Special Issue "Innovation Management in Living Labs"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (8 January 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Dimitri Schuurman
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Ghent University, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Interests: Living Labs; Open Innovation; User Innovation; Innovation Management
Dr. Seppo Leminen
E-Mail Website
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.

References

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 1900 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.

Keywords

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

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Urban Living Lab as a Circular Economy Ecosystem: Advancing Environmental Sustainability through Economic Value, Material, and Knowledge Flows
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2811; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052811 - 05 Mar 2021
Viewed by 576
Abstract
Environmental sustainability is an increasingly relevant aspect of urban living labs. The objective of this study is to examine an urban living lab through ecosystem approach lenses and reveal the actor activities and diverse flows between them, enabling sustainable urban development. The study [...] Read more.
Environmental sustainability is an increasingly relevant aspect of urban living labs. The objective of this study is to examine an urban living lab through ecosystem approach lenses and reveal the actor activities and diverse flows between them, enabling sustainable urban development. The study examines an urban area through four living lab projects in the Hiedanranta district in Tampere in Finland. We apply a qualitative research design strategy including semi-structured interviews reinforced with the project reports and websites. The collaboration and co-creation nature of living labs resembles an ecosystem structure, as both include diverse complementary actors and have distinctive coordination mechanisms, shared goals, and system-level outcomes. Building on the ecosystem analogy and circular economy ecosystem typology, our study examines living labs as ecosystems, enabling the economic value flow, material flow, and knowledge flow and pursuing the shared goal of improved environmental sustainability. The findings of the study demonstrate how the different ecosystem types manifest in urban living labs, and the actors, flows, and outcomes in these ecosystems. The study concludes that urban sustainability-oriented living labs comprise all main types of circular economy ecosystems. The dominant type of the activities (biased to economic value, material, or knowledge) determines the ecosystem type in an urban living lab, highlighting a key topic for future research: The contribution of collaborative projects to environmental sustainability in urban living labs realized through diverse ecosystem types. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation Management in Living Labs)
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Open AccessArticle
Co-Creating Service Concepts for the Built Environment Based on the End-User’s Daily Activities Analysis: KTH Live-in-Lab Explorative Case Study
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1942; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041942 - 11 Feb 2021
Viewed by 535
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to synthesize the widely used theories about co-creation from two main perspectives: co-creation as an innovation process and co-creation as a design process applied to the service concept design in the built environment context. The architecture, engineering, [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study is to synthesize the widely used theories about co-creation from two main perspectives: co-creation as an innovation process and co-creation as a design process applied to the service concept design in the built environment context. The architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry do not have much application of end-user-oriented service design in general, especially with intensive co-creation processes. To facilitate such a process, we are using a living lab environment as a laboratorial model of the real built environment, but with the opportunity to have access to the end-users and different types of stakeholders. Using the KTH Live-in-Lab explorative case study, we were able to discuss the concept of co-creation by distinguishing between co-creation as innovation and co-creation as a design process, facilitating the process of co-creation of service concepts for the proposed built environment including methods from both perspectives: innovation and design, and evaluating the process of service concepts co-creation for the built environment from the point of innovation, knowledge transfer, sustainability, and user experience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation Management in Living Labs)
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Open AccessArticle
The Defining Characteristics of Agroecosystem Living Labs
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1718; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041718 - 05 Feb 2021
Viewed by 447
Abstract
In response to environmental, economic, and social challenges, the living labs approach to innovation is receiving increasing attention within the agricultural sector. In this paper, we propose a set of defining characteristics for an emerging type of living lab intended to increase the [...] Read more.
