agriculture-Innovation 2025” plan encourages the creation of “living laboratories” to foster innovation and stimulate the agroecological transition.

Historically, the vertical innovation process in agriculture, provided by the research entities, excluded the beneficiaries, the farmers, from the development process. Today, the agricultural world is confronted with complex questions about certain innovations such as the use of chemical pesticides, a theme that strongly polarizes public opinion. In this context, the living laboratory is an approach that involves all stakeholders. The participation of professionals and civil society in a project promotes the reconciliation of public opinion with the agricultural world and allows for an economic, social and environmental consensus.

The territorial anchoring of agricultural activities and therefore the great diversity of pedoclimatic and sociotechnical contexts that characterize agriculture logically calls for the development of in situ solutions. Participatory innovation approaches such as living laboratories are consistent with agroecology since they allow a systemic approach, enhancing the values of the ecological, economic and social potentials of a territory.

Published on 18 April 2019
Bibliographic references :

Gascó M., 2017. Living labs: Implementing open innovation in the public sector. Government Information Quarterly, 34, pp. 90-98.

Hossain M., Leminen S., Westerlund M. 2018. A systematic review of living lab literature. Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 213, 10  pp 976-988.

Katzy B. R., Pawar K. S., Thoben K-D. 2012. Special Issue on Living Labs – Innovation Intermediaries for Product Development in Networks. International Journal of Product Development, Vol. 17, Nos. 1/2, 2012.

Leminen S., Nyström A.G. and Westerlund M., 2019. Change processes in open innovation networks – Exploring living labs. Industrial Marketing Management, In press.

Rodrigues M.,Franco M. 2018. Importance of living labs in urban Entrepreneurship: A Portuguese case study. Journal of Cleaner Production, 180, pp. 780-789. DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.01.150

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