[IEEE Xplore] Readings on Smart Cities -- [Editorial] Vol. 1, Issue 3, March 2015

Living Labs: enabling continuous innovation in Smart Cities

By Rosaldo J. F. Rossetti

Recently, the concept of Living Labs has gained special attention from the industry, the scientific community and policy makers alike as an open innovation ecosystem to develop, deploy, and test new technologies and strategies in actual living environments. With the user in the centre of the innovative process, Living Labs are a fundamental part of urban “smartification,” enabling the active participation of citizens in the continuous innovation of urban settings. We dedicate this issue of our Readings on Smart Cities to better understand the concept of Living Labs, their theories and methodologies, and how they contribute to Smart Cities.

We start with a paper by Schuurman along with others [1], in which authors provide an overview of the history of living labs focusing on characteristics and applications. They carry out a meta-analysis of discerning elements taken from the literature to devise a consensual definition of living labs as they are currently understood, described and practiced. From Tang’s and Hämäläinen’s [2] perspective, a “Living Lab is a user-centric open innovation approach for fostering everyday life innovation in users’ real life.” They also provide a literature review, proposing a methodological framework and taxonomy of living lab methods and tools. To illustrate their methodological approach, authors present two case studies: a campus-based international Living Lab research network on mobile social media; and the China-Finland Living Lab Collaboration project on ICT-enabled aging care research. Finally, Schaffers and colleagues [3] investigate the potential of living labs to accelerate open and user-driven innovation development of services enabled by Future Internet to leverage Smart Cities. Strengthening user involvement in experimental Internet research, and providing access to common resources such as test-bed facilities and living lab resources are the two key issues addressed in their work. After discussing three research projects, authors propose a framework to facilitate resource sharing through existing Smart City platforms, test-beds and living lab facilities so as to foster partnership agreements implementing open innovation approaches for Smart Cities.

Definitely urban settings are highly dynamic and evolving systems, requiring continuous innovation with the active participation of citizens throughout the process. Current research and recent achievements in Living Labs have proven essential to Smart Cities, engaging citizens and making them aware of their role and impact on the development of urban technologies. Nonetheless, Living Labs is still an area in expansion, with a vast potential to be explore.

Good readings!


IEEE Xplore References

  1. D. Schuurman, B. Lievens, L. De Marez and P. Ballon, "Towards optimal user involvement in innovation processes: A panel-centered Living Lab-approach," 2012 Proceedings of PICMET '12: Technology Management for Emerging Technologies, Vancouver, BC, 2012, pp. 2046-2054.
  2. T. Tang and M. Hämäläinen, "Living lab methods and tools for fostering everyday life innovation," Engineering, Technology and Innovation (ICE), 2012 18th International ICE Conference on, Munich, 2012, pp. 1-8.
  3. H. Schaffers, A. Sällström, M. Pallot, J. M. Hernández-Muñoz, R. Santoro and B. Trousse, "Integrating Living Labs with Future Internet experimental platforms for co-creating services within Smart Cities," Concurrent Enterprising (ICE), 2011 17th International Conference on, Aachen, 2011, pp. 1-11.


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