In response to environmental, economic, and social challenges, the living labs approach to innovation is receiving increasing attention within the agricultural sector. In this paper, we propose a set of defining characteristics for an emerging type of living lab intended to increase the sustainability and resilience of agriculture and agri-food systems: the “agroecosystem living lab”. Drawing on first-hand knowledge of case studies of large initiatives from Canada and France and supported by eight other cases from the literature, we highlight the unique nature of agroecosystem living labs and their distinct challenges with respect to their aims, activities, participants, and context. In particular, these living labs are characterized by exceptionally high levels of scientific research; long innovation cycles with high uncertainty due to external factors; and the high number and diversity of stakeholders involved. Both procedurally and conceptually, we link to earlier efforts undertaken by researchers seeking to identify urban living labs and rural living labs as distinct, new types of living labs. By highlighting what makes agroecosystem living labs unique and their commonalities with other types of living labs, we hope to encourage their further study and help practitioners better understand their implementation and operational challenges and opportunities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation Management in Living Labs)
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Open AccessArticle
Living Labs: From Niche to Mainstream Innovation Management
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 791; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020791 - 15 Jan 2021
Viewed by 719
Abstract
Living Labs have received increasing attention over the last decade. However, despite their growing popularity and ability to positively impact organisations’ innovation performance, mainstream innovation management literature has overlooked the diverse and promising Living Labs research landscape. In an effort to move the [...] Read more.
Living Labs have received increasing attention over the last decade. However, despite their growing popularity and ability to positively impact organisations’ innovation performance, mainstream innovation management literature has overlooked the diverse and promising Living Labs research landscape. In an effort to move the field forward, this study analyses extant Living Labs literature in the domain of innovation management. The study identifies conceptual bases informing Living Labs research, maps the collaboration between scholars in the field, examines prevailing themes influencing the debate and reveals the influence of Living Labs research on other domains. Bibliometric methods of co-authorship, keyword co-occurrence analysis as well as bibliographic coupling are employed on two databases. Database A includes 97 focal journal articles and Database B includes all cited sources of Database A, totalling 500 documents. This study reveals the rapid growth of the scholarly literature on Living Labs in the innovation management domain, driven by a core group of authors. However, other contributions from highly visible scholars have the potential to connect Living Lab research to mainstream innovation management studies. The study also identifies the influence of Living Labs research in different application fields and potential for its further evolution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation Management in Living Labs)
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Open AccessArticle
Facing Societal Challenges in Living Labs: Towards a Conceptual Framework to Facilitate Transdisciplinary Collaborations
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 614; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020614 - 11 Jan 2021
Viewed by 538
Abstract
Living labs are an extremely attractive open innovation landscape for collaborative research and development activities targeting the complexity of today’s societal challenges. However, although there is plenty of support for collaboration, we still lack clear guidelines to direct transdisciplinary stakeholder networks of academics [...] Read more.
Living labs are an extremely attractive open innovation landscape for collaborative research and development activities targeting the complexity of today’s societal challenges. However, although there is plenty of support for collaboration, we still lack clear guidelines to direct transdisciplinary stakeholder networks of academics and practitioners through collaboration processes in the living lab ecosystem. In other words, we lack answers to the question of “how to collaborate?” In the present paper we propose a conceptual framework defining relevant stages to initiate and facilitate transdisciplinary collaboration processes. We base our framework on collaboration challenges described in the literature, specifically the need for stakeholder alignment, as well as challenges experienced in practice, which we report through exploratory case studies. In the proposed conceptual framework, we advocate the application of co-creation methods, both at the level of the living lab (macro) and in projects (meso) within the living lab, in order to define, with all involved parties and stakeholders, the scope and strategy of the living lab and to facilitate stakeholder alignment. Additionally, we integrate an iterative approach and a feedback loop in order to account for the dynamic nature of the collaboration process and to enable reflection and evaluation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation Management in Living Labs)
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Open AccessArticle
Urban Living Labs and Citizen Science: From Innovation and Science towards Policy Impacts
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 526; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020526 - 07 Jan 2021
Viewed by 691
Abstract
City governments are currently exploring different participatory mechanisms in order to meet the growing demand in society for deliberate decision-making. Through developments in sensing technology, data processing and visualization, citizen science is emerging as a powerful tool for the general public to participate [...] Read more.
City governments are currently exploring different participatory mechanisms in order to meet the growing demand in society for deliberate decision-making. Through developments in sensing technology, data processing and visualization, citizen science is emerging as a powerful tool for the general public to participate in scientific research that informs policy. Citizen science can be used as an approach in Urban Living Labs, whereby public and private stakeholders are involved in innovation and data collection processes together with citizens. However, there is currently little synergy between citizen science and Urban Living Labs, and how science, innovation and policy can be interoperable. Therefore, this article conducts a comparative case study analysis on the participatory processes and related outputs, outcomes and impacts of the FloodCitiSense Urban Living Labs (Brussels, Birmingham, Rotterdam). These initiatives developed an early warning system for urban flooding through the collection and analysis of crowdsourced information. Data on the participatory processes were collected through 11 in-depth interviews and evaluated on its effectiveness in achieving policy outcomes. The discussion reflects on best practices in incorporating citizen science in Urban Living Labs based on the experienced opportunities and challenges in FloodCitiSense. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation Management in Living Labs)
