E&LL workshop: Users do IT the Living Lab way

User-driven innovation was the topic for the workshop organised at the Stockholm Co-location Centre on October 15th. The participants represented various ongoing and upcoming EIT ICT Labs projects including user-driven innovation activities. 

Anna Ståhlbröst, Luleå University of Technology (LTU), presented her research on Living Labs and the method - The Living Lab key-principles - to plan and implement Living Lab activities. A Living Lab is defined as “a user-centric innovation environment, built on realistic activities and research where all relevant partners are involved in open processes, with objective to generate sustainable values for Living Lab partners and stake-holders.” By using the Living Lab key-principles the essence of Living Lab operations can be reached and these principles can serve as a useful tool for the planning of Living Lab operations and to assess the impact of the approach.

-These principles is a way to conduct and assess Living Lab operations, says Anna Ståhlbröst, Associated Professor at LTU. Involving users in a professional and efficient way includes several aspects and already in the planning phase of a user-activity we need to take serious actions both on who to involve and how. Ethics is of key importance as we are often dealing with people´s private life. Sometimes the intentions of a user-activity and the technology being developed are difficult to align with user privacy.

During the workshop the participants used these key-principles to plan for a Living Lab activity together using a checklist developed by Anna Ståhlbröst and her research colleague Marita Holst within Botnia Living Lab hosted by Centre for Distance-Spanning Technology at LTU. To stimulate the discussions two different EIT ICT Labs Living Lab actors, Forum Virium (Finland) and Novay (Holland), presented their ongoing EIT ICT Labs’ operations.

An ongoing activity at Forum Virium is to do user-testing supporting interactive display concepts being developed at HIIT. The user-trial is performed in the city of Helsinki in different locations (in the street and in the city-hall) and with different users. 
- Conducting user-tests in a real-life setting can really improve innovative solutions and speed up the innovation process, says Roope Ritvos at Forum Virium. From this trial we found out how challenging the street-environment is for communication both from the view of the actual user-interface but also for the services being provided.

Novay is partner of another Living Lab supported EIT ICT Labs activity. Their support is a joint effort from the Business Modeling catalyst and the Experience & Living Lab catalyst. The service being developed is targeting the ‘Turn out Burnout’ activity from the Health and Wellbeing action line. 
- When developing new innovative services there is a need to exploit business, users and technology all together. Even when the technology can be found useful there must be a sustainable value-network behind for a viable innovation on the market. 
- As a Living Lab service provider, we foster innovations by focusing on business modeling aspects in early stages in the development process.But we also want to support involvement of users as important actors in the development of these new services, says Ruud Kosman, Novay. There are too many innovative ideas never reaching actual use and business. Our Living Lab methodology can serve as the missing link for viable and useful innovative ICT-innovations.

- In this workshop we wanted to support EIT ICT Labs partners in how to plan and implement successful E&LL catalyst tasks in practice .We think the participants gained some useful insights and got the chance to get to know other EIT ICT Labs partners with similar needs and interest for future collaboration, says the organisers Annika Sällström, Botnia Living Lab in Sweden and Nicola Doppio from TrentoRise in Italy.

On November 28 a similar event takes place in Trento, Italy.

For program and registration please follow this link


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