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A Living Lab

A Living Lab

Definition of ´Living Lab`:

“Living Lab” is essentially a (research) concept that is often defined as a user-centered, open-innovation ecosystem that integrates concurrent research and innovation processes within a public-private-people partnership (4Ps).

The concept of a Living Laboratory is credited to William J. Mitchell, Kent Larson, and Alex Pentland at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who first explored it. Leminen (2015) discuss the concept and definition of a Living Lab in its current form, and describe it as “physical regions or virtual realities, or interaction spaces, in which stakeholders’ form public-private-people partnerships (4Ps) of companies, public agencies, universities, users, and other stakeholders, all collaborating for creation, prototyping, validating, and testing of new technologies, services, products, and systems in real-life contexts”.

A Living Lab involves four main activities (source: www.openlivinglabs.eu):

  1. Co-Creation: co-design by users and producers.
  2. Exploration: discovering emerging usages, behaviours and market opportunities.
  3. Experimentation: implementing live scenarios within communities of users.
  4. Evaluation: assessment of concepts, products and services according to socio-ergonomic, socio-cognitive and socio-economic criteria.

The benefits that Living Labs offer to its partners are plenty, for examples: solutions to real-world problems that might otherwise have been unsolvable, cost-efficient access to data and experiences, influence over processes, and linkage between stakeholders (end users, companies, data providers, researchers etc.)

A circle, with two arrows going in circle, enclosed by 5 segments
The work in The Sea centers around close collaboration, co-creation and dialog with various stakeholders of marine and maritime life. These span governmental bodies and institutions, small and large scale businesses, academic and research collaborators, policy makers and a broad set of social groups from the ordinary citizen to archipelago communities, urban residents, NGOs, foundations, managers, and funding bodies


Leminen S. (2015) Q&A What are Living Labs? Technology Innovation Management Review, Vol 5: 29-35.

Open Living Labs EU: https://enoll.org/about-us/


Updated 1.9.2022