A European Network of Living Labs is a collaboration of Public Private Partnership (PPP) 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.
There are already many existing real-life test beds in Europe that will serve as building blocks for a future Living Labs concept, e.g. Arabianranta, Forum Virium and Sparknet, Finland, Testbed Botnia, Sweden, Mobile City Bremen, Germany and Livingtomorrow, The Netherlands and Belgium.
The EU Commission (Information Society and Media Directorate, New Collaborative Working Environments unit) has allocated 40 Million Euros from the 5th call of the 6th Framework Programme for piloting a European Network of Living Labs.
>>> UPDATED 3 April 2006
Sascha Haselmayer, Director of the Barcelona consultancy Interface commented:
“It may be worth adding to this article, that already today several Living Labs are in operation across Europe under the Living Labs Europe initiative. Mobile solutions for students, citizens, visitors and businesses are implemented across Living Labs Europe, with tangible results for European citizens and businesses.”
“Living Labs Europe focus on the end-user perspective and cities across Europe collaborate with highly dynamic groups of small, medium-sized, as well as multinational companies to pioneer new mobile solutions.”
“One example is the mStudent project, where a collaboration between Living Labs Catalunya and Living Labs Sweden was launched during the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona.”