Co-creating the future Nordic collaboration

How can the interaction between companies, living labs and municipalities be improved – on a Nordic level?

This question was the outset of a fruitful workshop that the Living Lab Alliance held in Oslo in connection to the celebration of the winners of the Nordic Independent Living Challenge. The workshop was joined by municipalities, living labs, companies and cluster organization each providing their input.

The company representatives that attended the workshop agreed, that it would be very helpful if there were more collaboration between municipalities both on a national and a Nordic level. For example that test made in one municipality could be used as a reference in procurement or one test report could be deemed “valid” in other municipalities. Both the representatives from municipalities and from companies agreed that they could benefit from some kind of register or overview of what products have been tested where – and what the result had been. The municipalities and Living Labs would further appreciate a broad network consisting of both other living labs as well as other organizations that could be useful for companies to be guided to. This lead to further discussion on the interest of sharing best practices about testing methods – as well as about business models for living labs.

The importance of clear communication between the living labs, the municipalities and the companies was also underlined – so that the expectations of the collaboration are correct from the beginning. This was seen as essential for ensuring a common understanding between the parties involved in the collaboration.

Conclusions

We in the Living Lab Alliance appreciated all the input – and the wish for further Nordic collaboration between living labs, municipalities and companies. To foster this type of Nordic collaboration is both the outset and the goal for the Living Lab Alliance. Based on the input we received we will particularly consider:

Can the Living Lab Alliance assist in facilitating the spread of information about performed tests of new solutions and results of the tests in the Nordics?

Can the Living Lab Alliance create an overview of existing living labs and their focus – and ease the distribution of best/good practice between the organizations?

We will in the autumn of 2016 look more into these two questions. We will be seeking to make an overview of Nordic living labs and their focus – both for reaching out and connecting to these. And for improving the accessibility and provide an overview of the landscape to be used by Nordic companies.

As for the first question, the spread of information of test and their results, this is something we will look into. However this raises a number of questions e.g. what should be the prerequisite for such tests and reports – how can we ensure comparable information from different types of tests and evaluation methods? Are test results made in one organisation, one context, directly translatable to other organizations? Is this “translation” for instance affected by e.g. the complexity of the product?

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