Living Labs
On 20 November 2006, Finland will host the seminar “European Network of Living Labs: A Step Towards an European Innovation System”, which launches this new European Network of Living Labs.

“A European Network of Living Labs is a collaboration of Public Private Partnership where firms, public authorities and people work together with creating, prototyping, validating and testing new services, businesses, markets and technologies in real-life contexts, such as cities, city regions, rural areas and collaborative virtual networks between public and private players. The real-life and everyday life contexts will both stimulate and challenge research and development as public authorities and citizens will not only participate in, but also contribute to the whole innovation process.”

“The Living Labs concept is about moving out of laboratories into real-life contexts, and therefore entails a major paradigm shift for the whole innovation process. This is a natural move for ICT, life sciences and any innovation domain that deals with human and social problem solving and people’s every day lives.”

“However, this new approach to research for innovation is a huge challenge for research methodologies, innovation process management, public-private partnership models, IPR’s, open source practices, development of new leadership, governance and financial instruments. The complexity increases remarkably with the international nature of a European Network of Living Labs. This is why the EU Commission has allocated 40 Million euro for piloting a European Network of Living Labs.

“The project portfolio includes 12 Living Labs sites in Europe, China, India and Brazil. The projects will identify, prototype, validate and test new ICT services and technologies in process engineering, creative knowledge work and rural and remote areas in Europe. It will also exploit how this new way of innovation facilitates new reference architecture and technology platform development. The project portfolio is industry driven with participation of most major European and global corporate players, though there is clear public, private, civic collaboration throughout.”

The November launch seminar is targeted to public sector leaders, research and corporate management and other experts in EU countries. The seminar will be organised in cooperation with the Finnish Government Information Society Programme, the Center for Knowledge and Innovation Research (CKIR) of the Helsinki School of Economics the European Commission and several enterprises.