Living labs are characterized by active user involvement, co-creation, multi-methods and real-life experimentation (Schuurman, 2015). It is however unclear how these elements should be implemented and part of the innovation journey through different living lab projects. Therefore, we want to provide the living lab community with a new framework, theoretically driven by uncertainties or knowledge deficits. The added value of the living lab is here to supplement these knowledge deficits with adequate knowledge driven by appropriate learning activities. The selection of methods, tools and workshops – learning activities –  throughout contemporary living lab research projects is nowadays predominantly experience- and gut-driven. With this workshop, we support our vision to transcend the gut-feeling and experience-driven selection of learning activities, and instead select more appropriate, targeted, learning activities defined by the existing knowledge deficits or uncertainties. We built our workshop on the theoretical foundations as discussed in Herregodts, Baccarne, Conradie, & Schuurman (2017). We depart from the end-user, as key within the living lab conception, as embedded in a two-states framework. In this framework, the current state (as-is) is opposed by the future state (as-could-be). These states are then complemented with relevant knowledge types.

The end-user is using todays available solutions (products or services). This usage takes place in a specific context with different contextual parameters. This use-context is to be situated in a broader environment. On these knowledge types (or uncertainties) of the current state (usage, context, environment) different problems occur. The same rationale is followed in a potential future state where the to-be situation of the new product or service is tested. We use these different uncertainties to map different learning activities to inflow knowledge and overcome knowledge deficits. With this workshop at the one hand we hope to evangelize and promote this approach, stimulate the discussion on targeted learning activities selection and map the current way of doing things with the broader open living labs community. This workshop will enable living lab organizations to enrich their research design and enrich the innovation journeys of their clients by targeting more appropriate learning activities.

Workshop organisers:

Dimitri Schuurman is Team Lead User Experts at imec.livinglabs and a Senior Researcher at imec – MICT – Ghent University in Belgium. He holds a PhD and a Master’s degree in Communication Sciences from Ghent University. Together with his imec colleagues, Dimitri developed a specific living lab offering targeted at entrepreneurs in which he has managed over 100 innovation projects. Dimitri is responsible for the methodology and academic valorization of these living lab projects and coordinates a dynamic team of living lab researchers. His main interests and research topics are situated in the domains of open innovation, user innovation, and innovation management. His PhD thesis was entitled Bridging the Gap between Open and User Innovation? Exploring the Value of Living Labs as a Means to Structure User Contribution and Manage Distributed Innovation.

In 2013 Annabel Georges graduated as Master in Communication sciences (specialization ‘New Media and Society’) at Ghent University. In her master’s thesis she used social network analysis to study the diffusion of social media literacy with library staff. In 2013 Annabel started working at imec.livinglabs. Within this “Living Lab-as-a-service” she conducts user research to structurally support innovation development for SME’s. Her main research topics are drop-out and user engagement within field tests and working on improvements on current Living Lab practices.

Aron-Levi Herregodts is a user specialist at imec.livinglabs and affiliated researcher at imec-MICT-UGent. He obtained master’s degrees in Communication Sciences (2013) and Complementary Business Economics (2014). As a user specialist with imec.livinglabs, his role is to translate multi-actor behavior, needs, and wants to tangible recommendations to provide structure to the innovation process of starters, SME’s and large organizations. His main interests include open innovation, user innovation, organizational learning, intermediary activities and user-centric design and methodologies. He has specific interest in the configuration of intermediary – user oriented – learning activities with innovation-relevant actors for distinct types of entrepreneurs and innovations.

Joris Finck Joris holds a master’s degree in Corporate Finance from Ghent University. In his current role as business modeler at Imec he supports organisations in their (digital) innovation process, making sure they keep focus and understand the impact of the innovation on their current business practices. In his prior professional experience Joris worked as a business developer for an engineering consulting firm. Joris has personal interest in sustainability and environment.


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