What is a “living lab”?

The term “living lab” is widely used and has been somewhat of a “hot topic” in Nordic municipalities. This has resulted in a lot of different forms of “labs” with some focusing on assisting companies in creating and testing towards better innovations – whereas other “labs” have focused more as a gatekeeping function for the municipality (i.e. as a test-gate that new health and care products has to pass before being procured and implemented).

Given the large variety of “living labs” Væksthus Copenhagen, which leads the Living Lab Alliance, initiated a Danish study in the beginning of 2015 with the purpose of moving the field forward and providing some degree of terminology on the subject of “living labs”. Basically the study proposes and overall distinction between two different types of living labs: 1. Design labs, which bring new solutions to the world. 2. Implementation labs, which bring new solutions into people’s lives. The study goes on with discussion these different types and their connection to the innovation process’ four main phases (definition->design->verification-implementation) as well as looking at what types of labs are present in Denmark currently – and what the collaborators of the labs, the companies with the innovative solutions, wishes from the ideal labs.
The final report is free for download in English and Danish.

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