Open AccessArticle
The Italian Case of Lecco Innovation Living Lab: Stakeholders’ Needs and Activities to Contribute to the Technological Innovation Process in Healthcare
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10266; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410266 - 09 Dec 2020
Viewed by 427
Abstract
Healthcare technological innovation is a very complex process in which different actors interact with each other, creating a large number of interconnections and synergies in the design of technological innovations. Despite the increasing number of living labs (LLs) in healthcare, building and maintaining [...] Read more.
Healthcare technological innovation is a very complex process in which different actors interact with each other, creating a large number of interconnections and synergies in the design of technological innovations. Despite the increasing number of living labs (LLs) in healthcare, building and maintaining LLs for technological innovation in healthcare is challenging. Collaboration with stakeholders remains an issue of major concern in healthcare. The purpose of this paper is to identify stakeholders’ needs in building an LL in healthcare and to plan activities to foster the innovation process. The paper is based on an exploratory single case study investigating an Italian LL. Eight stakeholders’ needs were identified and validated. Specific activities were identified as improving the innovation process in terms of the stakeholders’ needs. The study contributes to the development of domain-specific knowledge and, as such, to the fostering of studies on and the implementation of LLs in healthcare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation Management in Living Labs)
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Open AccessArticle
Transformative Urban Living Labs: Towards a Circular Economy in Amsterdam and Turin
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7651; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187651 - 16 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1042
Abstract
The circular economy is becoming a field of experimentation to trigger site-specific laboratories oriented towards connecting material flows and citizens’ practices. Despite their wide use, a critical perspective of the transformative paths of these Urban Living Labs (ULLs) is still missing. This paper [...] Read more.
The circular economy is becoming a field of experimentation to trigger site-specific laboratories oriented towards connecting material flows and citizens’ practices. Despite their wide use, a critical perspective of the transformative paths of these Urban Living Labs (ULLs) is still missing. This paper compares the paths followed by two such experiments, one in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and the other in Turin (Italy). To this end, we build an analytical framework that targets three dimensions: unconventionality, autonomy, and systemic impact on policies. We conclude that ULLs can take very different transformation paths over time due to a wide range of enablers and barriers. In Amsterdam there has been an assimilation in the neighbourhood as well as a transformative effect on an urban scale; while the case of Turin has turned out to be potentially transformative but also at risk of marginalization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation Management in Living Labs)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Moving toward Generalizability? A Scoping Review on Measuring the Impact of Living Labs
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 502; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020502 - 07 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 555
Abstract
The living labs (LLs) approach has been applied around the globe to generate innovation within and suited to real-life problems and contexts. Despite the promise of the LL approach for addressing complex challenges like socio-ecological change, there is a gap in practitioner and [...] Read more.
The living labs (LLs) approach has been applied around the globe to generate innovation within and suited to real-life problems and contexts. Despite the promise of the LL approach for addressing complex challenges like socio-ecological change, there is a gap in practitioner and academic community knowledge surrounding how to measure and evaluate both the performance of a given LL process and its wider impacts. Notably, this gap appears particularly acute in LLs designed to address environmental or agricultural sustainability. This article seeks to verify and address this knowledge gap by conducting an adopted scoping review method which uses a combination of tools for text mining alongside human text analysis. In total, 138 academic articles were screened, out of which 88 articles were read in full and 41 articles were found relevant for this study. The findings reveal limited studies putting forward generalizable approaches or frameworks for evaluating the impact of LLs and even fewer in the agricultural or sustainability sector. The dominant method for evaluation used in the literature is comparative qualitative case studies. This research uncovers a potential tension regarding LL work: the specificity of LL studies works against the development of evaluation indicators and a universal framework to guide the impact assessment of LLs across jurisdictions and studies in order to move toward generalizability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation Management in Living Labs)
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