What’s Next For Living Labs

Bloggers gathering

(c) 2008, Simon Smith, cc-by-2.0

Living Labs have become a permanent feature of the European research and innovation landscape in the last decade. Centered around co-creation, exploration, experimentation and evaluation they are a user-centric approach to develop and prototype complex solutions to emerging challenges. This all happens in a real life context. Their success relies heavily on user co-creation.

The community is working on principles of Living Lab co-creation. Companies that test new ideas and products can easily exploit the users’ contributions. Yet little attention has been paid to if and how the participating users could get a share of that profit.

Results from true co-creation, one might argue, should not disappear behind corporate intellectual property walls. The Living Lab community would be well advised to study, embrace and develop principles based on the experience and insights of open source, open content and open access. As Living Labs aim to establish themselves as thriving and sustainable open communities this would allow them to be inclusive in terms of of societal and systemic innovation.