Living Labs As A Collaborative Framework For Changing Perceptions And Goals

Co-Val: “In the…Report on cross-country comparison on existing innovation and living labsLars Fuglsang and Anne Vorre Hansen from Roskilde University describe various applications of living labs to decision-making. The basic two examples are living labs as a collaborative framework for changing perceptions and goals and living labs as an ecosystem for policy innovation.

Living labs can involve a change in mindset and goals as expressed in one paper on public sector innovation labs (Carstensen & Bason, 2012). Carstensen and Bason (2012) report the important story of the Danish Mindlab (2002-2018) – a cross-governmental innovation lab involving public sector organisations, citizens and businesses in creating new solutions for society. They argue that innovation labs are designed to foster collaboration since labs are platforms where multiple stakeholders can engage in interaction, dialogue, and development activities.  Innovation needs a different approach than everyday activities and a change in mindset and culture shift of employees towards thinking more systematically about innovation. Mindlab’s methodologies are anchored in design thinking, qualitative research and policy development, with the aim of capturing the subjective reality experienced by both citizens and businesses in the development of new solutions. Carstensen and Bason (2012) list the following key principles of Mindlab: take charge of on-going renewal, maintain top management backing, create professional empathy, insist on collaboration, do – don’t just think, recruit and develop likeable people, don’t be too big, communicate.

Also, Buhr et al. (2016) show how living labs can be important for developing and implementing collective goals and creating new opportunities for citizens to influence public affairs. They describe two cases in two suburban areas (located in Sweden and Finland), where the living lab approach was used to improve the feeling of belonging in a community. In one of the two suburbs studied, a living lab approach was used to change the lightning on a pathway that seemed unsafe; and in the other case, a living lab approach was used to strengthen the social community by renovating a kiosk and organizing varied activities for the citizens. Both living labs motivated the residents to work on societal goals for sustainability and choose solutions. The study indicates that a living lab approach can be used for gaining support for change and thereby increasing the citizens’ appreciation of a local area. Further, living labs may give citizens a feeling that they are being listened to. Living labs can thus create opportunities for citizens to develop the city together with municipal policy-makers and other stakeholders and enable policy-makers to respond to the expressed needs of the citizens….(More)”