Special Issue "Innovation Management in Living Labs"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Dimitri Schuurman
Guest Editor
Ghent University, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Interests: Living Labs; Open Innovation; User Innovation; Innovation Management
Dr. Seppo Leminen
Guest Editor
Full Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of South-Eastern Norway, Norway
Adjunct Professor, Aalto University, Finland
Adjunct Research Professor, Carleton University, Canada
Interests: living lab; internet of things; business model; technology entrepreneurship; innovation ecosystems

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Sustainability seeks original manuscripts for a Special Issue on ‘‘Innovation Management in Living Labs’’ scheduled to appear in 2020, and with a deadline of November 30, 2020. The Special Issue is dedicated to the exploration and analysis of conceptual and theoretical foundations of living labs —adopted by the private sector, public sector entities, and governments. As living labs are often complex organizational forms and involve multi-stakeholder collaboration and coordination, this impacts the innovation management process, and everything related to this.

Therefore, we particularly welcome papers that help to clarify the factors that predict or assess the effectiveness of output in living lab networks and explore the living lab structures for developing and validating products, services, and systems innovation in various industrial contexts and stages of development (Ballon et al., 2018; Bergvall-Kåreborn et al. 2015; Nyström et al., 2014; Leminen et al., 2016; Schuurman et al., 2011, 2019). We also encourage papers that position living labs against other open innovation organizations and structures and papers that investigate the business models and sustainability of living labs (Hossain et al., 2019; Leminen et al., 2012, 2017, 2019; Voytenko et al., 2016).

Living labs are platforms with shared resources, which organize their stakeholders into a collaboration network(s), that rely on representative governance, participation, open standards, and diverse activities and methods to gather, create, communicate, and deliver new knowledge, validated solutions, professional development, and social impact in real-life contexts (Westerlund et al., 2018). They are used for the development of people and communities for the use of innovation, i.e., they contribute to environmental and social improvements as well as economic development. Three separate but interlinked layers can be distinguished: the living lab organization, the living lab project(s), and the individual Living Lab user and stakeholder activities (Schuurman, 2015).

Papers based on empirical research into living labs initiatives in different countries and/or regions or online will be considered as long as they clearly address the theoretical bases for and/or implications of such initiatives for various stakeholders including the private sector (innovators, entrepreneurs, SMEs, large companies, etc.), public sector (financiers, universities, policy makers, etc.) and user communities, as well as for improving the effectiveness of innovation output in living labs.

Authors are invited to submit original work to this Special Issue of Sustainability but can also choose to submit to the living lab track at the ISPIM2020 conference. [http://conference.ispim.org/] or to the Open Living Lab Days 2020 conference in Ghent, Belgium [https://openlivinglabdays.com/], that has neither appeared in nor is under consideration by other journals. Initial submissions should follow the guidelines of ISPIM conference outlines. Authors of the living lab track that are selected for further development will be invited to submit a full paper version to Sustainability.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the guest editors.


Ballon, P., Van Hoed, M., & Schuurman, D. (2018). The effectiveness of involving users in digital innovation: Measuring the impact of living labs. Telematics and Informatics, 35(5), 1201-1214.

Bergvall-Kåreborn, B., Ihlström Eriksson, C., Ståhlbröst, A. (2015). Places and Spaces within Living Labs. Technology Innovation Management Review, 5(12), 37–47.

Hossain, M., Leminen, S., & Westerlund, M. (2019). A Systematic Review of Living Lab Literature. Journal of Cleaner Production. 213, 976-988.

 Leminen, S., Nyström, A.-G., & Westerlund, M. (2019). Change processes in open innovation networks – exploring living labs. Industrial Marketing Management.

Leminen, S., Westerlund, M., & Nyström A.-G. 2012. Living Labs as Open Innovation Networks, Technology Innovation Management Review, 2(9), 6-11.

Leminen, S., Rajahonka, M., & Westerlund, M. (2017). Towards Third-Generation Living Lab Networks in Cities. Technology Innovation Management Review. 7(11): 21-35.

Leminen, S., & Westerlund, M. (2019). Living labs: From Scattered Initiatives to Global Movement. Creativity and Innovation Management. 28(2), 250-264.

Nevens, F., Frantzeskaki, N., Gorissen, L., Loorbach, D. (2013). Urban Transition Labs: co-creating transformative action for sustainable cities. Journal of Cleaner Production, 50, 111-122.

Nyström, A-G, Leminen, S., Westerlund, M. & Kortelainen, M. 2014. Actor roles and role patterns influencing innovation in living labs, Industrial Marketing Management, 43(3), 483–495.

Schuurman, D., De Moor, K., De Marez, L. & Evens. T. 2011. Living Lab research approach for mobile TV, Telematics and Informatics, 28, 271–282.

Schuurman, D. (2015). Bridging the gap between Open and User Innovation?: exploring the value of Living Labs as a means to structure user contribution and manage distributed innovation (Doctoral dissertation, Ghent University).

Schuurman, D., Herregodts, A. L., Georges, A., & Rits, O. (2019). Innovation Management in Living Lab Projects: The Innovatrix Framework. Technology Innovation Management Review, 9(3).

Voytenko, Y., McCormick, K., Evans, J., Schliwa, G. (2016). Urban living labs for sustainability and low carbon cities in Europe: Towards a research agenda. Journal of Cleaner Production, 123, 45-54.

Westerlund, M., Leminen, S., & Rajahonka, M. (2018). A Topic Modeling Analysis of Living Labs Research. Technology Innovation Management Review. 8(7), 40-51.

Dr. Dimitri Schuurman
Dr. Seppo Leminen
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Living Labs
  • Innovation management
  • User innovation
  • Open innovation

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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